Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nefarious but delicious...

Part of my new workout plan includes fattening up all my coworkers so I look smaller. Nefarious, but at least they'll die happy. I've been working all week on the secret Marco-family-recipe chocolate bark, my famous 81-calorie cookies, and finally, Peanut Butter Kiss cookies. These last lovelies are not even remotely healthy, unless you'd like to make the argument that peanut butter contains a lot of healthy fats and proteins. :)

The recipe below is for a triple batch (36 or so cookies) but you can by all means split it into one dozen each and enjoy that way... but your coworkers will never get fat off only a dozen. ;)

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
- 3 cups Smooth Peanut Butter (I've used Jif reduced fat with good results)
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 bag dark chocolate or milk chocolate Hershey kisses

That's right. This has no flour. None at all. Trust me, it'll be okay. I use the confectioner's sugar to stiffen the batter up a bit, the brown sugar for some depth of flavor and the white sugar for some pure sweetness. Now, bust out your hand mixer and beat it to death (1-2 minutes generally works). I refrigerate my dough for about 20-30 minutes just to make it easier to scoop out and less sticky. Place on a greased or lined cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes (you can tell when they're done) in an oven set to 350. When they're done, pull them out and immediately press hershey kiss into the middle. I leave them on the cookie sheet for another 3-5 minutes just to let them settle a bit more.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Without Darkness, You'd Never See the Stars...

As I'm emerging from my weird three-month cocoon of work, grief, love, and life itself - I'm having a hard time "getting back to normal". It occurred to me this morning, that this is my new normal. My husband and I lost a very good friend in Ben, but thank you to Ben for giving me Kate-E, her sister Laura, and so many of his very good friends who have all come together to bond in our grief and in the loss of such an amazing human being. You were never a stranger to Ben, within 5 minutes - you were his friend. We should all be so lucky to have been one.

I am finally halfway through my first month of being uninjured at Crossfit and I have to admit, my thirty year old body is a little rougher around the edges and slower to heal than my twenty year old body. However, I have a beautiful thirty year old soul - and even on the days when my jeans are snug, and running hurts so badly that I want to just stop - I am thankful for it.

The end of the year and the holidays always brings to mind changes and the resolutions of a new year. I've made a few already - I want to run a mile 5 times a week to get over my utter and complete hatred of running. Most importantly, I want to be kind, and warm. I've been working on this one for awhile (thank you again, Ben). I make cookies for my trash guys and package them up and put them out with the cans every Wednesday. Because they are helpful to me, and I want to thank them for it. Some might argue - they're just doing their job. I remember saying when I worked at Dell that you never got kudos for "just doing your job"- but maybe you should. My lovely friend Dana is a stay-at-home mom of two. I give her mental kudos every day, as someone who gets super irritated when my dog gets needy - I absolutely could not do her job. She deserves the kudos and the cookies too. Maybe sometimes we just need to tell people that we admire what they do - or give them a big thank you for making your life better, no matter how they do it.

I've already decided to sign back up for the I Am Crossfit challenge again this year. I was injured halfway through it last year, and though I limped my way through it - I am determined to emerge victorious this year. I will be running, and finish with my arms in the air and my head held high - proud of DOING something I wasn't even sure i THOUGHT I could do.

A lesson for life - half of it is just showing up and being there.

Friday, October 22, 2010

One year, already?

It's hard to believe that Aaron and I have been married for a year already! We were lucky enough to spend our anniversary in Las Vegas and while my husband won first place in a national shooting competition - I won first place in the "best wife ever" category for sharing our anniversary with a national shooting competition. ;)

My best friend in the whole, wide world lives in Las Vegas and we were lucky enough to have a beautiful dinner with Deb and her awesome boyfriend, Barry at Mon Ami Gabi. My husband and I ignored our pledge to eat well, and instead - just ate like total gluttons. One of my favorites was the apple tarte tatin dessert, which I attempted to replicate with decent success below. I cheated a bit and used a store-bought Pillsbury pie crust, which worked like a charm and saved me the time of making my own!

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 medium Golden Delicious apples, cut into thin 1/8" slices
  • Ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter and sugar together in a 12" ovenproof skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add your thin apple slices and stir to coat them with the melted butter mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon and cook them until the apples have softened slightly and start to take on a light brownish color - 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle them with a bit more cinnamon (depending on how much you like) and arrange them into one layer on the bottom of the pan. Try to make it pretty, this will be the top of your tarte!

Layer your pie crust over the top of the skillet and crimp the sides with a fork. Poke a few 'steam holes' in it and brush with the lightly beaten egg. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pie crust is golden brown!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A little note..

Trying to get back into my blog, but for some reason - the heart hasn't been in it lately. I've been having some health problems and combined with the hole in my world where Ben used to be - it's been difficult to get motivated but I'm getting back.

I've been in the kitchen lately cooking some old favorites, so maybe I'll decide to make a few new ones to post here soon.

Instead, I'll post a 'loldog' in honor of German Shepherd Week and my beloved Mr. Travis... (and yes my beloved Dana, I do see the spelling error in the loldog -they're on purpose in these, I promise!)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

In Mourning

This blog is mourning the loss of my beloved friend and neighbor, Ben Gardner. I tried many of these recipes out on him and his lovely wife Kate-E before they were ever seen here. He was an amazing friend and truly one of the happiest and most loving people I've ever met. My heart hurts for the loss of him and for his wife Kate-E, who my family and I love dearly.

I don't know how long this break will be but I need time to mourn my friend.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Easy Lunch

I recently hosted a bridal shower for a friend of mine, the lovely Steph and made what felt like 40 pounds of this chicken salad. I've pared the recipe down (lest you make 40 pounds too) and decided to share the chicken salad that received rave reviews!

