Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes Recipe

I’ve been loving getting in the kitchen and creating lots of fun recipes for this season! Fall and the holidays are my absolute favorite and it really just doesn’t get any better than these next two months in my opinion! I was tasked with making healthy twists on classic comfort foods for this month’s issue of Austin Woman. I really love how these cauliflower mashed potatoes turned out! Well, I suppose it’s actually just cauliflower mash but it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it now does it? BMW loved these and I think they will be making their rounds at holiday parties this season!

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Spinach and Strawberry Summer Salad

Spinach and Strawberry Summer Salad by Natalie Paramore_2

It’s summer time and bright, fresh salads are on the top of my list for easy meals. This is one of my quickest, easiest go-to salads. I can eat it over and over and well I do haha! Especially when it is hot outside, I like something light and simple and that definitely does NOT require turning on a stove or oven. This salad definitely hits the spot!

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Farmers Market Cooking – 3 Gorgeous Spring Recipes

CSA Picnic Table 4

Y’all, probably one of the best things I did in 2015 was build a picnic table with my boyfriend! Yes, for reals, we looked up a gazillion plans, went to Home Depot like we knew what we were doing, bought all the supplies and 18 hours later our first picnic table was born! Can you believe it?!? We are such proud parents. Many a wonderful night has been spent sitting around it enjoying long, delicious meals with friends. Bonus points, it is the absolutely most perfect background for showing off my pretty blue and white plates. I just love how they look on this table!

When it came time to shoot the April issue of Austin Woman Magazine, I knew immediately that I wanted my little picnic table to shine! I rounded up three of my most favorite spring recipes for you. Check them out below plus my tips for shopping at the farmers market this spring!

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Easy Homemade Everything Bagels

Everything Bagels Easy Homemade RecipeHmm what to do with rainy weekend? Why make some homemade bagels of course! I truly love bagels, almost as much a breakfast tacos. But somehow they seem a little bit more indulgent and little more special. Is it because I can’t get them on every street corner in Austin at anytime of day? Is it because if I were to make them myself then they take a little more invest of my sweet weekend time? Maybe. Bagels were something I ate a lot more of as kid than I do these days. Maybe simply because growing up breakfast tacos weren’t much of thing were I lived. I still like to grab a bagel and cream cheese anytime I am in an airport. Not really sure why because of most of the time they are a bit of a disappointment. I think it’s just some sorta nostalgia I have for the gluttonous breakfast pastry! When I came across this recipe that says you can make these in less than two hours, well I knew what my weekend plans were!

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The Oldest Festival in Austin + Mediterranean Recipes

Mediterrean Festival Food_Shish Kebab with Red Wine PairingI thought we should all start this day off by remembering the time that I noshed a chicken shish kebab from Phoenicia Bakery topped with lots of creamy tatziki like it was my job. My job. Yes! I love Mediterranean food! Maybe you remember that Lebanese dinner party!?! So fun. Or the greek gyro? Or the time my friend taught us to make lamb dolmas? Or the time I nailed a good homemade recipe for Grandma’s Hummus, yes THAT one! I love the freshness and herby goodness that often comes with Mediterranean food! In case you are as into this kind of food as I am, this weekend is the 83rd St. Elias Mediterranean Festival! You heard right that would make this the longest running festival in Austin. In town that loves it’s festivals, I think this one should get a little more recognition! So here I am to tell you about it!

I met up with Sandra Spalding from Twin Liquors earlier this week and she gave me a great tip for pairing food and wine at the festival this weekend, her favorite is a salty savory shish kebab, usually served with cooling yogurt pairs wonderfully with the full bodied elegant reds of Lebanon, specifically the Ixsir Red! Needless to say, I tried it out last night and indeed it’s delicious in case you were wondering!

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Sirloin Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet (with Kale and Mushrooms in a White Wine Cream Sauce)

Cooking Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet by Natalie Paramore

So this is one of those posts that I have been sitting on for while. Mainly because of the holidays and this didn’t seem to quite fit into the holiday buzz. I got caught up and distracted with the fun and bustle this season. Although, to be completely honest this year was a bit scattered for me. My typical family gatherings were all different this year and most took place before the actual day, so I wound up spending a good chunk of my Christmas Day alone. I didn’t feel the magic and giddiness of the holidays like I used to. I say used to because last year (2013) I was a down right grinch. I blame that mostly on some questionable dating decisions I made earlier that fall. I really wasn’t feeling it last year.  I didn’t even help put up the tree which is one of my most looked forward to days of the year. Typically, January is my least favorite month of the year. I get the post-holiday blues, it’s usually gray out and blah… I always feel like all the fun just left. This year is different though. I am feeling refreshed, work couldn’t be busier (which I love) and I have some exciting life changes on the horizon. More on those in another post. My whole point of this is that even when I was feeling down, I forced myself to do a little cooking. Which always makes me happy and feel more centered. I decided to try something new when I could have called for take-out or done something I am used to. And what happened when I tried something new was deliciousness. Deliciousness happened. It is funny how life works out, just when you feel like doing something the least is probably when you need to do it the most.

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Eggnog Cornbread with Candied Pecans

I’ve been playing around with eggnog a lot this year. It’s a flavor that I have never really gotten into to be honest. But this year I decided to change my tune a little and see what I could come up with. A culinary stretching exercise if you will, to get my into this beloved holiday flavor. I did Mini Eggnog Pies and those were a huge hit, so I decided that the rest of the eggnog just couldn’t go to waste. Enter Eggnog Cornbread. Heyo! Cornbread isn’t just for Thanksgiving y’all! The eggnog gives the mealy bread a nice lift and the candied pecans make it almost a dessert!

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-slice-2For this post, I partnered with my friends at H-E-B to use these Texas Grown Pecan Halves to top off this mighty fine holiday treat! One thing I love about this recipe is how few ingredients you need. If you need a last minute treat to take to a family gathering… here you go! Eggnog Cornbread works great as a sweet side dish or even with ice cream! Heck yeah, do it!

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-ingredientsFor this recipe, you’ll need:

One package of corn bread mix

One egg

1 cup of eggnog

1/4 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of Texas Grown Pecan Halves

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-mixturePre heat oven to 425 degrees.

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-eggnog-pourCombine the cornbread mix, egg and 3/4 cup of eggnog in a bowl.

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-mixMix that all around.

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-stirSpray a tin with non-stick spray. Spread the cornbread into the pan. It will be think and that is ok. You also make these in a small baking dish, round pan or muffins. Up to you!

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-sugarUsing the same bowl (less dishes people!), add the pecans and sugar.

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-eggnogAdd the remaining 1/4 cup of eggnog to the pecans and sugar.

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-pecansMix that all around until they are nice and coated.

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-unbakedSpread the pecans on top of the cornbread. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-panOmg this smelled sooooo good while it was baking!

This is a great last-minute recipe because it doesn’t take long at all to bake. You can grab the ingredients at the store, go home make and bake this in less than hour! That’s what I’m talking about! Get one of those festive recyclable holiday bread dishes from the holiday aisle and you can take this to your party and never have to worry about bringing your dish back home.

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-overheadWho is ready for some holiday baking?

Eggnog-Cornbread_Natalie-Paramore-slice-with-panThis recipe is definitely one that I am going to keep around for future holidays. Hope you all enjoy!

My Recipes on Cooking Planit

One of the projects I’ve been working on hard lately is developing some recipes and menus for my friends at Cooking Planit. My recipes are always easy but teaming up with Cooking Planit, they helped really break them down step-by-step. Best of all, Cooking Planit helps the novice cook get all the menu items ready to be served at the same time! I put a few sneak peeks at my menus below. Download the Cooking Planit iPhone or iPad app or use the desk top version to get my recipes. Happy Cooking!

Cold Asian noodle salad and spicy edamame are perfect for summer! Full recipes here.

Try this simple salmon with spicy black beans and cilantro rice.

For the ultimate summer picnic, try this fried chicken, lettuce and tomato sandwich with crispy green beans and herb-y pasta salad.

Crunchy Greek Yogurt Vegetable Salad

This salad is totally inspired by one the FoodFash posted here. It looked like the perfect summer salad, so I knew I had to make my own version!

Crunchy, cool and I added some herbs and spice for good measure. I think this will be a staple for this summer.

