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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Busy Schedules, Crock Pots, and Navy Bean Soup

I can't believe I haven't written anything in two months.

Ok, that's not exactly correct.  I have written a lot in the past two months!

Papers for history.  Papers for art.  Papers for math.
I have written loads over the past couple of months, just nothing food-related.  I'm not going to go back and check, but I'm fairly certain that hasn't happened a single time in the past 5 1/2 years I've kept this blog.

I've been gleefully busy, I forgot how much fun school is.
Can I make being a student a profession?
I think if I ever win the lottery I'll split my time between globetrotting and taking classes.
I 'm fairly certain that I would be incredible at that job.  :-)

Anyway, so I've been neglectful of the blog as I've been finding my groove in balancing school and household.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Best (And Easiest!) Ever Piña Colada Cake

Friendships were much easier to come by when I was younger.  It seems like the older I get the more I have acquaintances rather than friends- and that kind of makes me sad.

Well...lets be honest...the part of me that likes hanging out in my PJ pants with my family and not making plans is ok with it for the most part.

But having friends to laugh and talk to is important too.
My husband may be my best friend, but sometimes I need some girl talk and a cheese plate!

Anyway, I've been working on fostering friendships- I'm well aware of the fact that like any relationship friendships require intentional attention.

Let me just say guys...while I may not have the wide group of friends I had in my youth the friends I do have are pretty freaking spectacular.
I am blessed.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Easy and Flavorful Homemade Cherry Jam

I can't believe how cheap cherries have been lately and I have been taking full advantage and buying huge amounts of them.

HUGE amounts.

I mentioned this obsession over a month ago and it has definitely continued.  I jokingly referred to myself as "Cherry Belly" after stuffing myself silly with them one day and my son thought it was so funny he just refuses to let it go and keeps sneaking it in and giggling.

"Ok Cherry Belly, heeheehee..."

Anyway.  Lots of cherries around here.
I finally did end up hitting my cherry wall- I just couldn't eat another one.  I still had a full bag of cherries left that I didn't want to go to waste and I wasn't sure what to do with it.  I didn't really want to make a dessert that my daughter wouldn't eat and my husband would have to eat by himself (I really wasn't up for eating any more cherries).

What was I to do....

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas

When my parents came to visit last month I tried to menu plan and I ended up with 5 pounds of shrimp in my freezer for various dishes I intended to make.
And then didn't.

Oops.

So yeah.  Five pounds of shrimp.
Had to do something about that.

I used some of them making a batch of Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls last week, a pound of them last night in the Flounder Mediterranean- yet I still have more.

What to do, what to do...
Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas, that's what.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Flounder Mediterranean- Best. Fish. Ever.

I have a backlog of so many recipes to write about that I've made lately that just keeps growing.  With school back in session for the kids and about to start for me life has been a little hectic and I seem to be falling a little behind with the blog.

lol I'll be taking 17 credit hours this semester, sooo...my guess is there will be more of that in the coming months- just a heads up.  :-)

I've had my eye on this recipe for awhile and just hadn't gotten around to making it.  You know that generally speaking I don't care a great deal for meat but seafood is another story- I definitely have pescatarian leanings.

This dish starts with a sauce made from fresh tomatoes, and is packed with the most amazing flavors- onion, garlic, capers, kalamata olives, and more.  It smells AMAZING while it's cooking, seriously just super fragrant.  I love that this dish is done- start to finish- in about 45 minutes yet it really is a dish that I'd be proud to serve at a dinner party.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sriracha Honey Pizza And Memories of Doogie Howser

Do you remember those old episodes of Doogie Howser that always ended with his typed diary?
I totally just had a Doogie Howser flashback moment a second ago as I stared at the blinking cursor on this blank screen and tried to decide what to write.



I started once.
And deleted.

I started a second time.
And deleted.

Then I just sat here and stared at this blinking cursor and somehow came to the conclusion that the best tie-in to today's recipe was a childhood memory of Neil Patrick Harris.

I dunno, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to my thought process on that one.
It's been a long day of eating my kids' favorite pizza (hello elliptical tomorrow) and working up the energy to get in the pool.
I know...woe is me.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Oatmeal Sourdough Rolls and Learning New Tricks

This weekend I was talking to my sister-in-law about our mutual love of sourdough bread.
Not just any sourdough, though- the really tangy good stuff that lives up to its name.

The stuff I really haven't had outside of California, to be honest.
Crusty, chewy, air hole-filled, sour sourdough bread.

For all of middle school my lunch consisted of a turkey breast sandwich on sliced San Luis Sourdough bread with yellow mustard and a Snapple Peach Iced Tea.
Every day.  Because perfection.