Steph's Chicken Salad
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked and chopped chicken meat
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • optional: 1/8 cup dried cranberries
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, sweet relish and pepper until well combined and set aside. In a larger bowl, mix together everything else :) You just want to toss it all together until combined - not breaking everything into tiny pieces. Pour 3/4 of the mayo mixture onto the chicken mixture and stir together. If this is "wet" enough for you - you can ignore the rest of the mayo mixture or add it all! Serve it by itself or like I did on cute little tea sandwiches and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


As a raging carb-aholic there is little I love more than bread - but I do love a good blueberry muffin. With a cup of coffee in the morning, or really, snagged from the fridge at 2am where I eat it like a thief in the night - these are delish. :)

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use 2% but whatever)
  • 1-1/2 cups blueberries


  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, chilled

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line your muffin tin with liners (use them, you savage). In a small bowl, take 1 tablespoon of flour and toss it together lightly with your blueberries until coated - this will make sure they distribute through the muffins and don't just sit on the bottom of the muffin!

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and well mixed. Add in the eggs, one at a time - beating the batter until the egg is concorporated before adding the next egg, and then add in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, stir together the baking powder, salt and flour and set aside. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture, stirring between each addition until just combined. Fold in your blueberries last and then spoon the mixture into the muffin tin - filling each cup 3/4 the way full.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of flour, brown sugar and the cinnamon. Cut in the butter using a fork until mixture resembles course crumbs and sprinke over the unbaked muffins. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Kitchen Tip #3

As you can tell - I do a lot of baking. I enjoy the look of total pleasure on someone's face when they're scarfing down a cookie or having a bad day, and then I swing by with a brownie. It's enough to make anyone smile. I've been baking since roughly third grade, so I've got a lot of trial/error knowledge to pass along :) Here's one cookie-changing tip.

Whenever you add something like chocolate chips or raisins, etc to a cookie, cake, bread - whatever. Toss it in a little all purpose flour first so they're just coated. This will help "suspend" them in the dessert so you won't end up with a cake with all the chocolate chips at the bottom, or a cookie with no visible chips on top!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

For Jamie :)

This recipe is honor of Jamie Hart - the lovely sister of my lovely best friend, Deb. Being as she currently resides in England with her wonderful wife Tanya- it has been FAR too long since I've seen her! My scone recipe (being decidedly English!) brought her to mind.

Jamie & Tanya's Simple Scones

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, SERIOUSLY cold
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to mix it thoroughly. Next, take your butter and cut it into small cubes and drop into flour. Work it into the mixture with a fork or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add in raisins and toss to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and the egg until smooth. Then, using a fork stir the egg mixture into the flour until a large ball of dough forms. You may need to get your hands in there and press it around the bowl. Trust me, it's enough liquid.

Turn out the dough onto a floured board and pat into an 8 inch circle. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar and use a super sharp knife to cut the dough into 8 triangles. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 7 minutes before eating. It'll be difficult but at least you won't burn your tastebuds off!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Taco Time!

Tacos. I love them. We make them a lot at our place, and I got tired of buying taco seasoning when I was sure I could make it. One day, I was forced into trying it when I was mid-taco making and realized - no taco seasoning. Doh! I stumbled on this recipe and it's divine! Make extra and keep it around for your own taco emergencies ;)

Taco Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin

Optional: for added heat, add in 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

Mix together. Voila! Taco seasoning!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cool Drink in the Hot Summer

Who doesn't love a little Sangria? Like a boozy adult-version of fruit punch, it's the perfect party drink for the summer time. A hot grill and a cool Sangria - and you're well on your way to the perfect gathering.

Classic Sangria

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 orange
  • 1.5 cups white rum
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 bottle dry red wine (like Blackberry Merlot)
  • 1 cup pulp-free orange juice

Cut the lemon, lime and orange into thin rounds and place into a medium sized bowl or shallow baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the rum and the sugar and pour over the fruit. Let it "marinate" for two hours in the fridge before pouring into a glass pitcher. Mash the fruit up a bit with a wooden spoon, then pour the orange juice and the wine over the top of the fruit and stir.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back to the Pork!

Every recipe seems to mention my husband, but he's my target market on cooking. :) In all likelihood, Mr. Travis might end up with the pork bone, provided it's large enough and I've washed the sauce off :) A meal for both my guys!

Pork Chops in Mustard Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 (1" thick) pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (i use low sodium!)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the vegetable oil.

In a medium bowl, combine the kosher salt, 1 tablespoon ground mustard, pepper and flour. Whisk together. Dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture. Brown the chops for 4 minutes on each side. Combine the rest of the ingredients in another bowl and pour over the chops and cook for about 15 minutes, lowering the heat to medium-low.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shellfish alert!

Even though I am allergic to (and a hater of) shellfish, I find myself constantly making it for my husband and our friends, because they love it! Though, I was once intimidated by them and afraid of overcooking them - I'm quite in my element now. Here's an easy little appetizer for you and your friends.

Grilled Shrimp

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons, hot sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, deveined & peeled with tails on

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pour about 3/4th of the marinade into a large Ziploc bag with the shrimp. Toss the bag around to coat the shrimp and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (2 is better!)

Preheat your grill on medium-low heat. Remove the shrimp from the bag and skewer the shrimp long-ways (through the tail and head, so they're "laying" on the grill). Make sure to throw away the marinade from the bag and only use the "clean" marinade. Oil the grates on the grill (I use olive oil on a paper towel) and cook the shrimp for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked and baste it with the reserve marinade while grilling.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Madeleines, how do I love thee...

For some reason, these cookies remind me of Sharon Chen. Maybe it's just anything French? I learned the recipe when my old roommate professed a love for these cookies. I have to admit - she was right. They're delicious and the perfect afternoon snack with a good cup of coffee.

Madeleine Cookies
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar (plus more for decoration)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and butter and flour your madeleine molds (if you have them) and set aside. In a microwave, melt the butter for 20 seconds and set aside to cool. In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanila, and salt until light and fluffy. With your beaters on medium, add in the sugar, and beat constantly for 5 minutes. You want it to be light and fluffy.

Gently add the flour into the mixture, 1/4 cup at a time and fold into mixture - keeping the air in. Add the lemon zest and butter in by folding with a spatula. Immediately spoon the batter into your buttered molds (you can also use a cupcake tin though, they won't be true madeleines!). The batter will be a little bit over the top of the molds - this is okay!