You’ll need:
1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup diced cucumber
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1 ounce lemon juice
1 tablespoon garlic sea salt
3 tablespoons fresh dill (yeah I totally dill-ed out)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon black pepper


Peel and dice the cucumber.

Chop the broccoli.

Mince the dill and add the spices. I stirred it right in the container. Less dishes, duh.

Add the diced bell pepper, carrots and other veggies to a large mixing bowl.

Stir it all together.

I’ve been eating off of this for days!

What are some of your favorite summer salads?

Easy Curried Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts

Today’s post is inspired by simple goodness. I feel like I get busier and busier by the day, so quick and easy have become my go-to. These brussels and cauliflower work great as a side, or as a meal if you’re me!

The curry and garlic add a ton of flavor. Plus, you only need one pan!

For this recipe, you’ll need:
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup quartered brussel sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (or more!)
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Start by mincing and chopping everything up.

Add the brussels, cauliflower and garlic to the pan with olive oil. Stir over medium heat for about one minute.

Add the curry powder, red pepper and salt. Sauté over medium heat for 15 minutes or until tender. Stir frequently.

And there you have it! The perfect quick and easy side. Bonus it’s vegan for those of you who are into that.


Brussels Sprout and Leek Hash with Truffled Mini Potatoes

Looking for the perfect side for Easter this weekend? Or an upcoming spring meal? I took this Brussels Sprout and Leek Hash with Truffled Mini Potatoes to a potluck and it was a total hit! Yeah… I went there. I truffled those tiny little carb-filled morsels. It was delicious. The shredded brussels sprouts add a little green freshness, but served warm, they are comforting and the perfect compliment to any meal!

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Plus, isn’t this side pretty? Everyone will want seconds!

For this side, you’ll need:

1 lb. mini potatoes
5 cups of shredded brussels sprouts
4 stalks or 2 cups of slice leeks (white part only)
1 stick of butter (sub 1/2 olive oil to make this vegan)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon garlic sea salt
1/2 tablespoon white truffle oil

Serves 10-12.

Begin by washing and slicing the tiny potatoes in half.

Next, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/2 tablespoon of truffle oil. Place in a skillet and sauté over medium to medium-low heat for 35-40 minutes. Stir frequently.

Meanwhile, wash and finely dice the brussels sprouts.

I sliced the leeks thinly and then in half.

Toss the diced brussels sprouts with the leeks. I sautéed these in a wok, because I love my wok, but a large skillet with high sides would work as well. Dice the butter, and add that and the garlic salt to the wok. Cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Stir frequently.

Layer the sautéed brussels sprouts and leek hash on the bottom of your serving dish. Then scoop the truffled potatoes over top. Serve warm.

Who is ready to dig in? I know I am!


Roasted Lemon Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Happy Valentine’s Day! According to all the posts, tweets, texts and instagrams, I think I was supposed to make you something sweet and pink and all cutesy for today. Oops.

It’s not that I don’t think love isn’t something worth celebrating, because it totally is. But I made these really delicious brussels sprouts last night and I couldn’t wait to share them with you! And that’s real life. Sometimes brussels sprouts doused with garlic sea salt, lemon and extra Parmesan cheese are perfect for celebrating. For real. Plus, if you haven’t planned what you’re making tonight, these would be a tasty and easy addition.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

4 cups of whole, fresh brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic sea salt
Juice of one lemon (approx 2 tablespoons)
Parmesan Reggiano for sprinkling… You can get carried away here! It’s totally cool. I recommend at least 1/4 cup.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by washing and chopping off the ends of the baby cabbages.

Then slice the brussels sprouts in half. If they are big, slice in half again, quartering them.

Toss the brussels sprouts with olive oil, garlic sea salt and lemon juice. Evenly spread the sliced brussel sprouts onto a baking sheet.

Warning: be careful not to over do it with the olive oil. Too much oil will make for soggy sprouts… Not sexy.

Roast on the bottom rack for approximately 20 minutes. Then toss the brussels sprouts and continue roasting for an additional 15-20 minutes. Baking times will vary depending on your oven.

Generously top the hot brussels sprouts with Parmesan. Then serve alongside your favorite dish.

I served mine up alongside some pesto pasta and a glass of Malbec. I encourage you to do the same.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Mimi. In case you can’t tell she was really excited about wearing her pink and red sweater this morning.

If there’s anything I can say about love, it’s that my moody, mop-headed, always ready-to-snuggle yorkie poo is the best little love bug. No else patiently waits while I hit snooze for 45 minutes every morning just to give me a face full of kisses the minute I open my eyes. No one else sleeps in my laundry basket all day waiting for me to get home. I can’t say enough about how much I love my little pup!

Who do you love most today?

Sweet Potato Au Gratin with Candied Bacon

Oh wow! Just realized my past two posts have been about sweet potatoes. Guess it’s that time of year. I have really come to like sweet potatoes over the past few years. I have to admit, I wasn’t always a fan. I do like to use them to give old favorites a new twist though. Plus, when they are in season, they are very affordable, which is always a plus.

As I promised at the beginning of this blog journey, I would share my ups and down. This recipe was a bit of a mixed bag, because I wound up really burning the bacon! Unfortunately, I didn’t have anymore bacon left and going to the store late at night wasnt going to happen… So I will show you what happens when you forget about your bacon.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

About 2lbs of sweet potatoes
1/2 lb of bacon
1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
1/2 stick of butter

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tablespoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of salt

I used a small baking dish, 4×8. This makes 6-8 servings.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by massaging about 1/4 cup of brown sugar into the bacon strips. Then place them on a foil lined baking sheet. Cook at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. This is significantly less time than I did.

Once the bacon is in then oven, (Warning! Don’t get distracted and forget about it!) start peeling your potatoes.

Slice the peeled sweet potatoes into thin slices. About an 1/8 of an inch thick or as thin as you can get them with them falling apart.

Spray your baking dish with non stick spray.

Begin by layering the bottom of the dish with sweet potato slices. Then place thin slices of butter and cinnamon over the top. Layer another round of sweet potatoes slices on top of those, then sprinkle that layer with brown sugar and a little salt. Continue alternating layers until you’ve reached the top.

And this is when I realized the bacon was burned to a crisp. Actually there were a few salvageable pieces. So I cut those into bite sized pieces.

I left my bacon in the oven on accident for about 40minutes… Oops! Don’t get distracted in the kitchen or this could happen!

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Sprinkle the top with panko breadcrumbs and candied bacon pieces.

Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes or until potatoes are completely tender.

And there you have it!

Slice up and serve hot.

Dig in!

Baba Ghanouj and a Lebanese Dinner Party

Last week I got invited to my very first all Lebanese dinner party! It was oh so much fun. Lots of food and new people. Upon the recommendation of the host Lynnsie, I made baba ghanouj using this recipe from Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen.

This recipe uses roasted eggplant, tahini and garlic.

I served it up with kalamata olives and some pita bread that was at the party.

Aren’t eggplants pretty? I had no idea that baba ghanouj was made with eggplant. There is a teaspoon of white vinegar used in this recipe to lighten the color of the roasted eggplant.

Roast the eggplants on a non-stick surface. For more details on the recipe, click here.

I dressed the baba ghanouj with olive oil, parsley and paprika. After trying the recipe, I think adding cayenne would have been a nice addition!

Grilled chicken from Foo. Tons of lemon… very delicious!

Lynnsie’s family recipe for Kibbeh. She promised to give me all the recipes one day. This dish had cinnamon and pine nuts, which gave it a different flavor. I really like it! It’s kind of similar to a meatloaf, traditionally made with lean ground lamb, ground beef can be substituted, and bulgar wheat.

Tabbouleh from Tarbouch.

Lebanese dolmas. You can get Hunter’s family recipe here.

Vermicelli rice

These lima beans were far and away the BEST lima beans I have ever had. Seriously. And I don’t even like beans that much but these were just soo good. Lynnsie, I know Haley and I are dying for this recipe!

This is Hunter’s family’s Lebanese salad recipe which involves lots of fresh mint. I loved it! I think I am going to try and use more fresh mint in my salads!

Don’t forget the vino!

A big thanks to my little Lebanese chef Lynnsie for hosting! Can’t wait for the next dinner party!