Anyway, never having baked sourdough bread myself I really don't know what it is that makes most commercially produced sourdoughs outside of California so different from what I grew up with- I mean, of course there's a difference in yeast.  There's probably also a desire to tone down the flavor for a larger audience?  I don't know.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Chicken Noodle Soup (In Which I Protest Fall)

I refuse to believe that Fall will be here soon.
I'm protesting.

Do you hear me?
PROTESTING.

I will use up every last day in our pool before the weather gets cool.
I will continue to make ice cream and grill out and make warm weather food.

I literally don't own a pair of pants that fits me right now as I lost weight over the summer and I'm just flat out refusing to buy any until the weather is actually cold.

Do you hear me?  Jeans and Chucks may be my cool-weather uniform but I'm not giving in and admitting defeat and to the end of summer just yet.

While I'm normally starting to get just a wee bit excited about blog planning for Fall meals and cool-weather treats by this time in the summer I'm just not there yet.
Not at all.
Yet...today I made chicken noodle soup for dinner.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls and A Very Old Picture

I've spent today scrubbing my house and cleaning it top to bottom, doing laundry, and trying to get back into the swing of things around here following a long visit from my parents.  The floors have been mopped, the carpets vacuumed, the counters scrubbed, the bedding changed, the laundry is in the process of being washed.  We've definitely spent more time off enjoying each other and having fun over the last couple of weeks than we have staying on top of housework!

It's so hard to believe that summer break is coming to a close, first for the kids and then for me as I'm actually headed back to school myself this semester after a long....loooooooong...break from college. You may have noticed, as some have asked me about, that my Etsy shop is on vacation and the link at the top of the blog has vanished- lets just say that between family and school there probably won't be much time for popcorn-making anytime soon!

I've tried to make the most out of this summer before school craziness consumes us.
I think I've done ok.  :-)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Satay Chicken Pizza and Very Long Days


I love peanut sauce- pretty much on anything.

 The first time I made it was as a dipping sauce for Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls, which I would have sworn up and down I had written about years ago until I went back to find the post to link to a minute ago and lo-and-behold it just doesn't seem to exist, so FYI that will be coming soon.

The picture for those spring rolls will be super old (actually it will pre-date this computer because I just stopped to check to see when I took it and evidently the only place I even have a copy is on Facebook from five years ago...) but the recipe is worth sharing.

Sorry if I'm being a bit ramble-y...my parents flew home from their visit this morning, which always leaves me a big, messy ball of emotions.  I'm kind of out of sorts.  Add to that the fact that I've been up since 3am and I've driven an hour in one direction long before sunrise to take them to the airport, an hour back, and then two and a half hours in a completely different direction to pick up my husband's new car, then two and a half hours back...I'm toast y'all.

I'm so much toast I just said "y'all", guys.

That's how tired I am.
I need sleep and wine.  Maybe not in that order.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream (My Ice Cream Obsession Continues)

We already know that I'm a wee bit obsessed with my ice cream maker these days. 

I mean...I store it in my freezer and I keep heavy cream in my fridge at all times just in case.

Never in my life did I think that there would come a day when I would keep heavy cream on hand just in case.

Oh well.  The day has come.  At least for the summer months.

So I've been amassing quite a collection of ice cream recipes I'm excited to try (cannoli ice cream, I'm coming for you one day soon!) and Key Lime Pie ice cream has been hovering around the top of my list for awhile.

I love key lime, don't you?
I mean, what's not to love?
It's so different from regular lime flavor, it has that sweet and tangy flavor that sets it apart from regular lime that just can't be beat.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Guacamole: A Perfect Food?

Do you know how exciting it is that my daughter is finally old enough to give good food a chance?
We've moved past the kids menu and crayons phase of life and into the days of, "Mom, what's a filet?"

Quick answer: Expensive.
So um...how about I help you navigate that menu?

I have to say though, it's fun to see her choose grilled salmon over a burger at a restaurant these days.

Proud mama moments.

Few of those moments have made me more proud than when she proclaimed that she absolutely LOVED guacamole and started begging me to buy it or make it every time we went to the store.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Blackened Salmon Tacos with Chunky Mango Avocado Salsa

I've shared a few recipes this month from Allrecipes Hall of Fame collection in honor of the website's 20th birthday (Mmmm...that delicious Blackberry Pie brought to us by 1999 and those Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies courtesy of 2000...) and I thought I'd finish off the month with a recipe from the 2016 Hall of Fame.