Bake for 13-15 minutes. They should be lightly browned and springy. Wait 5 minutes, then turn the cookies out onto a rack and sprinkle with some additional sugar.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spicy Corn Salad

Summertime was my favorite time growing up, as I'm sure it is for any kid. Living in Texas, well - not so much my favorite anymore. But summertime in California, is amazing. It reminds me of beach bonfires, kabobs on the grill and the smell of the ocean in the air. Since we are a bbq family, I spend a lot of time experimenting with sides. Here's one of our favorites.

Spicy Corn Salad

  • 8 ears of corn, husked
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
  • 2 chipotle peppers, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1.5 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Preheat your grill to medium. Lay the corn on the grill and cook for 12 minutes, turning frequently to avoid burning. Remove the corn from the grill and set aside to let cool. Once cool, take a knife and remove all the kernels into a large bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients to the corn and toss to combine.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sweet n' Spicy BBQ Sauce

I'm so excited to share this new BBQ sauce recipe. I stumbled on it today, and made it and it was a total winner! It's sweeter than the one I normally make - but I found I really liked it.

Sweet n' Spicy BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2.25 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dark molasses
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Whiskey
  • 2.5 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground chile powder
Preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat the vegetable oil, and add minced onion, cooking 5 minutes or until translucent. After the onion has cooked, add the tomato paste, water, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and honey and stir until combined. Then, add in all the spices and whisk together. Turn the heat up until the mixture boils, and then turn the heat down to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for 1.5 hours - stirring randomly with the whisk to check the thickness of the sauce. When the sauce is thick enough for you - turn the burner off and move the sauce off the burner to cool.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cake Truffles!

A large craze in Texas at the moment is cake truffles... or really, let's be honest - they're called cake balls. But calling them this in mixed company will result in your husband/male friends/significant others/brothers/whatever giggling like 3 year old girls. I was surprised at how easy and delicious they are to make - all you really need is cake mix, frosting, and chocolate chips. (well, and whatever the cake mix calls for!)

Cake Truffles a la Kelly
  • Yellow cake mix (prepared according to package directions)
  • Whipped vanilla frosting
  • Chocolate chips

Bake the cake according to the package directions. Pull it out of the oven and set it aside to cool. After about 30 minutes, cut the cake into little slices and one-by-one drop them into a large mixing bowl and shred with a fork until it dissolves into tiny crums. Continue until you've crumbled the entire cake. Next, add the entire container of frosting and stir until combined.

Place the mix into the fridge for 30 minutes and use a 1" cookie scoop (or just measure it with your hands and wing it!) to scoop out even-sized portions onto wax paper. When you've scooped them all out, slide the sheet back into the freezer if you can. Next, melt chocolate chips on a double boiler. When 90% of the chips have melted, pull the glass bowl off and finish mixing until the chips are all melted. One by one, drop the cooled scoops of cake into the melted chocolate and then set on wax paper to harden.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cream Cheese Frosting

For all of you who thought cream cheese was just for bagels - this post is for you! Why is it that we always drool at the thought of Cream Cheese Frosting but then we reach for a can of premade frosting at the first hint of baking? Here's my recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting - it's worth it!

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 - 8 ounce packages of cream cheese frosting (Don't you dare get lowfat!)

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 2 cups, sifted confectioner's sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. (You can use a mixer on medium or just put it in your stand mixer bowl). Next, mix in vanilla until combined. Slowly add in the confectioner's sugar about a half cup at a time until completely combined. Store in refrigerator!

See? Now that wasn't so hard!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I love coffee. (Points to my mom who told me when I was grossed out by it at 12, that one day I too, would drink it.) I have a favorite memory of Rome, sitting at a little cafe, drinking a wonderfully made cappuccino and dunking an almond biscotti in between sips. This always reminds me of that gorgeous day, in the second home of my heart, Italy.

Almond Biscotti

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped and toasted

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 egg white

  • Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. In a small separate bowl, combine vanilla, almond extract, 2 eggs, and egg white. Mix together and then combine with flour mixture. Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead gently 8 times. Shape the dough into a large roll. Place dough onto a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray, and then flatten the roll down to 1" thick. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove and let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Decrease oven heat to 325 degrees, and slice the cooling dough on a diagonal - with slices about 1/2" thick. Place the slices about an inch apart on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the cookies over and bake for another 10 minutes. They'll look a bit soft in the center, but they will harden as they cool.

Let them cool and then enjoy with your favorite cup of coffee :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quick Fixes

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. Who doesn't love them? But sometimes... you can get a little sick of them. They're usually on sale so I've got a few "quick fix" recipes to spin these into something you'll barely recognize!

1. Garlic twists! Take the Crescent Rolls out of the tin and lay them out flat. Sprinkle the dough with garlic and onion powder (you dont want to coat these! Use 1 teaspoon of each and you should be good) Take a knife or a pizza cutter and cut the dough into long 1/2" thin strips. Take two strips and twist them together and lay on a sheet pan. Cook at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden brown.

2. Pigs in a Blanket, Mom style! My mom always made pigs in a blanket this way, so here's my take on it. Use cocktail sausages (all beef is best, but whatever works!). Roll the crescent rolls out on a flat surface and cut each "triangle" into three pieces. Wrap each cocktail sausage in one piece of crescent roll and set on a greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until crescent roll is light brown. Serve with yellow mustard - delish!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chicago or Bust!

The hubs and I are headed to Chicago for this glorious 4th of July weekend! I've never been but I'm looking forward to the Cubs game we've got planned, the relative/friend visits we've got going... I have to admit.. I am most excited about some Chicago deep dish pizza!

In the spirit of that - Here's a recipe for Deep Dish pizza in your own home. It may not be Gino's but if you can't hop on a plane - it'll tide you over!

