Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 15 Recipes of 2015

Happy New Year's Eve!

Unbelievable that it's the last day of the year. I feel like I have been on vacation this week (much needed after Christmas Cookies) with my slacker posts. Indeed, it's much easier to post round-up's and articles about reading and summing the year up. I was going to post this yesterday, but alas, it was my birthday friends! Yep, this ol' girl turned 29 again... Or maybe a little more than that. Haha.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Books I Read in 2015

Time to start wrapping up 2015!

I'm looking back at the list of books I read in 2015, and it's so weird, but I feel like I just read these all yesterday. It's hard to believe that some of these I read more than 365 days ago. It was a good year for reading, if a light year. I usually aim to read 2 books a month, but I only made it to 19 this year. Mainly because I stopped reading after I read "What Alice Forgot" in October, and started writing. So I'm not beating myself up. I probably would have read 4 more books in November and December. And writing is whole other type of self-education that I'm learning to enjoy. Here's how the year of 2015 went in reading-

Saturday, December 26, 2015

25 Pasta Recipes


Happy Day-After Christmas folks! Did everyone have a great holiday with lots of friends and family? We sure did! Due to the holiday festivities yesterday, there was little time for blogging. The hubby and I have been go, go, GO! for the last couple of days. I'm definitely feeling it, and am ready for life to slow down just a bit. We've got our niece and nephew staying the night with us tonight, but come Monday, I should have some alone time. We aren't even planning anything for New Year's Eve, thank goodness. At the top of the list of my least favorite holidays you would have New Year's Eve. I'm always so-done with the holidays and usually 5 lbs overweight by the time it rolls around. This year, we are staying in. The more you progress into your 30's, the less you care about going out. Missing out on something. Not being in the pictures the next day. All the things that mattered so much in your 20's? Eh. I take em' or leave em' now.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Cookie Dough Truffles

The last cookie of the 2015 Christmas season. Awwwwwww.

I can't believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Wowsers, this season has gone fast. And with the arrival of Christmas, I present to you the last of my offerings. The humble Christmas Cookie Dough Truffle. Decadent, eggless cookie dough, covered in melted chocolate, and doused with a good helping of sprinkles. If you love cookie dough (and I'm certainly one of those people), you will love this candy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

Time for my favorite cookie of the year!

These Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies are so darn yummy. Seriously. Both sides are soft and chewy, studded throughout with chocolate chips. The chocolate side is decidedly chocolatey, while the peanut butter side is perfectly subtle. It tastes like peanut butter without being dry and mealy. Always a good thing when you are talking about cookies! And while these cookies do require chilling (keep that in mind when you go to make them. Believe me!), they really aren't too much work. I loved the technique of rolling the two doughs together, so creative. More on that later. In the meantime, let's go over how to make these delicious drops of heaven!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Chocolate-Mint Bark

Let's continue CookieFest 2015!

Still on vacation here in Illinois. As much as I love my dogs (because I love them to the moon and back, ya know) there is something to be said for simply waking up, making a cup of coffee, and enjoying the view of a lake. No shoving tired feet into boots, tired arms into coats. No checking the property for neighborhood dogs or the stray deer. No pack of vicious Chihuahuas barking at such a decibel you'd think we starved them by their urgent need for food.

Of course, I start to miss all those things after a couple of days. But man, for a couple of days, I do enjoy the "me" time. And speaking of "me" time, you'll have plenty of that if you decide to make this simple minty candy over say, Spritz cookies. I'm serious, this takes all of 5 minutes to make. And it's sooooo yummy!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Reindeer Gingerbread Cookies

Let the Christmas cookie bonanza begin!