Something a little more recent.
A little more taco-centric.
You know me and tacos.
:-)

So I saw this recipe and immediately knew I had to make it.
Everything about it screams Nora-
1)It's tacos
2)It has salmon
3)It has a fruity salsa

Yep, this recipe had me written all over it.

My parents have been visiting and since my dad also shares in my ridiculous love of salmon I thought this recipe would probably be a safe bet for dinner last night.

I was definitely right!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Brunch Enchiladas And Lazy Breakfasts

I love a savory breakfast.
I mean...don't get me wrong.  I enjoy a few bites of syrupy pancake, french toast, maybe a jelly-filled donut, a stuffed crepe, a sticky bun...

Just in small quantities.

Nope, my breakfast weakness comes more in the form of savory dishes like Eggs Benedict (I like creative takes- check out my Tomatillo and Shredded Pork version!), quiche, crispy hash browns, and stratas.

Stratas tend to be my go-to breakfast dish when we have company visiting because I can do all of the prep work either before they arrive or at night before we all go to bed so everything just needs to be popped in the oven when I wake up in the morning.  I get to serve something more interesting than cereal with essentially no work when I'm just rolling out of bed and don't really feel like going full steam ahead into hostess mode.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Homemade Butter and Fun With Kids

I've been keeping a running list of things that I want to do with the kids over school breaks for the past few years.  It just seems to grow and grow!  Every time I mark off a park, museum, or activity I seem to add four more things in its place.

Lets just say we're never really at a loss for things to fill our time.

This afternoon we had an awkward bit of time between places we needed to be and my kids were sitting there lost in their electronics, oblivious to the world around them.

I decided to turn to the list to see what we could do with our time that might be a little more...engaging.

I found...drumroll please....BUTTER.

Butter?
Yes, butter.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Frozen Caramel Coffee

I try to avoid coffee places...but not because I don't like coffee.
Far from it, actually.

No, I love coffee.
Especially those drinks that *true* coffee lovers turn their noses up at.
Give me a sugar-laden flavor-of-the-season any day of the week!

While I certainly enjoy a warm drink during the colder months, for most of the year my biggest temptation is anything iced or frozen.  Flavored, loaded with syrup...yeah...I don't avoid coffee places because I don't like coffee.
I avoid coffee places because my waistline really can't handle my lack of self control.

Sure I tell myself that I'm just going to order a regular coffee.  Something strong and dark.
Then the next thing I know I'm staring down a very large drink with a very large swirl of whipped cream on top.  Possibly some kind of chocolate shaving on top, as if the whipped cream wasn't enough.

You might wonder why I'm telling you all of this while you're staring at pictures of a coffee drink that is 1)topped with a very large dollop of whipped cream and 2)dripping with caramel.

I can understand your confusion.  Just stick with me for a moment.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Homemade Sushi Feast

Remember a few weeks ago when I said that I had started a post about our New Year's Eve sushi extravaganza 7 MONTHS ago and hadn't gotten around to finishing it?

Yeah well..I finally decided to get on that.

This stuff is just too good not to share- sushi is fabulous.

My problem hasn't been laziness, but rather that I didn't want it to to be incomplete picture-wise.  I kept planning on re-creating our entire sushi feast so I could get some decent pictures for you guys and for one reason or another I just haven't gotten around to it.

Sorry about that.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies and A Little Nostalgia

My husband loves Milk Duds.

Like loves them.

Personally, I find them too sweet and too chewy and too...just not my kind of candy.

That man, however, can put way some Milk Duds.

He named his cat Milk Dud long ago.

They're kind of the way to his heart.

Have we been bickering?

Was I kind of short with him on the way out the door?

Did he have a bad day at work?

Buy the man some Milk Duds.  It'll make things better.
Or at least it will be a start.  :-)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hot Days and Cold Coffee Treats

Five years ago this month I took a trip to Seattle courtesy of Allrecipes.
I've taken a number of Allrecipes trips since, but this was the first- and my anxiety was high.
Now don't get me wrong- I was excited about all of the fun stuff they had planned for us.

They flew their Allstars out to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Allrecipes.com, put us up in a very nice hotel, wined and dined us at their headquarters...it was all quite exciting.  At that point in my life I was one year into being a stay-at-home mom and life really revolved around all things children and homelife.  This blog was in it's infancy, and I was just...you know, a mom.

Have I mentioned I have just *ahem* a touch of social anxiety too?
So I was flying cross-country into a totally new situation to meet up with people whom I had only interacted with online.  I hadn't lost any of the weight I'd gained during my pregnancy so I was even more self-conscious than normal- which is saying a lot.
I seriously almost passed on even taking this incredible, free trip!