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

  • 2 teaspoons white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dry active yeast

  • 3 cups unbleached flour, divided

  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

  • 1.5 teaspoons salt

  • 1.5 cups warm water (110 degrees)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/4 cup spicy Italian sausage, browned and drained

  • 9 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

  • 1/8 cup chopped green bell pepper

  • 1/3 cup diced pepperoni

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce


In a small bowl, dissolve sugar in 1 cup warm water. In a separate bowl, combine yeast, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 cup warm water. Combine the two bowls , mix together and set aside for 20 minutes. In yet another bowl (hello dishwasher!), combine the remaining 2.5 cups of flour, cornmeal and salt. Remove 1/2 the mixture into yet another bowl (or really, even a big plastic Ziploc bag will work here!). Add 1 cup of sugar into the half of the mixture into the bowl. Add the Ziploc mixture back in and mix all together. Add yeast mixture in and stir until combined. Turn the dough out onto a workspace coated with flour and knead until the dough is stretchy - about 8 to 10 minutes. Pour some olive oil into a large bowl and use your hands to coat the sides of the bowl with the oil. Turn the dough out into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

The Good Stuff

In a gigantic bowl, combine the bell peppers, onions, pepperoni, sausage, cheeses, oregano and garlic. Mix it all together.

Put It All Together

Remove half the dough from the bowl and press the dough into a lightly greased deep dish pan (I use a high sided Springform pan). You want to make sure that the dough is going up the sides of the pan and is pressed into the pan. Bake in the 450 degree oven for 4-5 minutes. Add all the 'good stuff' in and cover with the second crust. Make sure that you press the top and bottom crusts together to form a seal. Add a few slits in the top crust to allow the steam to vent, top with tomato sauce and bake for 45 minutes on the lower rack of your oven. Set it aside for 5 minutes and then dig in like crazy!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pulled Pork Sandwiches!

This week has been really stressful for me, so instead of baking a ton of desserts and eating them all - I'm just prepping my food early and trying to relax! Recipes like this one really satisfy and leave me with some time to relax with a glass/bottle of wine. :)

Pulled Pork in a Slow Cooker

- One 14 ounce can of reduced-sodium beef broth

- 2lbs of boneless pork ribs

- 18 ounce bottle of bbq sauce (I've tried everything from Chipotle-Jalapeno to Sweet Hickory - they all work! Just pick your favorite!)

Add can of beef broth to the slow cooker and place the pork ribs inside. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours. Whenever you get home, remove the boneless ribs and shred with two forks, pulling in opposite directions. Trust me, it'll work. Add the meat into a bowl and combine with BBQ sauce. Stir until coated and combined. Heap it onto a sourdough roll and go to town! :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pasta Salad!

My husband has a deep love of pasta salad. I love to make a big batch of it and just let him chip away at it all week long :) Perfect for those training days when he's gone from the house for 10 hours - he can just pack it in a cooler and go!

Pasta Salad

  • One package fusilini (spiral) pasta - whole wheat or regular is fine!

  • 3 cups of cherry tomatoes - cut in half

  • 1/2 lb. of provolone cheese, cubed

  • 10 ounce can of black olives, drained

  • 8 ounces of Italian dressing

  • 1/2lb of salami, cubed

  • 1/2lb pepperoni - sliced and halved

  • 1 jar, roasted red bell peppers (drained and chopped)

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package until just al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside to let it cool off. Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Add pasta and toss until coated with dressing and mixed with ingredients. It's ready to serve but it only gets better with time to hang out and let the flavors meld!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Homemade Lemonade

Lemonade is easier than you think. No creepy Crystal Light packets - just sugar and deliciousness. That being said - this drink has 3 ingredients and 1 of them is pure sugar. Don't let your kids have 10 cups or you'll be sending me hate mail.

Summertime Lemonade

- 8 cups water

- 1 3/4 cups white sugar

- 1 1/2 cups lemon juice

If you have ten minutes before your party - here's the super fast way to do it. Put the sugar and 1 cup of the water into a large microwave-safe bowl. Stir together and nuke it in the microwave for 1 minute. Pour into pitcher, adding lots of ice, the rest of the water and the lemon juice. Stir like mad. Lemonade.

If you want to make 100% sure it's perfect: Mix 1 cup of the water and the sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it boils and the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool. When cooled off, mix with the rest of the water and the lemon juice and serve over ice!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Super Special Post Today

Today's a wonderful day in Austin, Texas. My lovely friend and former co-worker Sharon (of Sharonlovesthis blogger fame) is tying the knot with her wonderful beau, Kyle. In celebration of this momentous event - let them eat cake!

Sharon & Kyle's Chocolate Cake (formerly world's best chocolate cake)

- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups white sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Using a baking spray or butter/flour, grease 2 - 9 inch cake pans and line the bottom of them with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Dig out a "well" in the center of the dry mixture and add the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract. Mix together well. (Your batter should be soupy and thin!).

Pour the batter evenly into both pans and bake for 30-40 minutes or until you insert a toothpick in the middle of the cakes and it comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

This is the hard part. I shamelessly admit that I use Betty Crocker Whipped Milk Chocolate Frosting for this. That's right. Not from scratch but I swear, it's DELICIOUS.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Green Goddess

If you've eaten so many salads, you're starting to feel like a bunny - change up your dressings and toppings. It's an amazing way to get a few more green meals before you head for the pizza place. Green goddess dressing is a bit of a throw back to my parents' age but as always, they were right. (To make it truly authentic - you need to add two teaspoons of anchovy paste...but I just can't do it!)

Green Goddess Dressing

- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (6 to 7 scallions)
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cloves minced chopped garlic
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup sour cream

Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Next, add the sour cream and process just until blended. Refrigerate for 15 minutes and serve. (You can also store this in your fridge cold, and it should last up to two weeks)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I believe I've mentioned that it's hotter than Cristiano Ronaldo in spandex in Texas at the moment. Times like these, it's hard for even me to want to get into the kitchen and cook anything. We're eating a lot of BBQ and salads at the moment. Here's a new salad recipe to add to your rotation!

Cranberry-Pear Salad (feeds 6-8)

- 12 cups torn spring salad lettuce mix
- 1/2 cup, chopped walnuts
- 3 medium pears, sliced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
- 1/3 cup apricot nectar
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons sugar

In a small skillet, melt the sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. When sugar liquefies, add the walnuts and toss to coat. Immediately pour the walnuts out on a plate to cool and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the nectar, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper until combined and set aside. In a large bowl, toss together the cooled walnuts, salad greens, pears, dried cranberries, and blue cheese. Drizzle with half the dressing and toss together. Set the dressing out so your guests can add more - it's ready to serve!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Apologies again for the blog break. They're not intentional. Life just catches up with me! Onto the recipes!