Last Minute Thanksgiving Side Ideas

Are you all running around like a chicken with your head cut off too? Ok good. Glad I’m not alone there. Yesterday, I spent a lot of time perusing Pinterest for ideas about sides for tonight’s Friendsgiving I’m hosting. Then I spent all of last night grocery shopping and helping friends assemble dishes and casseroles for tonight’s feast. I’m making Granny’s Broccoli and Cheese Casserole! I can not wait to share that recipe with you all.

Luckily, I was able to pull off tonight’s Friendsgiving, mainly because its BYOB and everyone is bringing a side dish or dessert. But I still haven’t the faintest clue what I am going to make for my family on the big day. Although, I’m still not really allowed to cook for family yet. It’s Granny’s kitchen and I’m not supposed to get in the way! My Granny is a very sweet lady, but she still thinks I’m going to burn myself if I attempt to fry bacon or lose a finger if I dice an onion. Yes, I’m a 27 year old child in her eyes. So, my main job, is to taste test and clean up behind her. I still want to make something though, and I’m considering making one these yummy side dishes!

1. Heavenly Mashed Potatoes by Spoon Fork Bacon

2. Sautéed Acorn Squash by Cooking Planit

3. Creamy Fried Confetti Corn from Southern Living

4. White Cheddar Ancho Chile Grits adapted by me, originally from Bijouxs

5. Creamy Polenta from Cooking Planit

6. Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Pine Nuts from Cooking Planit

7. Green Beans with Creamy Mushrooms from Cooking Planit

8. Butternut Squash Gratin from Southern Living

9. Sweet Potato Bisque from Cooking Planit

10. White Cheddar Mac n Cheese from moi!

Let’s be real, it isn’t really Thanksgiving without loads of cheese and carbs! My two personal favorite food groups. What are you planning on making this year?

Bacon and Leek Savory Thanksgiving Bread Pudding

It’s almost Thanksgiving and I could not be more excited to go home for a few days and hang out with my family. Speaking of family, or ohana, as the Hawaiians like to call it, I made this delicious recipe for King’s Hawaiian .

This recipe doesn’t require nearly as many ingredients as other bread puddings.

You all know I love simple delicacies.

Don’t forget to go check out this recipe! Click here!

What are you thinking of making on the big day?

Guest Blog: Pumpkin Risotto from Kitchen Concoctions

I am switching it up a little today and having my very first guest blog post! Heather from Kitchen Concoctions writes an amazing blog that I love, so I wanted to share her awesomeness with you all. Give her a warm welcome!

Hello Food Fetish friends!


I am Heather from Kitchen Concoctions ! I am so honored that Natalie asked me to be a guest blogger on her site.

My blog, Kitchen Concoctions, is where I share my passion for food through recipes, cooking tips and other food fun (sometimes I even share a little too much about myself, with silly stories and childhood memories). I hope you’ll stop by sometime and give a big ‘ole Texas howdy!


Fall is one of my favorite times of year! I love everything from fun and family friendly holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, to wearing boots (confession: I have more boots than any other type of shoe, which doesn’t make sense, considering I can only wear them a few months of the year!), and slurping up Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

And even though we have to sometimes ‘fake fall’ here in Texas (today we almost reached a high of 90 degrees), I still love to enjoy fall to its fullest!

I especially love spending more time in my kitchen cooking and baking and indulging in fall flavors, like pumpkin, apples, winter squash and hot beverages.

A hearty batch of risotto is another comforting fall food! Not only is making a big pot of risotto such a therapeutic cooking process (just standing there stirring and thinking, stirring and thinking; seriously so effective for solving life’s biggest debacles); it can also take on any flavor profiles you desire.

Pumpkin Risotto is one of my favorites. It incorporates pumpkin, salty Parmesan cheese and a perfect blend of fresh herbs and spices, to create a fabulous bowl of creamy goodness that tastes just like fall!



Pumpkin Risotto

By Heather Hunsaker of Kitchen Concoctions:

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Serves: 4-6

5-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

3 tablespoons butter

½ small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1½ cups Arborio rice

1/2 tablespoon fresh sage, minced (or ½ teaspoon dried sage)

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced (or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme)

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping if desired

¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper, or to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a separate large sauté pan, melt butter. Add the onion and cook until tender over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes.

Add in the rice and cook until the rice is translucent on the outside and opaque in the center, about 3 minutes. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

Add approximately 1 cup of broth to rice mixture and stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Continue to stir until broth begins to absorb into the rice. Stir in additional broth (1/2-1 cup at a time) and repeat stirring and absorption process until broth is used and rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Once rice is tender, stir in herbs, spices, pumpkin puree and Parmesan cheese; cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.


Remove from heat and season with additional salt and black pepper if needed. Serve immediately, topped with additional Parmesan cheese or fresh herbs.

White Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese

I had a technology failure. I lost a bunch of the step by step photos for this creamy white cheddar baked mac n cheese. How sad is that? Maybe they are somewhere hidden on my hard drive. But somewhere between my camera and the computer, some of these photos disappeared.

I usually like to let the pictures do the talking, but for this post, instructions will have to suffice. The perfectionist in me wanted to scrape this whole post, but the foodie in me said no. Bubbly, creamy, comforting white cheddar mac n cheese is too good not to share with all of you!

You’ll need:
1/2 lb noodles of your choice. I used whole wheat gemelli noodles
4 oz of heavy cream
16 oz of grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely diced white onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil

I suggest starting off by prepping all your ingredients so they are ready to go! Grate the cheese, mince the garlic and onion, measure out other ingredients. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. By prepping before, cooking the meal will go much smoother and you’ll be less likely to forget things!

Begin by boiling the gemelli noodles until al dente.

After about 10-15 minutes of noodles boiling, sauté the onions and garlic with the olive oil for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Then melt the butter in. Next add the cream and stir for 2 more minutes. Stir in the flour. This will be your roux.

Drain the water from the noodles. Do not rinse the noodles. Put them back in hot pot, stir in the roux. Fold in the grated white cheddar cheese, reserving 1 cup for the topping.

Place the noodles into a small baking dish coated with non-stick spray. Cover the top with panko bread crumbs and the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the cheese is bubbling and the top is golden brown.

Why do noodles that are already cooked take so long to cook more? I am not really sure. It seems way too long, but it is oh so worth it. I promise. The crunchy panko and bubbly cheesy are like a party for your taste buds.

Dig in! Add salt and pepper to taste.

White Cheddar Ancho Chile Grits

Did anyone love last weekend’s rain as much as I did? I spent the whole weekend cuddled up in my house, not wanting to leave. I slept a lot, cooked a lot and watched a lot of Revenge. Don’t tell me what happens! We thought the DVR was set to record but it wasn’t! Blast! So, it gave me another excuse to keep watching the rest of season 1, instead of skipping ahead to season 2.

While cuddled up this weekend, I was craving cheese and carbs, typical. I scoured Foodgawker, and stumbled upon this gem of a recipe. This ancho chile butter really catches your eye! It’s a wonderfully cheesy, warm, smoky dish that will be perfect for many cool autumn nights.

You’ll need:

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

2 tablespoons shallots, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups chicken stock

1/2 pint cream

2 cups white grits

1 1/2 cups grated White Cheddar cheese

2 ounces dried ancho chiles (1 package)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

This recipe is adapted from Bijouxs

I started off by shredding the cheddar. Set aside.

Mince the garlic and shallots. You can find shallots near the garlic in the produce section.

 Sautée the garlic and shallots with olive oil for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Be careful not to burn them!

 Next add the cream and chicken stock to the skillet. Continue to sautee over medium heat for another 2 minutes. Then pour in the dried grits. Stir and bring just to a boil.

Then transfer the grits into a slow cooker. Cook on high heat for about 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

 Grab your dried ancho chiles.

 Soak the ancho chiles in warm water for about 10 minutes or so, or until they soften. Cut off the stems and deseed the ancho chiles. Dice them up. Place the ancho chiles and about 1/8 cup of water into a food processor. Pulse until it forms a paste.

 In a small skillet, melt the ancho chile paste and butter together over medium-low heat.

Oh, this looks nice.

Once your grits reach the consistency of oatmeal, stir in the shredded cheddar. Mix well.