But I didn't.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Delicious (and easy!) Poppy Seed Dressing

I almost never make my own salad dressing- for a few reasons.

First of all- I'm super lazy.
Ok, not really.
Well...maybe it depends on the day.
Let's go with that.
Secondly, my husband loves blue cheese and my daughter loves ranch.  I don't like making more than one kind.

Lastly, I feel more pressure to finish off a batch of homemade dressing when it's in my fridge.  I think I trust the preservatives and foods I can't pronounce on the back of the commercial dressing to keep the store-bought stuff edible longer lol.

Sometimes, though, I go ahead and make the good stuff.

I throw together that creamy goodness from the BLT salad.
I might get a little nuts and toss together a little oil and vinegar every once in awhile.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

'Tis The Season For Fresh Fruit & Salad With Peaches

We've been going through a lot of fresh fruit around here lately!
My countertop has been overflowing with pineapple, watermelon, mangoes, cherries, grapes, plums, dragonfruit, peaches...pretty much whatever I can get my hands on!

I mean seriously...$1.48/lb for cherries?
Uh, yes.
I think I'll take two giant bag-fulls and not even worry about weighing them at the store- I've been eating my weight in cherries lately with that kind of markdown from their normal prices!

 My husband has been stuck on peaches.
I love peaches too (try the Molasses Grilled Peaches I shared last summer- SO GOOD!), but he's been really into them this year.  He tends to forget that they're sitting there on the counter and doesn't really just slice one up to eat it, but he LOVES it when I cook with them, like when I made that Grilled Prosciutto and Peach Flatbread Pizza recently.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Chocolate Ice Cream Trumps Memories Of Bad Ice Milk

When I think of the homemade ice cream of my childhood I think of only one thing:
peaches.
We had a plethora of fruit trees when I was a kid- a peach tree in the front yard, and then the backyard had two apple trees, an apricot tree, a plum tree, a poorly performing pear tree, an abundance of grape vines, a number of berry bushes, and- until we got a dog- a strawberry patch.
There was also an ill-fated artichoke plant in there for a few years, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count as fruit.

Or does it?
I don't know.  Maybe I'll look it up later.
Either way, I'm pretty sure it has no place in ice cream.

Anyway, we had a ridiculous variety of fruit, and I might even be forgetting a thing or two!
For real.
Our friends and neighbors got so. sick. of fruit.

So did we come to think of it!

What we didn't eat fresh or pawn off on whoever would take it was made into fruit leather, baked into cobblers (that I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole as a staunchly 'anti-cooked fruit' child), frozen and forgotten in the back of the freezer, or made into ice cream.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Generally speaking, side dishes are my favorite part of a meal.
Thanksgiving?
I couldn't care less about the turkey!  Nope, I'll be loading up on the stuffing, potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce, and all of the other goodness.

Grilling out?
I might eat a hot dog or burger, but I'll definitely be leaving the steaks and such to my carnivorous family.  Show me the sides!

A few nights ago I was planning dinner.  I already knew that I was going to be serving those Carne Asada Enchiladas that I wrote about but I wanted to serve something alongside them that was more interesting than rice and beans, you know?  Don't get me wrong, I serve those often when doing Mexican, but I wanted to do something fun.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Carne Asada Enchiladas & Happy Families

It can be hard to please all of my family at the same time.

Me?
I tend to like the- as my husband calls them- "frou frou" foods.
While sometimes our tastes overlap in that category, generally my daughter steers clear.

My husband and daughter?
Meat.
They could easily be carnivores and be perfectly happy.
I've mentioned over and over again that I can really take or leave meat for the most part, so meat-heavy meals definitely aren't going to make me happy.

My son.
Oooooh my son.
We've talked about him.  The autism and sensory issues that carry over so significantly and frustratingly to his eating habits.  He'd be happy with chicken nuggets (sans sauce) and pizza for every meal for the rest of his life.

So.  Menu planning and meal times can be quite challenging!  To be honest, for your average weeknight meal I often plan around the carnivores, go to the old stand-by's for my son, and just graze a bit myself since I'm rarely desirous of a big heavy meal anyway.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Mandarin Teriyaki Pasta Salad

Here I sit, at a little after nine in the morning on a balmy July Wednesday, forcing myself to recover from a late night of fireworks and festivities, as my son energetically runs circles around me.

No really.
Like actual circles around the couch.
So.  Much.  Energy.