Living in Texas gives me a new appreciation for sweat. Summer here is like living on the surface of the sun, perhaps next to a lake, or really, in Florida. Being a SoCal girl at heart, humidity slays me. Short of spending my life's fortune at my favorite yogurt shop, Tomunchi - I make sorbet.

God-It's-Hot Orange Sorbet

- 2.5 cups of water

- 1 cup granulated sugar

- 2 orange rind pieces

- 2 2/3 cups of fresh orange juice (no pulp!)

- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it boils. Add the orange strips to the pan and stir. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Retrieve orange pieces with a spoon and discard. (You can also strain this in a sieve if you're an overachiever). Set the mixture aside to cool.

Add orange juice and lemon juice to cooled sugar mixture and mix WELL. Add the mixture to either a) the ice cream container of the ice cream maker you registered for when you got married and never use or b) a small glass pan (you need something freezer safe!). Put in freezer for one extremely-long hour and then serve!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Kitchen Tip #2

A second kitchen tip for your cooking pleasure! I bake a lot of cookies, but my chocolate chip cookies have been infamous among my friends for well, almost 15 years. One of my cookie tips-

Keep everything cold. Start by placing your cookie sheets in the freezer. Once your dough is prepared, place the entire bowl of dough into the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

In between batches, keep your cookie dough in the refrigerator. This will keep the edges from overcooking and burning. This happens because your cookie dough starts spreading and baking the moment it hits the hot pan - by cooling your dough and your cookie sheets, you'll avoid this.

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A celebration!

Happy Birthday to my lovely sister, who we will say is 25 again today :) Since my sister would probably carjack a nun for some cheesecake, in celebration of her birthday - that's today's recipe.

Cheesecake Tips:

1. Beat in all the ingredients on LOW speed. You do not want to incorporate air - it will make the cake crack when baking.
2. Do not overbeat the mixture. This will also cause cracking.
3. When checking during baking, you want the cheesecake to look "wet" and wobble a little bit if you shake the pan. Don't overbake!

Cheesecake for Courtney

  • 2 cups of Graham Cracker crumbs (place the crackers in the food processor and process until tiny crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar


  • 4 - 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature (use full fat! not a spot for shortcuts!)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons, all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then , grease (or use Pam Baking Spray) a 9" Springform pan and place the pan on a cookie sheet and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter for the crust. Mix together with a spatula, until combined. Turn the mixture out into the bottom of the Springform pan and press firmly into the bottom of the pan. Cover and refrigerate.

In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar and flour and beat on low speed until just combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and incorporate all the ingredients! Next, add the lemon zest, whipping cream, and vanilla and beat on low until incorporated. Take the chilled crust from the refrigerator and pour the cream cheese mixture on top. Place the Springform pan on the cookie sheet and place it into the oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 250 degrees and bake for another 90 minutes until the cheesecake is mostly firm - but still wobbly. Remove from the oven and place on wire rack. After cooling, place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours (or overnight is best!). When you're ready to serve, slide a spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen the crust from the sides of the pan. :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No Orange Powder

I am a firm believer that food is love. You can show your love for your family, your friends, your coworkers, neighbors, etc - all through the art of food. It doesn't have to be Five Star cuisine, anything you put your time and effort into is showing your love. If you do want to go a little crazy with the effort - this just might be the dish for you.

Macaroni and Cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • 10 cups of water
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Cheddar cheese
  • freshly ground pepper (black or white - either works!)
  • 3 cups of elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worchestire sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 cup toasted plain bread crumbs

In a large pot, boil ten cups of water. When water is boiling, add a handful of kosher salt. Next, add the elbow macaroni and let it cook until al dente (the pasta shouldn't crunch, but should feel firm when you bite into it). Save 1 cup of the cooking water, strain the pasta and set aside.

In a large saucepan, add the cream, garlic cloves, and the 1 cup of cooking water and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Once at a simmer, add salt, pepper, mustard, and Gruyere cheese. Stir together the cheese and cream mixture constantly until combined together. Next, add both the Parmesan and Cheddar cheeses, again stirring until combined and the cheeses are melted and the mixture is at a simmer. Add in the Worchestire sauce and hot sauce, and stir until combined.

Next, remove the cloves of garlic and add in the cooled macaroni and stir carefully until the macaroni is coated with the cream and cheese mixture. Turn off the stove and let the mixture sit so the flavors meld together. Butter the sides of a baking dish (at least 9x13") and pour the macaroni mixture into the buttered dish and top with the toasted bread crumbs. (and any extra Parmesan that you might want to grate on top..)

Place the dish into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes and then serve!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kitchen Tip #1

I've been bombarding you all with recipes, but did you know more than just recipes lives inside this cook's brain? I've learned a lot of tips over the years from Food Network, other cooks, my Gram, etc etc. Here's a tip for you.

Tired of onions making you cry? Stick your onion in the freezer for 10-15 minutes (bigger onion, more time) before you chop it up. You won't be covered in the juicy onion while you're chopping, or sobbing like The Notebook is on while you're trying to cook. :)

Happy chopping!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Better Potato Salad? Just add Bacon!

I love bacon. It's a simple but true fact that I literally eat it daily. Crunched on top of salads, crumbled into my omelets, sometimes stolen right out of the pan as I'm cooking it. It's my bacon-given right as the chef - or so I tell my husband as I steal it all. :) Here's a new twist on a summertime classic - potato salad. Just add the bacon!

Creamy Bacon Potato Salad

  • 5 hardboiled eggs*
  • 4 slices crispy bacon (i prefer the center cut!)
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • 3 stalks of celery, minced
  • 2 pounds of small red potatoes
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper

Place the potatoes in a large pot with enough water to just cover the potatoes completely. Bring them to a boil, cook for 20 minutes and then drain them and let them cool. Peel the eggs, place them in a large bowl and mash them to little bits with a fork. Stir in the celery, mustard, mayo, salt and pepper. When combined, crumble 3 pieces of the crispy bacon into the mayo mixture and set aside.

Chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and stir into the mayo mixture until well coated. Garnish with the rest of the bacon crumbled on top with the parsley. Best cool or at room temperature - let it sit for a bit so the flavors can combine!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Party Punch

Sure, you can drag out the coolers of beer but I find that every great party has a signature cocktail. During the warm WARM WARM summer months in lovely Texas, I've got the perfect party drink - with or without the "sauce".

Chill Out Punch
  • 1 cup superfine or granulated sugar
  • 2 packages of Strawberry Jello mix (sugar free or regular)
  • 1 - 46 ounce can of pineapple juice (use the real thing!)
  • 1 quart of no-pulp orange juice
  • 2/3 cup lemon or lime juice (they both taste great)
  • 2 -2 liter bottles of Sprite Zero at room temperature
  • 6 cups of drinking water

In a large saucepan, combine the strawberry jello packages, water, and sugar. Stir until combined over high heat until the mixture boils. Let it boil for three minutes before turning off the heat and removing the pan from the hot burner. Stir in the pineapple, orange, and lemon or lime juice and stir together. Let it cool and divide it into two separate containers and then freeze for at least 4 hours. When you're ready to serve it, turn one frozen container out into a punch bowl and then pour 1 liter of Sprite Zero directly over the frozen block. When it turns slushy, stir the contents together and enjoy!

To make this beverage a bit more adult, simply add in a cup..or two..or three of vodka. It won't change the flavor but if you end up looking for your pants in the morning, it isn't my fault.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What says Memorial Day Weekend like a BBQ?

I love to BBQ. Before Mr. Man's parents bought us a grill as a birthday present - I was the lone griller in the house. I weilded the grill tongs like a master, a black belt in proper BBQ etiquette. My dear husband apparently became the master griller the second we bought the grill, but I still marinade, chop, butterfly, and flip my way to burger freedom. To me, meat on the grill with your friends - it doesn't get any better.

Simple Burgers

  • 1lb. ground chuck beef (at least 10% fat - you NEED the fat!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Mix the spices into the burgers with your hands without overmixing! You want to loosely divide the meat into four burgers (or eight sliders!) that are roughly the same size so they will grill in the same amount of time. Only press the meat together so it forms a burger (do not pack it like a snowball or it will be rough and dry!). Grill on medium heat, flipping only once!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


There are few things in life better than a good pancake. Here in Austin, we have the wonder of Kerbey Lane who serves the world's most amazing pancakes (and queso but that's another recipe). When I'm not in the mood to roll my crazy haired, sleep-faced self out of bed and go fight the bible beaters for my pancakes - I make these at home.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- Cooking spray
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons butter

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.

Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, egg, and egg white. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Heat a nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle. Turn pancakes over when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Devour with syrup and butter, glaring repeatedly at anyone who you think is taking your share. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I heart breakfast.

I do love breakfast. If I happen to wake up at 1pm - I still want breakfast. I simply cannot imagine LUNCH as the first meal of the day. Why on earth would I want a salad when I could have BREAKFAST? :) If you share my love of the A.M. meals - I've got a doozy for you. Sour Cream Coffee Cake. It's like dessert and breakfast all in one!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

- 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (divided)
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, divided
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 (8-ounce) carton light sour cream
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take a dry baking sheet and sprinkle the oats out on it, and bake until the oats are light brown - usually about 5-6 minutes.

Coat a 9" springform pan with baking spray and set aside. Reserve 1/4 cup oats and set aside. Place remaining oats in a food processor; process 4 seconds or until finely ground. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Whisk together processed oats, flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/3 cup butter and beat with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, and then vanilla and beat until combined. Next, add the flour mixture & sour cream into the sugar mixture in 2-3 separate additions, alternating between adding the flour and sour cream. (Start and end with flour!) Place batter in prepared pan (it's okay for it to be a little lumpy).

Combine remaining 1/4 cup oats, remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until well blended. Sprinkle top of batter evenly with nut mixture. Bake at 350° for 38 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, top is golden, and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes; remove from pan and devour. :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Most Important Meal of the Day

I love breakfast. Mainly pancakes, but since I've been trying to low carb it a bit - our household's become huge fans of the frittata. In case you too are trying to surprise your out-of-town friends with just how darn skinny you've gotten in their absence - I present my Ham and Asparagus Frittata. So darn delicious, you'll be doubly thrilled that it helps you get into your skinny jeans.

Ham and Asparagus Frittata

- 2/3 cup chopped 33%-less-sodium ham
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded low-fat Jarlsberg cheese (mmm)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 large egg whites
- 2 large eggs
- Cooking spray
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
- 1/2 cup (1-inch) slices asparagus
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat your broiler and wrap the handle of your pan in foil.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together your eggs, egg whites, ham, cheese, black pepper and salt. Then heat your skillet (I use a 9" pan) over medium heat and coat it with cooking spray like you're hosing out a fire. Do you want all your hard work stuff to the pan?

Add in the bell pepper, onion and asparagus and saute for 3-4 minutes until everything is softened and delicious. Add in your egg mixture and cook, covered for about 3-4 minutes or until it's just a little jiggly and not quite set. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning on top. Place your pan (foil covered handle and all!) into the broiler for 2-3 minutes. This moves REALLY fast, so don't walk away!

Remove it from the broiler when the eggs have set and cut into four wedges. Let it cool a bit and enjoy! :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spicy and delicious!

My husband is Jew-ish. No, that's not a typo. Technically, he was raised Jewish but in time, his kosher ways have relaxed and well, he loves the pork. Bacon especially, but a good pork cutlet will not go to waste with this man around. I like to change it up a little but here's my recipe for Spicy Italian Pork Cutlets. I don't find them to be especially spicy, but if you do - feel free to nix the red pepper flakes. It'll still be delicious!

Spicy Italian Pork Cutlets

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 boneless pork cutlets (or chops, beaten to about 1/3" thick)

  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 can, 14oz fire roasted dice tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried sage

  • 3 tablespoons, minced Italian parsley

  • 1/4 cup dry white whine

  • 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth

  • salt and pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a large skillet, heat up two tablespoons on the olive oil. Salt and pepper the cutlets, and place them into the pan - searing on both sides before removing and setting aside on a paper towel. Add the rest of the oil in the pan, and saute the garlic for about 20-30 seconds before adding in the rest of the ingredients and stirring together. Let this cook for about 3-4 minutes or until it thickens into more of a sauce.