I am officially on vacation. The hubby and I are staying with his cousin at his lake house in Marion, IL. I have no housework, no agenda, and now, no cookies to worry about! I spent the entire weekend like a baking fiend. There was no rest for the wicked. But the hubby shipped a majority of them yesterday morning to our far distant relatives, and we handed out the rest. The leftovers were brought to Illinois to be enjoyed by the hubby's cousin's wife because she is almost 8 months pregnant. She was very appreciative to see the cookies and Christmas Crunch Popcorn yesterday.  And, let me tell you, this year's cookie selections are better than ever.

Like, seriously. The hubby told me so :-)

Let's kick of my series (yes, there will be 4 cookie recipes I share with y'all) of cookies with these super-cute Reindeer Gingerbread Cookies!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Arugula Prosciutto Pizza

What is it about the holidays? There never seems to be enough time. I've been baking, pretty much non-stop, for the past 2 days. And I'm still not done! I guess this means the hubby and I will be mailing the cookies tomorrow morning instead of this morning. I've decided that I have to be ok with this, mainly because I'm not done. I should know better by now, 2 days is just not enough. Do you hear that, Future Jessica? 2 days is NOT enough!

We can only hope I remember that next year.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Is there a more perfect time for a slow cooker recipe than at the holidays? I think not. After all the shopping, gift wrapping, check-book balancing, cookie baking, and making sure the hubby's not falling off the roof-ing (hehe), there's not a lot of energy left for cooking. Back when the hubby and I lived in Portland, this wasn't such big deal. We had many (quick) options for feeding ourselves somewhat healthy. We were within 5 minutes of Whole Foods, walking distance of of handful of restaurants, and had a kitchen drawer full of menus from restaurants that deliver. Ah, the old days. Today though? Our grocery store doesn't offer the options of Whole Foods (fresh salad bars, amazing hot soups, made-to-order sandwiches), we are within a 20 minute drive to the nearest restaurant, and delivery? That's a no-go. I cook a heck of a lot more here in Kentucky that I ever did in Oregon, which in itself has positives and negatives.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

Happy Thursday!

It's been a difficult couple of days for the hubby and I. A stomach virus invaded the house and brought all activity to a grinding halt. The hubby had the worst of it. His started on Tuesday, and he did nothing but get sick until 4 pm that day. He was finally able to keep some Pepto in his system in the evening, and that seemed to help. All day Tuesday, the one and only thought I had was 'Please, please, please! Do not let me get this!' I mean, you know when you are watching your spouse get sick every 30 minutes, literally all day? No one wants to do that themselves. I was feeling the fear.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Recipe Redux: Shrimp & Artichokes Over Rice

Let's go back in time my friends-

To February, 2012. I'd been blogging for a very short time, less than a year. The hubby and I had been living in Kentucky for almost a year and a half, in our run-down rental in Ashland. The hubs had been working a new job for all of 3 months, and we'd begun to house-hunt. The hubby is required to live within 30 miles of the office, so Ashland wasn't cutting it. We'd been house-hunting for months, and finding zilch. Houses that needed to be gutted. Houses at the base of hills, that very obviously needed thousands of dollars of mold abatement. Houses on busy roads. Houses where you could reach out and touch your neighbors house. It was soul-sucking, to say the least.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Thanksgiving might be over, but pumpkin season runs right through December in this house!

Is that true for anyone else? I remember as a kid my mom always made a pumpkin pie for Christmas, as well as Thanksgiving. Needless to say, I associate pumpkin pie with the whole holiday season. I know some people see pumpkin pie as a Thanksgiving or fall recipe, and therefore put away anything pumpkin by December. If you are one of those people, tuck this recipe away in your back pocket for next fall. If you aren't one of those people, well, break out the pumpkin and let's do this!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich

-with a legit moist-maker!

Calling all "Friends" fans! I've taken on Monica's Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich, complete with a moist-maker! For those of you not in the know, a moist-maker is an extra piece of gravy-soaked bread in the middle of the sandwich. I know all kinds of people hate the word moist, but I'm sorry. It's word that must be used, and used often, by foodies. You don't want your chicken to be dry, you want it to be... moist. Same with cake. And brownies. And steak. And all kinds of meats. So peeps, I apologize, but the word must be used.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Turkey Noodle Soup

Can. You. Believe. It?