My daughter has reached the age where she will pretty much stay in bed until I force her to join the world of the living, and today I'm kind of ok with that.
I'm old.  Late nights never used to take a toll like this!

So here I sit.
Optimistically decked out in my workout clothes, as I know that the elliptical should be my next stop.
I'm not going to lie, though...I might be parked on this couch for a bit longer.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summery Blackberry Pie

I remember sitting at the computer in my room when I was in high school, using dial-up internet, and- totally on a whim- typing in cookierecipe.com to my browser (Netscape, of course).
It was a real site!  Holy cow!

I decided to try another one- cakerecipe.com.  And then another- pierecipe.com.

They were there too!  Will the wonders of the internet never cease!

I kept going down the list.  There were sites for all kinds of food.

Allrecipes you might even say *winkwink*.

It wasn't until many, many years later when I was sitting in the Seattle headquarters of Allrecipes.com  for an Allstars trip to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Allrecipes.com, that I even connected those old sites to the current iteration of the site I do so much work with.  All of those individual little domains were bundled up into the neat package that has been known for a very long time now as Allrecipes.com

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Turkey-Chorizo Sliders with Pineapple-Mango Salsa

Remember that Polynesian Grilled Shrimp that I found in Allrecipes Magazine?
Well honestly...the most recent issue was seriously a treasure trove of recipe goodness.
In the same column in which I was featured not all that long ago another community member shared their go-to recipe in this issue- Turkey-Chorizo Sliders with Pineapple-Mango Avocado Salsa.

OMG right?
Right.

It caught my eye immediately and I just knew I had to make it.

Soon.

So I did.  :-)

Have you ever made turkey or chicken burgers?  The consistency is a little...soft.
Chorizo?
Also a little on the soft side.
Which is seriously not a big deal.  At all.
It's just something to know going in.
The uncooked patties are not quite as...solid...as their ground beef counterparts.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Grilled Prosciutto and Peach Flatbread Pizzas

For the past few months my daughter has been very interested in really learning to cook and I've been actively encouraging her interest.  She digs through my old cookbooks and makes lists of things she wants to try to make.  She's mastered pie crust, chicken pot pie, pancakes (oh so many pancakes have been made!), cookies, ice cream sandwiches with those cookies, and so much more.

Well...I may not have looked at one of the recipes closely enough a few weeks ago.  It was out of an old Southern Living cookbook and to be honest I didn't really pay much attention when I was jotting down which ingredients I needed to grab for her.  She needed prosciutto, ricotta, and a few other not-inexpensive ingredients.  I remember staring at my list in the pasta aisle and realizing that I hadn't written down what kind she needed.

When I got home I realized why that was...all of those ingredients were supposed to be filling for a homemade stuffed pasta of some sort.

Well...I have zero experience with homemade pasta.
I do not own a pasta maker.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Polynesian Grilled Shrimp

Summer is in full swing and I am loving pretty much everything about it!

While there really isn't a season that is strong enough to scare my husband away from his beloved grill, things definitely ramp up in that area around our house this time of year...which, as I've mentioned a time or two before, is fun for me in that I get to make (and enjoy) fun side dishes...but generally speaking I couldn't care less about the meat itself coming off of that grill.

I decided to mix things up a little bit for dinner last night- in addition to the trip-tip and sausage my husband was grilling I made up some fun flatbread pizzas (more on those soon) and these Polynesian Grilled Shrimp from the most recent edition of Allrecipes Magazine.  This month the magazine had all kinds of fun ideas, but the section tiki-inspired dishes really caught my eye.  Since I still had a couple of pounds of that delicious shrimp from the coast in the freezer (the same kind I used in that Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil) the Polynesian Shrimp recipe seemed like a perfect place to start- though there are several more recipes from that section that I can't wait to try too!

Monday, June 26, 2017

One Pot Spanish Style Beef & Rice

Do you know what I don't like?
Dishes.
I have a tendency to use every utensil and dish I own when I cook, and I get so tired of dealing with dishes!  Rinsing them, loading the dishwasher, hand washing, unloading the dishwasher, drying, putting them away...whatever.
There just isn't anything fun at all about dishes, amiright?

Thankfully this dish uses exactly one.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Nothing Says Summer Like Pineapple

Last year was a bit of a milestone birthday for my husband and I was at a loss as to how to celebrate.
I procrastinated...and then I procrastinated some more...when it came to planning a celebration.

Finally I spotted a tropical party or something random like that on Pinterest- lightbulbs went off and I decided to run with it.

I went all-in.
My house had fishing nets, leis, coconut bras, grass skirts, and all manner of tropical-y things.
I made a giant container of man-tais and served island-inspired foods all with a beachy playlist I'd curated playing in the background.