 Serve the grits in a bowl or as a side. Plate the grits first and pour the ancho chile butter over top. Or you could stir all the ancho chile butter into the grits in the slow cooker. Either way will taste great, this one just looks prettier 🙂

 The white cheddar and cream give the grits a great consistency. The ancho chiles give a great smoky flavor that isn’t too spicy.


Rosemary and Feta Grilled Corn Salad

This little Greek-inspired, grilled corn salad was a last minute throw together for a recent dinner party. I served it alongside these tender rosemary garlic lamb short ribs .

This salad came together with:
4 ears of corn
Tony Sachere’s
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup crumbled feta
2 sprigs minced rosemary
Juice of half a small lemon

Start off by grilling your corn elotes style . You can also do this in the oven .

While the corn is cooling down, get the rest of your ingredients together.

Chop the red onion, mince the fresh rosemary leaves and dice the feta. Or you can buy feta that is already crumbled.

Once cool enough to touch, slice the corn kernels from the ears. Toss together with the other ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Then it’s ready to serve! Super simple but full of flavor! Best of all, it’s very budget friendly too!

Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese

I know the unofficial official start of fall is next week, buuuut I just couldn’t wait to get a jump on pumpkin season this year! Nothing says fall, Thanksgiving and football season to me, like burnt orange, pumpkin and my favorite pair of boots.


What better way to add a seasonal flavor to your favorite comfort food than pumpkin mac ‘n cheese! After searching through a few recipes, I decided to put my own twist on this favorite with extra pumpkin, no butter and spice it up with cayenne!

For this recipe, you’ll need:
 2 cups of rotini or elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
1 cup heavy cream
 1 cup low fat shredded mozzarella (or any cheese that melts well!)
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup crushed pecans
 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and Black pepper

Makes about 6 hearty servings.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 Start by brining the pasta to boil. Cook until al dente.

In a separate pot, combine heavy cream, pumpkin purée and spices. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Next, turn off the heat and add the shredded cheese. Stir until smooth.

Add in the crushed pecans and drained pasta (do not rinse the pasta). The hot noodles will help everything melt together. Combine until pasta is evenly covered in cheesy, pumpkin goodness.

 Place pasta into a baking dish coated with non-stick spray. Top with Parmesan and panko bread crumbs. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until bread crumbs are brown and crunchy.

Serve this pumpkin mac ‘n cheese up hot! The pecans give a great crunch and the cayenne turns up the heat. Reduce cayenne by half if you prefer a milder flavor.

Enjoy! And happy *almost* fall!!

What is Dinosaur Kale?

I’ve been hearing about Dinosaur Kale a lot lately, but what exactly is it?

I saw it on a menu… This salad sounded good, but I was still unsure.

Dinosaur kale is also referred to as Lacinto or Tuscan kale.

Image courtesy of The Healthy Writer .

Dinosaur kale is described as having dark blue, green leaves. It has a slightly bitter and earthy taste, although it is more delicate than curly kale.

Most of the recipes I looked up, cooked dinosaur kale down because of its hearty, embossed texture. Most commonly used in soups, stews and pastas, but can also be eaten in a salad.

What is your favorite way to eat dinosaur kale?

Mango Basil Salsa

This flavor combo comes straight from the cooking class I took in Puerto Vallarta. I was so surprised to learn how much basil was used in the local food. Plus, mango and basil is an amazing flavor combination. If you haven’t tried it, here’s your chance!


For this mango basil salsa, you’ll need:
1 ripe mango
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Start off by peeling the skin off of the mango.

Next, slice up the mango and chop the basil.

Put the mango and basil into a food processor with the olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Purée until smooth.

And there you have it! Mango basil salsa! So easy!

I served my mango basil salsa on top of tilapia fish tacos that I cooked in a bag .

This would be great over rice and beans or on top of a salad. I even thought about using this combo as the base for an awesome cocktail… The possibilities are endless! What do you think this would be best used as?

Garlic Sweet Potato Fries

Garlic+sweet potato=fries

Sounds like an awesome combination to me! And it was! Don’t you just love an easy, tasty, yummy… Side? Ok good, me too!

I love those sweet potato fries because you don’t need much to make them!

1 large sweet potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons of garlic salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and peel the sweet potato. Dice the potato into half inch thick and about 3-4 inch long pieces.

Toss the sweet potato with olive oil and garlic salt until evenly coated. Spread the fries evenly on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick spray.

Bake for 20 minutes or until fries are tender. Turn fries half way through.

Some of my sweet potato fries came out a little dark, but that’s because my oven bakes really unevenly.

Serve up these fries with your favorite burger or sandwich! Or eat them all by themselves with spicy ketchup like I did.


Tangy Mustard Potatoes

Good Morning lovelies! Here I go posting on a Saturday! These potatoes are a super easy side dish. They remind me a little of potato salad but use mustard as the base instead of mayo…seriously cutting out a lot of calories and adding a ton of flavor. I used Dijon mustard but a spicy or stone ground mustard would work great as well. This is super easy to make but delicious none the less. You can whip this up in no time to take a barbecue.

You’ll need:
Red potatoes
Dijon Mustard

First start by washing and quartering the red potatoes.

Boil the potatoes until tender, this could take 15 or so minutes.

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Drain the water from the red potatoes. Rinse with cold water.

Add a hearty 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard to the red potatoes in a mixing bowl.

Add a dash or two of dried parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in bowls or as a side.

So easy!


Avocado Grapefruit Salad

This salad or side dish… whatever you want to call it is über healthy and combines 2 super foods. Perfect and light, easy to add to your normal routine and switch it up a bit.

You’ll need:
1 Avocado
1 small grapefruit
2 green onions
A splash of balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and Black pepper


Start by cutting the grapefruit and removing the skin and seeds.

Dice up the grapefruit and avocado into equal size pieces. Set aside.

Next, mince up the green onions.

Put the avocado and grapefruit in a bowl. Top with green onions.

Sprinkle in a little kosher salt.

A dash of balsamic vinegar. Literally a splash. The fruits are delicate and too much balsamic will overpower their flavors.

And there you have it folks. Super easy and über healthy.


Cilantro Pasta Salad

Happy Friday Everyone!! Are y’all looking forward to this long Memorial Day weekend as much as I am? Before you head off to sun-filled adventures, take a look at these recipes from our girls night dinner and get some inspiration for your cuisine this weekend!

I brought this Cilantro Pasta Salad, so you’ll get the full step-by-step process for the other dishes, I got the recipes from the girls so you’ll have those!

You’ll need:
Whole Wheat short pasta noodles (I used Rigatoni)
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bag of frozen peas
1 jalapeño
1 lime
3 small tomatoes
Olive Oil
Cotija Cheese
6 oz of Chicken Breasts
1/2 a red onion

Start off by boiling the pasta.

Now onto the pesto… c’mon y’all know the drill by now! Wash the cilantro and do a rough chop of the jalapeño, garlic and limes.

Throw that all into a food processor with a few tablespoons of olive oil and salt to taste. Blend until smooth.

I used these roma tomatoes because they were fresh and on sale! Grape or cherry tomatoes would also work well in this dish. If you use larger tomatoes, like I did, use a spoon and scoop out the juicy insides and seeds. This will keep the pasta from getting watered down.

Nice diced up tomatoes.

After the pasta is finished cooking, turn off the heat and throw the frozen peas into the hot water with the pasta. Stir around for about 2 minutes. The peas will cook in the water. Peas are tender and can easily be over cooked… which causes them to be mushy. So throwing them in the hot water for 2-3 minutes when the pasta is finished will cook them perfectly. Then strain the pasta with peas normally and boom, you’re done!

Oh and how could I forget the chicken! I got some chicken breast cutlets. Dice them up.

Throw the diced chicken into a skillet with diced red onion and some cumin to taste. Prob 3-5 shakes. Cook that over medium heat until chicken is completely white, no pink!

Stir the chicken frequently when cooking.

Once the chicken is done, in large serving bowl, combine the pasta, peas, chicken, tomatoes and pesto.

Ta-Da! There you have it! Top with some crumbled cotija cheese and show you guests how awesome you are.

Now, onto the girls night! Here are some of the other scrumptious dishes!!