Add the cutlets back into the sauce, and continue cooking for 5-7 minutes or until done. Pork dries out quickly so be careful! Plate up the pork cutlet and serve with the tomato sauce over the top of it, with a bit more of the minced parsley for decoration. You're done!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Yes, you can make pudding from a box with some milk - but no one's ever going to write sonnets to your existence with that sort of effort. Yes, the way to your friend's hearts (and your loved ones too) is solely through the stomach. Start with this pudding. I personally hate whipped cream but it's a nice touch if you like it. Don't you dare use the stuff in a jar after all this effort!

Chocolate Pudding
  • 2 cups whole milk (yeah, i know.)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 4 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream

Start by heating 1 1/2 cups of the milk, all the sugar, and all the cocoa over medium high heat until it reaches a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, pour the remainder of the milk and add the cornstarch, salt, egg yolks and vanilla and whisk together. Next, temper the cornstarch mixture by SLOWLY adding the hot milk and whisking. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat whisking constantly until the pudding has come to a full boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low to a simmer, and keep whisking for 2-3 minutes until the pudding thickens.

Pour the pudding into 5-6 small cups and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight until set.

If you're a whipped cream loving heathen - pour the whipped cream into a chilled bowl and starting on low, use a hand mixer and beat the whipped cream until soft peaks form and then stop immediately - if you overbeat it, it will become grainy. It's done! Enjoy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's all Greek to me!

I think Greece is astonishingly beautiful and had the flight been shorter - would have been a prime contender for our honeymoon. The white buildings against the beautiful blue ocean just evoke a feeling of peace and the sun warming your skin. So, take a bowl of this relaxing salad and sit outside and it'll just be our little secret that we're not in Greece mkay?

Greek Salad

  • 1 hothouse/English cucumber - unpeeled, and sliced 1/4" thick

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/2 red onion, diced

  • 8 ounces feta cheese, diced

  • 1/2 cup pitted calamata olives (optional if you're a hater like me!)


  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cut all the vegetables and add to mixing bowl. In smaller bowl, whisk together garlic, oregano, mustard, salt, pepper, and vinegar together until combined. Still whisking, slowly add in the olive oil until thoroughly combined. Pour over the vegetables and toss lightly to coat. Add in olives and feta and toss gently until combined. Set aside for 30-45 minutes until flavors have combined. (Best served at room temp!)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Summertime salads

I tend to eat healthier in the summertime (aside from my love of ice cream), so over the years I've accumulated many recipes for summertime salads. This spicy corn salad is zesty and refreshing all in one!

Spicy Corn Salad

  • 1 -14 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups, frozen corn
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce (Tabasco or Texas Pete both work well!)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Simply mix everything together and the bowl and let it sit for at least 15 minutes for all the ingredients and flavors to blend together. Tastes delicious chilled or room temperature.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

World's Best Carrot Cake!

  • Ever since Aaron and I had the most delicious Kerbey Lane Carrot Cake - we've been pretty addicted. Never a huge carrot cake fan, I don't know about the sudden addiction to carrot cake but in case you have it too - try this one :)

    The World's Most Delicious Carrot Cake
  • Unsalted butter to grease the pan
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 12 ounces grated carrots
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 ounces of plain yogurt
  • 6 ounces of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup, chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9" round and 3" deep cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and set it aside. Put the carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Put the flour, baking power, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until well-coated.

In the bowl of the food processor, combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt. Mix until combined and while running, drizzle in vegetable oil. Pour sugar mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Add walnuts Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, before turning the cake out onto a rack and letting it cool completely.

While cooling - make the cream cheese frosting below!

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter and mix on medium until just blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in batches and beat until smooth. Put the frosting in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before using.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Time for a little dessert...

I love dessert. It's a fact of life that I can't escape. I love the sweets. In the summertime, I love to take advantage of the fresh fruit and make delicious crumbles that melt in your mouth and enhhance the flavors of the summer. Here's one of my favorites!

Peach and Strawberry Crumble


  • 1 pound of medium strawberries, tops removed & cut in half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds yellow peaches - peeled, pitted & sliced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar


  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour (whole wheat works well too!)
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled & cut into cubes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 x 8 glass baking dish and set it aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and flour until smooht. Add the strawberries, peaches, and brown sugar. Gently toss until the fruit is coated and then pour the fruit mixture in the prepared pan.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, oats, almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pulse until mixed and then add the butter. Pulse until the butter is about the size of peas. Sprinkle the mixture over the filling and bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. (may I suggest some nice vanilla ice cream?)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lemon cookies

My husband loves all things lemon. Which I find strange and slightly freakish but I use to my advantage when I feel like baking but can't be trusted not to eat the final results. For this, we have lemon cookies. They're a basic variation on sugar cookies but with a boatload of mouth-delighting lemony goodness.

Lemon Cookies

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup of butter (room temp or softened in the microwave)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons, finely grated lemon peel

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together 1 cup of the sugar and the melted butter until combined. Add in the egg, lemon juice, and zest and mix together until just combined. Next, gradually blend in the flour mixture.

Take out two piece of waxed paper and spoon half the dough onto each. Roll into a log with the paper and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (I did two and it worked perfectly!)

After your dough has firmed up, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap 1 log of your cookie dough and cut into slices about 1/4" thick. Sprinkle with a little of the remaining sugar and place onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until LIGHTLY brown around the edges.