It turned out so well.
I was so happy that he liked it...it was a special birthday for him and I didn't want to disappoint.

One of the things that I served that day was this Pineapple Salsa.  It went over so well, I could hardly keep my hands off of it!  I immediately swore that I would make it regularly so I could snack on it often.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Reese's Peanut Butter S'mores Ice Cream

Do you know how long I've wanted an ice cream maker?

FOR-EV-ER.
That's how long.

When my mother-in-law asked me what I wanted for my birthday I was at a loss.  That's always such a hard question for me to answer!
I need a new 13"x9" pan- mine's in terrible shape.
I need new bread pans- two of mine were left at a cabin seven years ago when we got married and have yet to be replaced.
Also...I wanted an ice cream maker.

I know there are a lot of them out there, at varying price points, but I love having attachments for my Kitchenaid, so that's the one that made the list.

Guess what I got from my fantastic in-laws?
Yep, you got it.
I got my ice cream maker!

I decided to break it in over Father's Day weekend.  My husband's only request?
"None of your lavender/chamomile/honey/Rosemary/weird flavor craziness."
Got it.
It was Father's Day after all- my honey/lavender ice cream will have to wait for another hot summer day.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Confessions of a Tacoholic & Unabashed Salsa Fanatic

For a long time, years actually, there was really no type of food I loved more than sushi.
Pure adoration.

What did I want for my birthday meal?
Sushi.

What did I want for Mother's Day?
Sushi.

What did I want my husband to grab on his way home from work after a bad day?
Sushi.

What did I get for Christmas and use to make a culinary feast on New Year's Eve?
A sushi bazooka.
Yeah, that's right.
A sushi bazooka.
The thing is amazing.  Don't judge.
lol I actually have a half-finished post about it and the wonders I've made with it I've been meaning to wrap up for the past 6 months now.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Sheet Pan Low Country Boil

You know, I could say that I've been slacking lately given how rarely I've posted over the last couple of months.  I'm not going to, though.

Nope, I've not been slacking at all.
I've been busy.
SO busy.
Busy feeling the sun on my skin.
Busy taking my kids to museums and watching their eyes light up.
Busy watching my son learn how to cannonball into the pool.
Busy eating late-night pancakes with my daughter.
Busy packing picnics, trying new parks, visiting the library, and exploring with the kids.

18 summers.
That's all we get with these crazy little humans that we call our own.
I've been having a blast enjoying this one to the fullest- and it's only halfway through June!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Peruvian Chicken and Rice

My favorite restaurant in the world closed last year.
I'm the kind of person who loves and appreciates good food and adores trying new restaurants, so to say this little hole-in-the-wall Peruvian place was my absolute favorite is saying a lot.

Honestly?
While I'm sure the rest of their menu was scrumptious, the only dish on the menu I ever ordered for myself was their Adobo Arequipeño.  Flavorful stewed pork served over mashed sweet potatoes alongside rice and adorned with pickled red onion.

PERFECTION.
I came close to shedding a tear when I realized I would never be able to eat it again.

I've done my share of googling looking for a suitable replacement for that recipe ever since the restaurant closed and sadly I've yet to find one that resembles what I used to order closely enough to attempt it at home.
This makes me sad.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Freezer Caramel Drizzle Pie

Picture this:

It's hot.  It's humid.  You have company coming and you have zero desire to fire up that oven and heat up your house.
Oh, that day is coming soon, my friends.
Summer is coming.

Cookies, cakes, cobblers, traditional pies, and most of your standard desserts are obviously out unless you want to go the store-bought route, right?

So, what's a girl (or guy) to do?

Freezer pie is what you're going to do.
Ok, I won't be presumptuous- freezer pie is what I think you should do.  :-)

Greek Orzo Salad and Warm Days Ahead

Can you believe that it's almost summer?
School's almost out, the weather is beautiful, and I'm ready for a few months of fun with the kids full of pool days and adventures.

As much as I love bundling up and being cozy in fall and winter, there's something about summer that just makes my soul sing.  I adore the feeling of the warm sun on my (sunscreen coated) skin.  I love spending time with my kids that doesn't involve packing school lunches and homework.  I love spending time with friends and family enjoying each other's company while my husband grills.

Which of course, is just another excuse for me to cook!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Making Memories and Easy Breakfasts

My daughter sits on the counter, the light streaming through the window picking up the gold in her hair as her feet dangle below her gently tapping on the counter as she wiggles.

She picks up the spice jars one at a time, gently opening them and breathing in lightly to take in the aromas.