Casey Laine’s Sunset Tortellini

Casey Laine’s Sunset Tortellini
1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 medium bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 cup)
2 cups chopped roma (plum) tomatoes (6 to 8 medium)
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into slices (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1 Cook and drain tortellini as directed on package, using 3-quart saucepan. Wipe out saucepan with paper towel; wipe dry with paper towel.
2 Heat oil in same saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook bell pepper in oil 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender.
3 Stir in tomatoes, zucchini, Italian seasoning and garlic salt. Cover and cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender.
4 Stir in tortellini. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until hot.

Who brought this!?!

Allison Rendall’s Shrimp Dip

1 sm. bunch parsley, chopped
3/4 stick of margarine
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
2 lbs shrimp, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
Tony Chachere’s and Old Bay Seasoning to taste

Sauté parsley, green onions and shrimp in margarine. Add cream cheese, soup and seasonings. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Serve with chips, crackers or garlic bread.

*Crawfish can be substituted for the shrimp and it is equally as delicious!

Tortilla Rolls… recipe coming soon!

Cranch’s No-Bake Cookies
1 3/4 cups white sugar

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.

Who brought the fruit salad!?!

Schu’s Salad… were there capers in this?

Katharine’s Awesome Cauliflower Crust Pizza!
Here’s the link:

Haley’s Raspberry Vodka Spritzer…recipe coming soon!
I know that it involved vodka, raspberries and fresca…

Head up to the roof-top deck and enjoy your Raspberry Vodka Spritzer and the beautiful ATX sunset.

Cranch dancing to the sunset…

Leave it up to JJ to end the dinner with this fantabulous homemade salted caramel ice cream!! This was the winner of the night!!

Dishes and hugs… dishes and hugs.

Hope everyone has a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!!

The 5 Best Things I’ve Ever Made

Its been about 9 months since I started this blog. So I figured it was time for a “Best Thing I Ever Made” inspired post. There’s been quite a few meals made during this time so I wanted to share some of my favorites. Other things I could have done in 9 months:

Hatched a human

Finished 2 semesters of college

Made a trip around the world on a boat

But instead I decided to write about my culinary

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adventures. Glad you all decided to come along on this adventure. My shameless self-plug: I am raising money for the Alzheimer’s association and am waaayy behind on my goal of $500… any donation is greatly appreciated! So go here and donate $5, $10, $15 if you can. A $25 donation gets you a ticket to the game on June 8th and entrance to the after party. Thanks for your support!

Now here are The 5 Best Things I’ve Ever Made:

5. Sourdough Stack

This breakfast came to be early on in my blog and you can see the progress I’ve made… especially the photography. Despite the photography, this dish was one of the more creative things I’ve made. I really like this one.

4. Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting
The name explains why this is one of the best things I’ve ever made.

3. Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Ranch Coleslaw

I mean… seriously. These were AH-MAZ-ING! Sooooo deliciously spicy and good and perfect for any occasion.

2. Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Simply delicious. Not to mention this recipe is from one of my favorite, favorite bloggers, Joy the Baker.

1. Seared Tuna with Mango Salsa

Definitely the winner. Absolutely the Best Thing I’ve Ever Made. This dish was so fresh and the pineapple mango salsa could be used on so many other things. Searing tuna is not nearly as hard as it seems and is something I want to incorporate more often in my cooking rotation.

What is the Best Thing You’ve Ever Made?

Sautéed Mustard Greens with Prosciutto

Hello Monday. It’s great to see you again.

You don’t like Mondays?

I do. I like getting fresh start on a new week. I look forward to menu planning and my Monday workout class.

I also like Mondays because it means I’m going to do something good for  my body. Like eat something healthy. Drink a ton of water. Generally try to rid my body of the poison I put in it this weekend. And I like to top it all off with a good nights sleep.

I decided to use mustard greens as a side dish to Sweet and Spicy Glazed Salmon after learning that mustard greens are common in a lot of Asian dishes and the salmon glaze had an Asian twist.

Second only to kale, mustard greens are packed with nutrients and they are super cheap. Only $0.88 for a bunch, so load up on them!


You’ll need:
1 bunch of Mustard greens
1/2 of a large white onion
3 cloves of garlic
Sesame Oil (can substitute olive oil)
Kosher salt

Chop up the onion and mince some garlic.

Wash the leafy greens. Then hold them with one hand and slice them with the other.

In a large pan, mix the onion and chopped mustard greens. Save the garlic for later.

Drizzle some sesame oil over the onions and mustard greens. Turn the heat onto medium and begin to stir occasionally. I used sesame oil to give it an extra Asian flavor since I was serving these with an Asian salmon. Olive oil will also work just fine.

After a few minutes the greens will begin to wilt. Add the minced garlic. Reduce heat to low to prevent the garlic from burning. Sautee for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle a little salt in.

Tear in some prosciutto. I used probably 2 ounces but that was because it was just what I had. Use as much or little as you want. Or for a vegan dish, leave it out all together!

Ready to eat!

I served these mustard greens with Sweet and Spicy Glazed Salmon and Brown Sugar Pecan Risotto.




Brown Sugar Pecan Risotto

I’ve already had 3 songs about rain play on my Pandora station this morning… coincidence? Is Pandora linked up with the local weather station? Hhhmmm haha I’m such a conspiracy theorist!

In light of the slighty cooler weather and my current obsession with pasta… today I give you Brown Sugar Pecan Risotto. It’s surprisingly easy and great for breakfast or dinner! You can make it for your Momma this Sunday for Mother’s Day!

You’ll need:
Arborio Rice
Vegetable Broth
Brown Sugar
Olive Oil

Add about a cup of arborio rice to a large stock pot. Have the fire on about medium.

Chop up about 3/4 a cup of pecans. I got roasted and salted ones. Plain would also work but I don’t suggest using any that are candied for this recipe.

Add the chopped pecans to the pot.

Add 2-3 tablespoon of olive oil.

Stir that all up. Continuously stir on medium-low heat for about 2 minutes.

Add about 1/2 a cup of brown sugar. Stir that in. Then slowly begin adding in 1/2 a cup of vegetable broth

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at time. Stirring continuously until it is absorbed then add 1/2 cup more until you have added about 3 1/2 cups or the liquid is absorbed and the risotto begins to become creamy.

After the last of broth is absorbed, add 3/4 cup of Ricotta. Stir that in until completely blended. Do a little taste test before serving… need more brown sugar? Maybe a little salt? Add just a sprinkle of either blend then taste again until you it suits you.

Top with whole pecans and serve! Delish!

I served this up as a side dish to Sweet and Spicy Salmon.


This is one of my favorite, favorite Mexican sides. La Condesa makes an especially good elote and here is my copy-cat version. Elotes are pretty straight-forward and easy to make but still delicious. Try this version at home and then head down to La Condesa on Saturday for the Cinco de Mayo Block Party on 2nd Street and try out their version.


You’ll need:
Fresh corn on the cob
Cayenne pepper or another dried Mexican pepper spice
Crushed red pepper
Cotija cheese

Start by shucking the corn. AKA peeling off the husks.

Next, snap off the end of the corn. I usually do this by using both hands and breaking off the end. If that doesn’t work for you, break out a knife and cut it off.

Rinse the corn and be sure to remove any dirt or corn silk fibers. The fibers are tiny little strands of the husk that can get stuck in between the kernels.

Cut off the ends of corn stalk or any parts that do not look particularly appetizing.

Use about a tablespoon of butter per ear of corn. I spread the butter on the corn with the backside of a spoon.

Nice buttery corn.

Now sprinkle some cayenne pepper over the buttered corn.

Now these guys are ready for the grill!

Place the corn on the grill over medium heat. Corn can take a while to grill compared to other vegetables. About 10 minutes on each side over medium-low flame.

After about 10 minutes or so roll the corn over.

Once the corn is done grilling, bring them back inside and sprinkle with a little more cayenne pepper.

now cover the hot ears of corn with crumbled cotija cheese! I just love cotija cheese…

Add a few crushed red pepper flakes over the cotija cheese.

Ready to eat!

Perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

I served these elotes with Tequila Lime Chicken. Enjoy!

Sourdough Bread

Have I told you about my love affair with sourdough bread? Well, it’s true, I love the stuff. A while back I made a Sourdough Starter. However, my first batch of bread I made didn’t turn out so well. It actually wasn’t bread at all, it was a huge sourdough biscuit. I mean it tasted great! But my bread fell flat. So, I tried aging using the same sourdough starter as before but a slightly different recipe for the bread. I combined the sourdough starter recipe from Joy the Baker and the actual bread recipe from Emeril Lagasse .