It's December. Already. I'm in shock. It feels like just yesterday I was pouring over Pinterest, trying to pick out Christmas 2014's cookie selections. How is it that a whole year has flown by? I know, I know, I say this every year, but does anyone else feel this way? 

2015 was one for the books in terms of recipes. I was going through my 2015 posts and statistics, trying to guesstimate which recipes are going to make the top 15 of 2015. It was a great year for food photography. An unparalleled year. I felt quite a bit of satisfaction going over the years' work. And now, we are almost to another year. I get to post new Christmas cookies this month. Yippee! This year's selection includes : 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

November In A Nutshell: 2015

November is nearly gone. Unbelievable. This year has flown by. I'm sitting here in a bit of shock that the hubby and I are going to be putting away all my fall decor to make room for our Christmas stuff today. I feel like it was just yesterday that we were putting up last year's tree. I guess time flies when you're having fun, huh? 

The other night I found myself reading my old blog posts. Like, really, really old blog posts. Besides feeling a little sheepish at the quality of what I used to post, I found a blog theme that was left along the wayside at some point. And that theme was the end-of-month wrap-up. I found, for my memory purposes, that those monthly wrap-up's were some of my favorite posts to read. The hubby told me those were some of his favorites too. So, I think it's time to reinstate that tradition. Here's what the hubby and I got into this month:

Oh! And that top photo I took when the hubby and I took the nephews and niece to Buffalo Wild Wings on Black Friday. We had a grand time. The boys' expressions are priceless, aren't they? Haha.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Pomegranate Pistachio Bark

Happy day after Thanksgiving!

Did everyone have a great holiday? Eat a lot of turkey? Watch a lot of football? Drink a lot of mimosa's and chow down on Mom's Family Famous Clam Dip? Just me? Ok :-)

We had a great holiday around here! Everyone pitched in to bring different dishes, so my stress level was low. The turkey cooked in 3 hours and 15 minutes, instead of the 5 hours we planned on (one of my fears was that the bird wouldn't cook in time, or that people would eat raw turkey). We were pleased with that one. The Pecan Pie turned out just like the one I practiced on. Twas' a good day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Salmon, Gouda, & Fried Egg Sandwiches

Happy Tuesday morning y'all!

I'm here posting again on Tuesday (after I posted on Monday) because I don't think I'm going to be back to the blog until Friday. The hubby and I have a super-busy week.

Isn't it always like that around the holidays?

As I mentioned previously (actually, quite a while ago), the hubby and I are hosting Thanksgiving this year. Which means a lot more work than usual. Haha. Usually we are just grabbing a couple of things and heading out the hubby's sister's house. Not this year. So, the hubby and I will be cleaning house today, with tomorrow being a prep day for the holiday. We also have to babysit our niece and our nephews tomorrow before doing the prep work, which will add a extra kick of pressure tomorrow.  I figure, as long as the turkey is defrosted, the Clam Dip is made, and the Pecan Pie is done, I should feel ready for the holiday.

Should being the key word there :-)

Monday, November 23, 2015

25 Chocolate Recipes

Thanksgiving is upon us, my friends!

It's true, October would have been the perfect month for  25 Chocolate Recipes. That being said, I think November is a great month for this round-up too. For a couple of reasons-

#1. Not everyone likes Pecan Pie. Or Pumpkin Pie. I guarantee there's people out there that might want a chocolate dessert for Thanksgiving.

#2. Christmas and holiday baking are right around the corner. There are plenty of cookies, candies, and cakes in this round-up to choose for cookie swaps or last minute party gifts.

#3. I mean, it's chocolate. Come on. It's good 12 months out of the year. It's good for 52 weeks out of the year. It's good for 365 days out of the year. You get the picture.