When she first began this ritual she would ask me questions from across the house.

"Mom, what does coriander smell like?"
"Why doesn't cream of tartar smell like anything?"
"What's dry mustard?"
Watching her, its hard not to draw parallels to the memories of time spent on the floor of my grandma's house in Wisconsin digging through her button jar, asking questions about all of the interesting pieces in her collection.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Quick and Easy Pizza Crust For Hungry Kids

My daughter loves slumber parties.
She loves throwing them, she loves attending them.

What girl doesn't, right?
It's not until you're a boring adult that the thought of the insanity that is a a house full of excited, noisy, crazy girls gives you a bit of a headache.
So what is a mom to do?

Herd them.  Herd them like cats.
Keep that energy channeled folks!

At least that has been my philosophy.  Keep those little munchkins busy!

A few fun games with dollar store prizes are a given- both a wonderful time-killer and a great way to redirect the kiddos when things get a little crazy.

Personally, I like crafts.
Crafts are fun.
Crafts are time-consuming.
Crafts double as favors the girls can take home.
Generally speaking, crafts are fairly inexpensive (woohoo!).

Friday, March 10, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes

My daughter wanted a special cupcake to bring to school for her classmates this week- something all the kids would like.

Over the years I've noticed that she kind of enjoys talking up my cooking skills to her friends and teachers so I knew that I had to make something special to live up to the hype!  I went on the hunt for a new recipe that would be fun and kid-friendly.  After an exhaustive search of Allrecipes, Google, and Pinterest I finally settled on a recipe for cupcakes stuffed with chocolate chip cookie dough.

Um...hard to go wrong with that one, right?

Right.

So how does one go about making a cupcake filled with cookie dough that doesn't bake and leave you with, well, a cookie-filled cupcake?

You make the cookie dough ahead of time and freeze it.
That way the cupcake bakes around it but doesn't bake the cookie dough itself.

Brilliant, no?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

BLT Unwrap & Roll And More Belgioioso Fun

I'm such a sucker for a fun appetizer- extra points if it's super simple.  Even more extra points if it's low carb.  Still more extra points if it includes bacon, amiright? :-)


This recipe is a winner on all fronts.
Plus I got to use Belgioioso cheese again, which always makes me happy.  Remember when they sent me that selection of cheeses after they hosted our wine and cheese tastings in Des Moines?
My cheese drawer has never been happier- 
I so love that stuff!

This afternoon Allrecipes reached out to its Allstars and asked us to check out some new recipes that Belgioioso had posted.  Well...I was hungry and on my way to the store anyway, so the timing was kind of perfect. :-)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Mushrooms and Writer's Block

I made these mushrooms over a month ago, easy.
I've been trying to figure out what to write about ever since!

Generally when I post something I have some sort of loose association between the recipe and life that gets me writing.  Not going to lie- I've got nothing.

I thought about a tie-in with the marinated mushrooms that my mom makes for their Christmas party every year.
*yawn*

I thought about mentioning that I've always kind of wanted to buy one of those mushroom growing kits.
*yawn again*

Gotta be honest guys- I've got nothing.

Nothing except for one delicious recipe, that is.  ;-)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tennessee Sausage 'N Cheese Dip

When I was perusing the list of McCormick's 50 Dips for 50 States I was immediately drawn to the recipe for Tennessee Sausage 'N Cheese Dip.

Why?

Well, we've discussed before my family's love of queso.  It's not at all uncommon to find a bowl full of Velveeta and Ro*Tel melted together for a quick and yummy cheese dip on nights when I serve Mexican food, but sometimes I like to mix it up.  My husband and daughter are especially partial to Mexican White Queso Dip and I've made Chili Cheese Dip at times too.

I knew they'd definitely be on board for this sausage-loaded version!

To be honest I've never seen a version of cheese dip quite like this one.  It's a riff on the classic Velveeta and Ro*Tel combo- but this one includes sausage and a packet of pork gravy mix.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Jersey Disco Fry Dip

I have such a fun Allstars assignment this month, guys!

I get to work with McCormick- you know the spice company.  They've created a bunch of game day dips- one for each state.  Yep, 50 Dips for 50 States.  We're talking Smoked Salmon Dip for Alaska, Lobster and Spinach Dip for Maine, Cincinnati Chili Dip for Ohio...you get the idea.

While I definitely don't have the time- or the metabolism- to make my way through all 50 of them in one month I've made a couple of them already and I plan on making my way through a bunch more because most of them sound so fun!