You’ll need:
1 1/2 cups of sourdough starter
1 package of active dry yeast
2 cups of flour
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First things first, get your starter!

Stir in the “hooch” aka the yellow stuff on top.

Add 2 cups of flour to your mixing bowl.

Add 1 1/2 cups of stirred starter.

Add the yeast…

1 teaspoon sugar.

3/4 teaspoon of salt.

Now stir all of that until the dough forms a ball around the hook.

There’s the ball!

The dough should be pretty sticky. See how it was sticking to my hands? Place dough ball into a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes.

Pretty little dough ball.

Put dough into a bowl sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place. Let rise for an hour or until dough doubles in size.

Doubled in size. Nice and sticky and a little bubbly.

Again place dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes.

I kneaded mine into the shape of the bread pan.

Place into bread pan that is sprayed with non-stick spray.

You know the drill… Cover with a kitchen towel and put it in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes this time.

After dough has doubled in size, bake in oven at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.


The smell of fresh bread is like no other!


Sourdough Starter

Sourdough bread is one of my favorites! I love it for paninis and grilled sandwiches. But I’ve always wondered what makes sourdough bread, well, sour? After some investigation, I realized that I’d need a sourdough starter. Basically how you make sourdough sour is literally souring flour and water. Sounds kinda gross but hey, gotta do what ya gotta do.

Here goes!

You’ll need…. Wait for it….
Flour and water. That’s it.

1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
A container w a lid, glass or plastic work best. No metal.

One cup flour into the jar.

One cup warm water. I used warm water from the sink, nothing special here.

Wee bit bubbly.

Whisk that all up.

Hey girl hey.

Alright, now it’s time to let it sit. This takes a few days. Find a warm, sunny window or in my case since we don’t have many sunny windows, I put mine by the coffee pot.

Leave the lid slightly ajar. Let it sit for 24 hours.

24 hours later…. Fermentation.

Now, over the next 3-5 days you will repeat the steps I’m about to show you.

Throw out half of the mixture. Then add half a cup of flour.

And add half a cup of warm water.

Whisk all together again.

Now, leave the lid ajar and place back in your warm spot and let sit. Repeat this every 24hrs for 3-5 days.The mixture will start to ferment and get a “sour” smell. This is what we want! Hence sourdough bread.

If your mixture gets this yellowish stuff ontop, that’s ok just mix it back in. It’s called the “hooch” funny name, I know.

Continue feeding your mixture. You can move this into the fridge were it can live for a long time. Just remember to feed it once a week. Feeding it means throwing half of it out and adding half a cup of flour and warm water each. Mix and let sit.

That’s it folks! I will let y’all get started on these and post the bread recipe for sourdough in a few days!

Let me know how things are going!!

Kale Chips

These may not look like much but they are one of my favorites! Kale chips are basically dehydrated pieces of kale, same principle as potato chips.

These are simple to make and satisfy that crispy, salty craving.

You’ll need:
Fresh Kale
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Optional: pepper or other spices

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash kale and pat dry.

Cut off the bulky stems.

Lay kale leaves

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flat on a baking pan lined with foil.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Dash of fresh pepper!

You could get really creative with spices and flavors to use! Paprika, garlic, lemon all sound wonderful to me! Start with the basic olive oil and salt and then go from there!

Bake for 20-25min at 375 degrees. These will wilt down significantly.

The pictures really don’t do these babies justice. They tasted and smelled delicious!

The flavor really reminds me of a super thin potato chip. The longer you bake these the crispier they will become. I ate them right off the pan they were so tempting!

I made these again but added some thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes. I ate them with ketchup mixed with siracha and it was the perfect addition to my meal.


Prosciutto and Cantaloupe Arugula Salad with Spicy Mustard Balsamic Dressing

I guess the warm weather has me feeling fruity fresh! After a long and glorious weekend in Santa Barbara, CA I’ve been craving fresh produce and warm sunshine. I haven’t made a salad in a while and in a salute to bikini season, let’s get started on this delicious taste of spring!

For the salad, you’ll need:
Red onion

For the Spicy Mustard Balsamic Dressing, you’ll need:
Sweet and Spicy Mustard (any mustard will do actually)
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar

Dice up about 2 tablespoons of red onion. I diced mine pretty finely.

Slice the avocado in half.

Then make slices vertically. Set aside for now.

Slice the cantaloupe in half.

Scrape out all the seeds and guts.

Ahhh nice and clean!

Now use a melon baller to scoop out melon balls. Use as many as you’d like, I used about 8-10.

Now set all your fresh ingredients aside and lets get started on the dressing.

Pour 2 tablespoons of sweet and spicy mustard into a bowl. Add the lemon juice. I didn’t use all the juice in half a lemon. Be sure all the seeds are removed.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Add a dash of balsamic vinegar.
Whisk that all together.

Now, let’s build the salad. Bed of arugula, yum!

Sprinkle red onions over the arugula.

Place the melon balls on the salad.

So pretty!

Scoop out the avocado slices and place on the salad.

Sprinkle walnuts all over.

Slice the prosciutto into strips.

At this time, your dog will probably show up having smelled the prosciutto. Aww she’s so cute!

And vicious when it comes to prosciutto haha! And wash your hands again here.

I rolled up the prosciutto a little and place on the salad. You could get creative here.

So fresh!


Drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Mouth is watering.

Garnish with fresh cracked pepper if you like.

Enjoy this super fresh and healthy, spring salad!

Popover Rolls

I’ve seen these light and fluffy rolls but always wondered how they got that way. At first, I thought they must have yeast but then realized because they are hollow and thin that it must be something else. They are deceivingly easy to make and really fun to eat!

You’ll need:
3 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Generously spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Add in the eggs!

Mix everything up with a fork. Do not over mix. There will be some small lumps and the batter will be thin.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin pan. Bake for 30-35min until tops are golden brown. Do not open oven until the popovers are done or they will fall.



So fun to eat!


Look, they are hollow!

Have fun and enjoy these super easy popovers!

Whole Wheat Couscous with Red Pepper and Cucumber

I made this little side dish to go along with Hunter’s dolmas. Not going to lie, this was my first time to try whole wheat couscous and it was a little bland. I would suggest heavily salting your water when boiling to help the grain absorb some flavor. The couscous was actually more flavorful the next day after melding with the other flavors in the fridge.

You’ll need:
1 cup whole wheat couscous
Red pepper
Olive oil

Do a rough chop of some garlic. Then you will cook the couscous according to the package directions. Usually 1 part couscous to 2 parts water. In a pot combine 2 cups water, 1 cup couscous, the chopped garlic, olive oil and a couple tablespoons of kosher salt.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.

When it’s done, it will look like this.

Chop up the cucumber and red pepper into bite size pieces. Remove the ribs and seeds from the red pepper.

Add crumbled feta.

Stir in the couscous and it’s ready to serve! It went great with the dolmas and sweet potato hummus . Top it with a little cilantro yogurt for an extra kick.


Stuffed Mushrooms with Prosciutto and Gruyere

Here is yet another appetizer I brought to another potluck. Gotta say, I do love a potluck. Why? Because there is lots of sharing and you get to taste everything. Always my fav.

There are million different ways to prepare stuffed mushrooms and here is my take.

You’ll need:
1 lb Cremini mushrooms
1/2 a bunch of green onions
1 cup spinach
1 medium yellow onion
1/3 lb of thinly sliced prosciutto
Gruyere Cheese

You’ll also need:
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
1 tablespoon of butter
Italian Seasoning

Dice up the onion.

Mince up some garlic. Or if you’re like me, 6 cloves or so…

Chop up the spinach.

Ok, now time for the mushrooms. Be sure to wash them

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well, mushrooms are pretty dirty. The use a spoon to scoop out the stems. Set stems aside. We will use them for the stuffing.

Separate stems and ‘shrooms.

Now, dice up the stems.

Looking’ good.

In a skillet, sauté the mushroom caps with a tablespoon or so of butter. We want to soften these up a bit. Sauté on medium heat for 5-6minutes or until slightly tender.

While the ‘shrooms are on the stove, let’s slice up the prosciutto.