So, yeah. Shall we jump right in?

*Warning- pictures may induce drooling, cravings, and a one-track chocolate brain. Proceed at your own risk :-)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Classic Pecan Pie

-plus tips on making your own pie crust!

Another Thanksgiving recipe!

Pecan Pie is a serious favorite around these Southern parts. People around here, and especially the hubby's family, love anything pecan pie. Anything pecan, really. Pecan Pie Cake? Yes, ma'am. Pecan Pie Shortbread Cookies? Oh, yes. Pecan Pie Milkshakes? Bring it on. So needless to say, I've been working on perfecting my classic pecan pie.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Peppers

Hello friends! Up on deck today, a vegetarian stuffed pepper. Filled to the brim with marinara sauce, rice, spinach, mushrooms, panko, and of course, cheese! These are a great alternative to the standard stuffed pepper that is usually filled with a meat mixture. Use leftover rice, and you've really got yourself a meal that seems like it would take a long time but actually comes together very fast.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

We are getting so close to Thanksgiving, I thought I would share my holy grail recipe for mashed potatoes. They are made with milk and sour cream, a sprinkle of fresh herbs, and the most important part, a truckload of freshly roasted garlic. Oh yeah. Don't make this recipe for date night, unless of course part of your date entails rebuffing the advances of vampires.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Recipe Redux: Oktoberfest Stew

Recipe Redux.

Recipe Re-do.

Whatever you want to call it, it's time for this month's Recipe Redux! This one is definitely a keeper. I've been making it ever since the hubby and I moved into our new house. Literally, I think this was THE first new recipe I ever made in my brand new kitchen. Let's take a walk down memory lane, shall we?

When the hubby and I moved out of our rental in Ashland, it was the most organized move I'd ever, well, organized. I was on top of my game. I started packing 4 weeks before our move-out date, and I went slowly, room by room. Each box I packed had a room marked on it that it should go to. Underneath the name of the room, I listed every. single. thing. in the box. It was the most helpful thing I'd ever done.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hard Root Beer Floats

You got me.

You figured out the real reason I wanted to post my 5-Ingredient Vanilla Ice Cream on Tuesday. I wanted to post it so I could gift you all with this recipe for root beer floats. Mwhahahaha.

Ah, root beer. I can honestly say that I had not had a root beer in many, many moons. I can't remember the last time I had root beer. I usually choose cream soda, but I digress. The hubby and I were at his cousin's baby reveal party back in September. The party was winding down, and there were just a handful of us relatives sitting around the pool at the cousin's mother-in-law's house. I don't know how the subject came up, but we started talking about root beer. To be more specific, we started talking about hard root beer. I'd never even heard of hard root beer, let alone tried one. I do remember thinking it was an excellent idea though... As luck would have it, the cousin's brother-in-law had brought a 6-pack of hard root beer that he was willing to share. Needless to say, I tried the frothy beverage.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

5-Ingredient Vanilla Ice Cream

Well, as always friends, I had the best intentions to blog on Monday. However, the day had other plans. You see, the hubby and I have been having the worst problems with DirecTv. We've been having multiple outages and our box resets every couple of hours. It's been happening more and more often since DirecTv merged with AT&T. Over the weekend, the hubby and I reached our breaking point and scheduled a technician to come out and switch our boxes. And our appointment just happened to be at 8 am yesterday. Prime blogging time for Jessica. I should have known there would be trouble.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Chicken Fajita Casserole

Chicken Fajitas? In casserole form?

You mean, no screaming hot plate of peppers and chicken to burn my hands on? No constructing-every-portion-as-you-go? And, if you aren't constructing fajitas along the way, does that mean no extraneous plates of toppings lying around that you will eventually have to wash later that night?

If all that hasn't convinced you, how about this? Layers of tortilla, Spanish rice, smoky chicken, and sautéed peppers and onions, all tied together with a super-cheesy queso sauce?