Enjoy! (or let your husband ;) )

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Takeout at Home

I love P.F. Chang's. I know, it's a chain restaurant but it can't be helped. One of my favorite is their lettuce wraps (not as great as their crispy green beans but they're darn close). Here's my take on their lettuce wraps for when I want to eat dinner at home in my pajamas and be lazy. :)

Kelly's Lettuce Wraps
- 8 dried Shiitake mushrooms
- 2 teaspoons cooking sherry
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- salt and pepper
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1-1.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cut into bite-size pieces
- 8 ounce can of bamboo shoots, chopped up
- 1 package of Chinese cellophane rice noodles, cooked
- Iceberg lettuce leaves

Lettuce Wrap "Sauce"
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (reduced sodium is great!)
- 1 tablespoon cooking sherry
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1.5 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar

Pour boiling water over dried mushrooms to rehydrate - just enough to cover. Let them soak for roughly 25-30 minutes and then drain. Remove the stems and chop up mushrooms.

In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce until combined and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the sherry, water, soy sauce, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and chicken. Stir together until chicken is well coated with mixture.

Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of oil. After the oil gets hots, add the chicken mixture. Fry quickly for about 3 minutes, or til chicken is no longer pink. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Remove chicken.

To the same skillet, add 2 more tablespoons of oil. Add the fresh ginger, garlic, green onions, and optional chilies, if desired. Fry quickly for 45-60 seconds, or til garlic is a golden color. Do not overcook garlic, or it will taste bitter. Add the dried mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Fry quickly for about 2 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet and add the sauce ingredients. Cook until the sauce thickens.

Break the cooked cellophane noodles into small pieces. Spread the noodles onto the bottom of a platter. Pour the chicken mixture on top of the noodles and spoon into your lettuce leaves. Devour.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I apologize for the mini-break I took from posting. Work, garage sale, new car for the hubs, etc sort of took over for a bit! But I'm back with my recipe for Tomatillo Salsa. I'm not generally a fan of the green stuff (guac, tomatillo,etc) but this one with it's hint of spice has got me hooked. I use it sometimes in my Green Chile Chicken enchiladas... but sometimes I just shovel it with a chip.

Tomatillo Salsa

  • 1 small white onion

  • 10 tomatillos (husked)

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (and deseeded if you want)

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

  • salt and pepper to taste

In a pan, cover the tomatillos with water and cook over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Lower heat to medium, and simmer until tomatillos soften and begin to burst - about 10 minutes.

Drain tomatillos and place in a food processor (or blender, if you don't own a food processor that will fit them all!) with onion, garlic, jalapenos, cilantro, salt and pepper. Blend until it's how you want it - I blend until almost entirely smooth.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Real Reason I moved to Texas

I love Shiner Bock. It's 30% of the reason I moved here - with the other remaining 70% going to the hotness that is my dear husband. ;) One of my favorite things in the world is Shiner Bock Beer Bread. When you add in my special honey butter, it's better than finding the perfect shoes, in your size, on sale and then what? You get another 40% off? It's that good.

Shiner Bock Beer Bread

  • 2.5 cups self rising flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 12 ounces of Shiner Bock
  • 1/4 cup, melted butter

Honey Butter

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup honey

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease and flour a 9"x5" baking pan. In a large bowl, mix together the self-rising flour, all purpose flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, onion powder, and italian seasoning until combined. Next, pour in the beer and mix until JUST moistened. Pour into the greased baking dish and top with the melted butter. Bake 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean!

For the honey butter, use room temperature softened butter and mix in the honey until combined. It's easy, and delicious.

Wait anxiously until the bread has cooled off then eat like crazy with honey butter.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Butter Pound Cake

I have to admit, even though I love to bake - I used to eat Sara Lee Pound Cake (delish!) instead of ever making my own.. until I found this recipe. It's delicious. When I'm feeling lazy (read: Mon - Thurs), I might still be tempted to buy the Sara Lee kind, but this one freezes well sooo... :)

Mama's Butter Pound Cake

- 1 cup butter
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups white sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour 1 bundt pan and 1 loaf pan (this dish makes enough batter to make both!). In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and combined. Next, add in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Alternate adding in 1 cup of a flour with 1/4 pint of heavy cream, mixing between until all of the flour and cream have been incorporated. Last, add in the vanilla and lemon extract and mix well. Pour the batter into the two pans until each pan is about 2/3 full.

Bake for 1-1.5 hours or until the cake is lightly browned on top and springs back when you touch it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tasty Adult Beverages

I love a good mojito. McCormick & Schmick's makes a pineapple mojito that makes my adult tastebuds sing. This is my attempt to recreate it, which is dangerously delicious and I recommend alternating with water if you're trying to quench your thirst on a hot summer day. :) These sneak up on you!

Pineapple Mojito

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup*
  • 4 ounces, pineapple juice
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • Ice
  • Shaker

Add mint leaves into a shaker and muddle/smash the living heck out of it. If you do not own a muddler, a wooden spoon is not a horrible substitute. Add ice, rum, simple syrup, lime juice, and pineapple juice. Shake what your mama gave you (and the shaker) until well combined. Strain into a glass with ice - and if you're a bit of a wuss, add a splash of soda water. Or just take it like a man, add a wedge of lime and enjoy.

*Simple syrup is made by combining water and sugar in equal amounts, heating until the sugar dissolves and letting it cool. Make a large amount and keep it on hand.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why My Husband Loves Me, Reason #462

My husband loves fish tacos. Absolutely lives to try them at any restaurant and can often be found wolfing them down with me at Trudy's - my favorite restaurant. While I love fajitas, I worked on learning to make a mean fish taco because he loves them so much, and because our monthly Trudy's bill was starting to resemble our mortgage. Here's my take on them but beware - they're spicy!

Kelly's Kickass Fish Tacos

  • 6 tilapia fillets (4 ounces each), cut into bit sized pieces
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup, finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup, diced red onion
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 12 corn tortillas

Preheat grill pan over medium-high heat. Preheat smaller secondary skillet over medium heat. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together corn, bell pepper, and onion. Toss mixture into smaller skillet and cook until veggies are softened. Remove from heat, pour back into bowl and mix in lime juice, cilantro and lime zest.

In a small bowl, combine the cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. Brush the tilapia with the olive oil and sprinkle cayenne mixture on both sides of the fish. In the large grill pan, cook the tilapia fillets for 3-4 mintues on each side, until completely cooked. Remove from heat. If you want at this point, you can break the tilapia up into smaller pieces for the tacos. It's optional.

Assemble delicious fish taco, topping with the grilled salsa & enjoy!