Oh, look who finally climbed out of her bed! Little Mimi has quite the nose for deli meat!

All sliced up.

Thinly slice your green onions. These are for the topping.

And thinly slice the gruyere too. Also for topping.

Combine all fresh ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cups of bread crumbs.

Add a few shakes of Italian seasoning.

A few pinches of kosher salt.

Mix that all up.

Don’t forget about these babies we had sautéing!

Lightly spread a little olive on the bottom of a large baking pan. Now, things are finally coming together! Start stuffing!

Ok, so… I made a wee bit too much stuffing. Instead of throwing it away, I just poured it all on top of the stuffed mushrooms. I knew everything was going to cool down so in the end it would be ok.

Then top everything with gruyere slices and green onions. If you didn’t want to use the extra stuffing, place a slice of gruyere over each mushroom and top with some green onions.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 30min or until cheese is melted and a little bubbly.

Omg… These smelled delicious!!

Mouth. Is. Watering.

So perfect for sharing!



Who is ready to eat?!?


Butternut Squash and Kale with Whole Grains

I was pretty excited about making this dish! It’s warm (I’ve been craving warm food lately) and healthy so you don’t feel guilty about eating it, like say an Alfredo pasta. Plus, this is packed with tons of good for you veggies, so not only is it low cal but it’s actually healthy.

Originally, I intended to use barley risotto. However, upon my arrival at my regular grocery store, no barley risotto to be found. Considering the resolutioners were crowding up my store, I knew they’d be crawling all over the even healthier stores and I wasn’t in the mood to fight the crowds. So I settled on this quick cook, whole grain mix. It actually turned out working well because it gave the dish a little more variety in texture.

You’ll need:

1/2 a butternut squash
3/4 a large white onion
2 cups of fresh kale
Several cloves of fresh garlic
1 cup of whole grains
2 cups of chicken broth (can sub vegetable broth and make this vegan!)
Fresh Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Finely chop the onion and garlic. The garlic is for taste and I love garlic so I added a lot. You can reduce this if you prefer. I used about 5 cloves.

Wash and pat dry your kale. Remember to remove the ribs. If you need a reminder on how to do this click here. Scroll down and there’s a demo. Then slice the kale into smaller strips.

Now for the butternut squash. Warning: this is not the easiest vegetable to work with. First, slice it in half down the middle.

I had to take a break, arm strength was waning.


Use a spoon to scope out the flesh. You only need half of the butternut squash for this recipe but I went ahead and sliced and diced the whole thing so I can use the other half later.

Now peel all the skin off. Since the shape of this squash is irregular this is a little challenging. Not too bad though.

Now slice it up.

Then dice it up into bite size pieces.

Measure out a cup of grains and lets get to cooking!

Drizzle the bottom of a large pot with olive oil. Add your onions and garlic. Cook on medium high heat until translucent.

Should smell really good right about now!

Stir in the butternut squash.

Now add the kale. Let the kale wilt just a bit. Stir this around for 1-2 minutes.

Then add two cups of chicken broth.

Cover and bring to a boil.

After it boils, add in one cup of grains.

After adding grains, bring it back to a boil.

Then transfer it to a small casserole dish.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. The liquid will be absorbed while it’s cooking.

And 30 minutes later… Dinner is ready!

Add fresh grated Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a bowl.

I like lots of Parmesan!

Yum yum! Time to eat!

Spring Rolls

I, like everyone else it seems, could use a little detox after the holiday gorge fest. I get a little bored with regular old “healthy” type food and prefer to keep it real. As in real food, minimally processed that packs lots of nutrition and flavor. This the spring roll. Easy, healthy, and switches it up a little.

The specialty items you’ll need:
Rice Paper
Rice Noodles
I found these in the Asian section at HEB but you can also get them at places like Thai Fresh and other Asian markets.

Siracha and Soy Sauce for dipping if you like.

As for your fresh ingredients:

Peel the cucumber.

Then slice the ends off and cut it in half.

Use a spoon to scrape out the flesh.

Thinly slice the cucumber.

Now cut the thin slices into thirds. Set aside.

Peel off some cabbage leaves. Wash and pat them dry.

Slice them into thin strips about the same size as the cucumber.

In a boiling pot of water, place a handful of rice noodles. You don’t need much and these cook pretty quickly! Some only require about a minute in the boiling water, depends on the width and thickness of the noodle.

They kinda stay stuck together while they cook unless you separate them. In this case, it’s ok for them to stick together.

After removing from water, I let mine rest and dry out just a tad.

Ok, now for the challenging part: Rice paper. Look! It’s already starting to curl just holding it over the pot. It’s a delicate ingredient.

And my first attempt was an utter fail, haha.

Discard that one and move on.

Ok, it’s not perfect but definitely something I can work with. To do this, I dipped the rice paper in the water very quickly and had the plate right next to the stove. I laid it out as quickly as possible. Boom.

Now for the fun part! Place the shrimp flat on the cooked rice paper.

Layer the cabbage and cucumber slices over the shrimp.

Now add carrot slices and cilantro.

Top with a thin layer of cooked rice noodles and your ready to roll it up! The rice paper will be a little sticky and should roll up nicely.

Ready to eat!

I dipped mine in some siracha and soy sauce, yummy! Enjoy!

Spicy Baked Mac ‘n Cheese

I’ve been drooling over carbs lately… I’m a totally carb lover. And I love love love baked Mac ‘n Cheese so of course when I made a batch this weekend I decided to spice up my normal Mac ‘ cheese! It got my super picky eater roommates approval with “the perfect amount of spice” not so hot you can’t keep eating but enough to give it a kick. Woohoo success!

You’ll need:
2 cup of macaroni noodles
4 tbsp of butter
5 tbsp of flour
1.5 cups of milk
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 cups of shredded cheddar
2 cups of shredded Italian cheeses
Cayenne pepper
Diced jalapeños
Bread crumbs
Garlic powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil macaroni noodles in another pot until al dente.

Then start on cheese sauce.

In a pot, melt butter and then whisk in flour.

Next, add milk and whipping cream. Whisk until completely blended with flour.

Next whisk in paprika and cayenne pepper. I started off with a teaspoon on each. Taste test to get the amount of spice you like.

Once you achieve your optimal spice level, add in a cup of shredded cheese at a time. Melt until smooth. Leave about a cup of cheese to use as a topping later.

Turn off heat. Combine your cooked and drained macaroni noodles into your cheese pot. Add a few spoonfuls of diced jalapeños and mix.

I mixed my bread crumbs with a little garlic powder for extra flavor.

In a baking dish, spread about the Mac ‘n cheese and top with bread crumbs.

Top with your last cup of cheese. Bake for 15-20 min at 350 degrees.

Broily, cheesy perfection! Time to dig in!

This will keep for a few days in the fridge.


Mushroom Orzo with Parmigiano

Doesn’t this sound delicious? Well, it is. I just love mushrooms and the richness of orzo and fresh parmigiano make this a decadent but easy side dish.

You’ll need:
Orzo (I used the entire pack because I was cooking for several people)
2 cans of chicken broth
1/2 lb of cermini mushrooms
Fresh grated parmigiano
Fresh parsley to garnish

Wash mushrooms, be sure to get all the dirt off. Then slice and combine with 2 cans of chicken broth plus one can of water. Bring to a boil. Let that boil for a few minutes to soften the mushrooms.

Then add orzo and reduce to a simmer. Follow the directions on the orzo package but this should take 10 minutes or so. Stir frequently so the orzo doesnt stick to the bottom of the pot. Once all the broth has been absorbed, it’s ready to serve.

Meanwhile, grate some fresh parmigiano.

Place on a plate and sprinkle with parmigiano and top with a little parsley.

Garlic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I have been seeing and hearing about brussel sprouts for a while now and have been pretty skeptical. I mean, aren’t they supposed to smell really bad or something? I figured if I’ve been seeing them everywhere then they must be good, right? I decided to give them a try this weekend. I went with garlic because, it can make anything taste good, right?

You’ll need:
Fresh brussel sprouts
Olive oil
Fresh garlic
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the brussel sprouts. Cut off the butt of the little cabbage. You can also slice them in half if you want but I kept mine whole.

Place the cut brussel sprouts in a bowl with some fresh black pepper and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Drizzle all of this with olive oil and mix.