Yep. You had me at queso :-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Grown-Up Tuna Salad

Admittedly, it's November. That time of year when the weather is turning chilly, and everyone is craving food that's warm and comforting. Lasagna. Chili. Chowders. Meats slow roasted in the crock pot. Beef stews with potatoes and carrots. You get the idea. This salad is none of those things. But, if you are going to have all that comfort food for dinner, what are you going to have for lunch??

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Apple Cider & Pear Crumb Bars

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had 3 lonely pears sitting on my counter. 3 lonely pears that I had no idea what to do with. Yes, it is that time of year when pears are in season. I have a like-hate relationship with pears. They are one of my least favorite fruits. I don't know why, they just are. We actually had a pear tree in our backyard when I was a kid, and I can honestly say I never liked them. They are ho-hum when raw and fresh. They turn revolting when you can them in a sugary syrup. You were more likely to find me atop the plum or cherry trees as a tom-boy child than in the pear tree.

That being said, I keep trying to like them. I subscribe to the idea that I could eat anything as long as it is prepared the right way. So, I keep looking for ways to enjoy pears. Most of the time, this results in 3 to 4 pears being added to the compost pile. But this time, I found a delicious way to enjoy pears.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Autumn in Kentucky: October 2015

Hola! I'm here with a Saturday post to show you some beautiful October leaves here in Kentucky.

This (above) was the view of the road right after leaving my house. That is, until the leftovers of Hurricane Patricia went through the area, viciously taking down those oh-so-gorgeous October leaves we had going on. Well, boo to you Hurricane Patricia. We were having the most beautiful fall that I can remember around here. 

That could be because 2 years ago, we spent October in Oregon and last year we spent the last 2 weeks of October in Mexico... Hmmm...

At any rate, the hillsides have been awash of gold and red, with the occasional evergreen poking out here and there. If I were to go back and take pictures today (these were taken last weekend), everything would look vastly different. Plus, they would all be gloomy and gray and who wants to look at those right??

Friday, October 30, 2015

Chicken, Spinach, and Mushroom Melts

I love sandwiches. Love, love, love them. Before this summer and my guacamole-a-thon, I had been on a sandwich kick for a long time. A long, long time, eating a sandwich every day for lunch. I can't explain this behavior, it just is. I get stuck on something, and then I eat it. And eat it, and eat it, and eat it. Pretty much until I'm sick of it. So happened with my turkey sandwich. Here's the thing about my sandwich kicks- they last a long time and they always come back. When I lived in Oregon, I spent most of 2009 on a sandwich kick. The building I worked at had a cafeteria where I found the most magical turkey sandwich. I ate it almost every day that year. Yep, I'm that weirdo. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Blackberry Mojitos

Cocktail time!

This might seem like a summery drink to you. I say, what better time to remind myself of summer than when the remnants of Hurricane Patricia are passing over our parts? Our weather has rapidly changed from a mild, sunny Indian summer to a soggy, gray, dreary mess. Our leaves had turned the most beautiful colors, and now the wind has selfishly knocked most of them to the ground. Luckily, the hubby and I went out the day before the weather hit and took tons of fall pictures around the area. I took a lot of photos, so I'm hoping to edit them and post about fall leaves this weekend. Maybe I'll edit them tonight with a Blackberry Mojito in my hand? Hehe :-)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Beer-Battered Fish & Chips

This one's for you Dad! :-)

I cannot tell you how much my family loves fish and chips. When my younger brother and I were little, little kids, I can remember Skippers being a family favorite destination. We would get soooooo excited if my parents said we were going there. I mean, I know we loved the little red jello's that Skippers hands out with every meal, but we also liked the fish. And the chips. While Skippers is kind of a no-go these days, fish and chips is still a classic. It's one of those meals where if it's on a menu at a restaurant I'm currently calling on, I'm likely to choose it. That being said, the selection of fish and chips around these parts is sadly, nonexistent. The hubby and I love to go to our local brewery for pizza and beer, but I expressly avoid their fish and chips. First of all, they use haddock. Not a favorite of mine. Plus, they bread theirs and it doesn't have a lot of flavor. The other restaurants in town? They all seem to order (and serve) exactly the same frozen food, so I can honestly say, there's no where to get fish and chips around here. We'd have to drive an hour to Huntington, and needless to say, we don't do that often. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Lasagna Soup

Ah, a recipe other than chicken. It warms my heart.