I started out this weekend with Tennessee Sausage 'N Cheese Dip and Jersey Disco Fry Dip and we enjoyed both of them.  More about the cheese dip in my next post- lets lead with the disco dip, shall we?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Best Apple Pie You'll Ever Eat

When I was a kid I absolutely hated pie.
(Except lemon meringue, that is.)
In general I just didn't like any cooked fruits- no cobblers or pies or fruit-filled pastries for me.
Crazy, I know.  I had a back yard absolutely loaded with fruit trees (apricot, peach, plum, cherry, pear, apple...) but my mom had no luck getting the loads of leftover fruit we always had to deal with into me in the form of dessert.

My tastes have certainly matured over the years!
In fact- while generally speaking I don't have much of a sweet tooth- pie is my favorite dessert by far.

Cherry pie.  Berry Pies.  Apple Pie.  Pretty much any pie or cobbler or whatever you put in front of me is going to be difficult to turn down!

Lets just say that at this point I have plenty of experience with pie baking.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Let's Talk Pie Crust

This is one of those posts that I have been wanting to share for a long time- a very long time.

There have been a couple of things getting in the way of that- first of all, when I make pie crust for desserts I am generally serving it to a crowd.  While some of my close family know I'm a crazy picture-taker that doesn't mean that I want to stop the festivities and make people wait for their pie while I get that perfect shot.

The second problem is that when I make pie crust for savory pies, like Chicken Pot Pie, I generally serve it for dinner- which might sound irrelevant but for a large portion of the year that means the sun has already gone down...which means the lighting isn't great for picture-taking either.

Ah, the problems of a crazy photo-taking blogger. :-)

Anyway, when my husband asked me to make an apple pie for a family gathering this past weekend I decided to go ahead and snap some pictures before we brought it.
I might have even cut out a slice of pie for picture taking purposes and replaced it before we left.
It's family...I'm sure they don't mind.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

RSVP's and the Decline of Common Courtesy

Birthdays have changed since I was a kid.

When I was little you picked a date, sent out some invites, kids showed up with presents for cake and ice cream.  There was never a question as to whether or not people would attend or not.
Was I the most popular kid in school?
Not at all.  I was totally middle ground when it came to popularity.

These days I'm terrified of my kids' birthdays.  

This is how it goes:
Invites go out.
No one RSVP's.
The day of the party I tremble with fear, hoping that ANYONE will show up.
A handful do- the kid is happy.
My alternate plans in the case of no one showing are abandoned.
At least that's how things have gone down thus far.
It sucks.

It's not that they are outcasts- they're not at all.
This is just the way things are these days, at almost every party for every kid I've ever been to.

There seem to be two exceptions: the über  popular kids and the kids whose parents have sprung hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for the A-list Birthday locations.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Very Valentine's: Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Treats

How in the world is already almost Valentine's Day?

I'm so behind, you guys.

While I grabbed gifts for the kids and put them up as soon as the Valentine's stuff hit the stores I have absolutely no idea what to get for my husband.  It's really too late to order anything and honestly I generally make him a sweet and sentimental gift anyway- but I'm at a loss.
I have exactly four days to figure this one out.

While I may not know what to do for my husband, the kids and I have already played around in the kitchen with some holiday-inspired treats.  In the past I've made a variety of pink baked goods- Pink Sugar Cookie Bars, Pink Pinwheel Cookies, super yummy Pink Snickerdoodles, even Pink Marshmallows.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Super Snacks for the Super Bowl: Sausage Stuffed Jalapeños

I think we've been over my penchant for stuffing things in jalapeños when I'm looking for a low carb option.

Kind of the perfect, flavorful vessel for getting goodness into your mouth when crackers and chips are off limits, you know?

Since my husband and I have been doing the low-carb thing again since the beginning of the year I definitely found myself exploring my jalapeño options when I was looking around for Super Bowl options this week.  I didn't want anything breaded and to be honest I've done the bacon thing.

Super Snacks for the Super Bowl: Lasagna Stuffed Mushrooms

Well guys, another Super Bowl is in the books- for the blog that is!

Every year the week before the big game gets a little crazy with people flocking to those Super Bowl friendly game-day recipe- by the time Super Bowl Sunday rolls around the traffic is at a fever pitch.
Then come kickoff?
Crickets.
Total drop off until the next day when things get back to normal.
Honestly every year I find it kind of hard to turn away, it's just so much fun to watch.  :-)

This year was no different, though I do have to admit that I really slacked off this month when it comes to posting new recipes.  I normally spend the month of January ramping up and sharing new fun foods with you guys for your party planning but this year my low-carbing took a bit of the wind out of my sails.