Place the brussel sprouts on a baking sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 min. This will make the brussel sprouts a little crispy on the outside and the salty flavor will start to come out.

About halfway trough you can toss the pan a little, so that all sides cook evenly. When they are done, they will look something like this.

They smelled delicious! (I think it was the garlic) This is a super easy and super healthy addition to any meal. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts

I had to share all the awesome sides people brought to Friendsgiving last Sunday! This is not a complete list so if I left your dish off or I didnt get your recipe, please send those to me! I will keep updating this post for all you last minute Thanksgiving chefs!

Smoked Gouda Grits- Sara Hull

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 cups uncooked quick-cooking grits
1 2/3 cups shredded smoked Gouda cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese and butter, stirring until melted.
Buy a 7-ounce wheel of smoked Gouda cheese to get the right amount.

Spinach Madeline- Caroline Lomax

1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 (10 ounce) boxes boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry; reserve 1/2 cup liquid
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and ground black pepper

Combine milk, spinach liquid and garlic in a 1-quart microwave-safe measuring cup or small bowl covered with a saucer, and microwave (or heat slowly in a medium saucepan) until very hot and steamy. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to soften garlic.
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour. Add hot milk mixture all at once, then whisk until smooth. Stir in spinach; cook until sauce is thick and bubbly and spinach is tender but still green, about 5 minutes. Stir in cheese, nutmeg, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole- Katharine Keton

Yurko Family Cheesy Potatoes in Front and Conder Family Squash Casserole in the Back

½ c. melted butter
1 (2 lb.) bag frozen hash browns thawed
2 c. chopped onions
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp. salt  & ¼ tsp.  pepper
1 8 oz. carton sour cream
1 ¾ cans cream of chicken soup
¼ c. melted butter
2 c. corn flakes crumbs


Mix in large bowl and place in a 9 x 13” baking dish.  Top with ¼ c. melted butter and crushed corn flake crumbs.  Bake 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Serves 12

Italian Green Beans- Emily Songy

green beans
1 pint grape tomatoes
fresh basil
italian bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
6 large balls of fresh water mozzarella
olive oil fresh grated romano cheese

Blanch green beans. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper to a casserole dish. Cover wil olive oil.
Drain green beans and add to tomato mixture along with bread crumbs. Slice mozzarella and cover tomato green bean mixture. Top with even more bread crumbs and fresh grated romano cheese. Bake uncovered for 30-40min at 375 degrees.

Chocolate Chip Cookies- Karen McCallum

Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts- Kellie Ferro

Homemade Pies! Pecan - Alexandra Smith Pumpkin- Casey Laine

Laine Family Pumpkin Pie Recipe
1 unbaked Pillsbury pie shell
1 can (15oz) Libby’s pumpkin filling
3/4 cup Carnation evaporated milk
2 eggs (beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of salt

1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Roll out unbaked pie crust (at room temp) over ungreased dish.
3. Combine all ingredients and stir until uniform mixture.
4. Pour into pie shell.
5. Place pie in oven and lower temp to 350F.
6. Bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
7. Cool on pie rack for 2 hours then serve or place in refrigerator.
8. Top with whip cream when served.

Fall Salad- Kayleigh Rust

Dueling Deviled Eggs... Peter Pevoto

Or do you like Luke Thompson's better?

Garlic Feta Pinwheels

Another quick and easy post. I must say, I almost forgot to post today because I have been so busy cooking my first turkey! Dont worry that post will be coming soon… Until then, garlic feta pinwheels. Yup, I even used the garlic in the jar.

You’ll need:

Crescent Rolls

Minced garlic

Feta (I used marinated feta)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Unroll the dough. It will work better if the dough is cold. I left mine out too long and it got kind of soft and harder to work with.

Spread garlic and sprinkle feta all over.

Then roll it back up.

Slice the dough.

I topped them with a little extra feta. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Eat up!

Rosemary Carrots

I wanted to post something festive since its a gameday and all. The best I could come up with is Rosemay Carrots because they are burnt orange. I know I know, carrots, kinda lame right? Well, I must admit this post everyday for a month thing is harder than I thought! Coming up with new ideas and writing about them everyday is a bit of a challenge. Especially on Saturdays. So here goes… this might be the most simple side dish ever.

You’ll need:

Fresh Carrots

Fresh Rosemary

Kosher Salt

Olive Oil

Wash and peel carrots. Then thinly slice.

This might be the easiest side dish ever. Put carrots in skillet. Drizzle with olive oil. Pick off rosemary leaves and put in pan. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Cook on medium to low heat for about 25min. You could cook on a higher heat and speed this up but I was trying to time this to come out same time as the soup. Also, I didnt want the carrots to be over cooked and become too mushy.

I mean seriously, so simple. But so good at the same time. Hook ’em!

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

I made these jalapeño cheddar cornbread muffins to go with Meredith Cranch‘s Dumbo Gumbo. We were celebrating LSU’s victory over Alabama and chicken and sausage gumbo with cornbread seemed just the thing!

This recipe is super easy!


You’ll need:

Cornbread mix (I used two packages of corn kits)
1 and 1/3 cups of milk
2 eggs
Shredded cheddar cheese
Diced jalapeños

** if you use a different cornbread mix the ingredients and baking times may vary. Use the directions on your package**

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the cornbread mix, eggs and milk.


Add a spoonful of jalapeños.


Add a couple handfuls of cheddar cheese.


Mix it all together.


Spray muffin pan generously with nonstick spray. Then put mix into pan.


Top with extra cheddar. Bake for 15min.


They will smell delicious!

Now the jalapeño cheddar cornbread muffins are ready to be paired with Dumbo Gumbo!

Let’s celebrate!

Cranch’s awesome gumbo. I asked her secret… She replied Tony Chachere’s.

Bite Size Caprese Salads

I made these for yet another girls night dinner. Seem to be going to a lot of potlucks lately, so I will be writing about all my foods that are good for sharing. These were a great compliment to all the cheeses, breads and meatballs that everyone brought.

You’ll need:
Fresh mozzarella ( I used mozzarella balls)
Red pepper
Fresh garlic
Spinach or Basil leaves
Balsamic vinegar
Cracked black pepper
Kosher Salt

A few days before, I added some cracked red pepper and minced garlic to the container of fresh mozzarella and let it soak. I wanted to get some extra flavors in the cheese.

I used fresh spinach leaves because my basil that I was planning on using went bad 🙁 so at the last minute I used some dried Italian seasoning in place of the fresh basil.

Half the mozzarella balls.

Place the halved mozzarella and halved tomatoes in the leaf of your choice. This makes a little boat when you insert the the toothpick horizontally. I also made some vertically by putting the tomato on the bottom, flat side down, then stacking the leaf and topping with mozzarella.


Aren’t they pretty?

Now, time to season!

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar then fresh cracked black pepper, Italian seasoning if you want and sprinkle with kosher salt.


Now, the conundrum was how to transport these little morsels… Cupcake pan with lid. BOOM! Problem solved!!


Spicy Italian Dipping Sauce

I wasn’t really sure what to call this yummy concoction, so I’ll take your suggestions. Basically, this what you get when you sit down at an Italian restaurant. I love bread and olive oil with balsamic vinegar and cracked pepper. Adding this pesto-y herb blend really takes it up a notch. I could literally make a meal out this with fresh sourdough bread and a glass of Cabernet. Seriously, what else does a girl need?

You’ll need:
Fresh Italian Parsley
Fresh Sweet Basil
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh garlic
Fresh lemon
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Dried Thyme
Cracked red pepper
Cracked black pepper

Sourdough bread (or whatever you choose as your vehicle of consumption)

Wash and pat dry all your fresh herbs. Chop them up a little, removing the bottom part of the stems from the herbs. For the rosemary, I peeled the leaves off the stem entirely.

Place into your food processor. Squeeze the juice of half of a large lemon in. Add a teaspoon or two of cracked red pepper, depending on how much spice you like. A few shakes of dried thyme, a teaspoon or two of kosher salt and a couple grinds of cracked black pepper.

Blend until your get a good consistency. The natural water in the herbs will make it moist, no need to add extra oil in this step.

Drizzle olive oil over your herb mix and plate with bread. Perfect to serve as an appetizer or if you’re like me… Add a glass of cabernet and call it a meal.

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