In all seriousness, it does feel like the hubby and I have been on a chicken rampage. We already don't eat a lot of red meat, we rarely eat pork, and all the other animals are not nearly as affordable and easy to buy at the store as chicken. Plus, our local grocery store has a pretty decent selection of organic chicken. The free-range kind with no hormones or antibiotics type of chicken. It's 100% more expensive, which might be why we've cut down on all others meats, but it's better for everyone. 

Except maybe our wallet.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze

Last week I confessed that I'd had a doughnut pan for over 6 months that I hadn't tested out yet. There must be something about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) that made me want to change that. And since everyone, their mother, their mother's mother, and their 2nd-cousin-twice-removed is posting pumpkin recipes, I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring.

With homemade doughnuts! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Recipe Redux: Chicken Stroganoff

Time for this month's Recipe Redux! This month, I'm taking on one of our house favorites, Chicken Stroganoff. Beef Stroganoff is a childhood favorite of mine, and one that my mother made often. However, the hubby and I don't eat a lot of red meat. And if I have steak in the house, you can bet I'm not disguising it under stroganoff. So, we substitute chicken. Looking back at my original pictures, it was time for an update-

I'm always surprised what pictures lead people to my website. Shockingly enough, often times it's really old recipes. Like this one. I first posted Chicken Stroganoff on May 7, 2012.  Just in case you might have forgotten, here's what was happening the world when I first posted this recipe:

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What I Learned In My 2nd Year of Gardening

Well, I think it's time.

I officially put the garden to bed yesterday. Actually, I did most of the work on Friday before our first heavy frost. I was at the gym, walking on the treadmill, minding my own business when the local garden guy came on the news. He advised getting any vegetables you might have in the garden, out of the garden before the cold weather. I still had a few tomatoes and peppers on the vines, so I got to work. 

I pulled the last few green tomatoes, and put them in closed paper bags in the basement. They'll be ripe in a couple of weeks, and that will be a nice treat. I pulled up the tomato and pepper plants, and added them to the compost. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Soy & Citrus Marinated Chicken

I have found THE marinade.

The marinade above all marinades, the one that will make your toes curl and your mouth do the happy dance. It adds flavor. Saltiness. Moisture. And, it's oh-so pretty.

This happened on a typical weekend day for me and the hubby. True to form, we'd gone for a run and come home to collapse on the couch. Normally, we grab something while we are out to eat (usually beer and pizza, ahem), but we had decided to come home instead. I have a habit of always asking the hubby what he wants me to make for dinner. He has a habit of telling me to make whatever. He's notoriously non-committal when I needle him for suggestions. Not that day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

25 Things You May Not Know About Me: October 2015

Happy Wednesday friends!

I was all set to post a roundup of 25 chocolate recipes. Yummy, right? Then, I had a change of heart. We can get to those chocolate recipes at anytime. I decided to do something fun instead. Everyone likes to get to know the blogger behind the blog. I actually haven't done a post like this since June 28, 2013. I really tried to dig deep this time. So, enjoy! I'll be back with a new recipe on Friday :-)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Creme Brûlée Cake

You knew it was coming. I warned you. 

And now it's here. It was a smashing, delightful success that I must share. Soooooo good.

First, I must admit this is a decidedly untraditional cake. It's light, moist, creamy, and dreamy. It is the opposite of rich. Which is just crazy, because I was afraid the cake was going to be insanely rich. Not so. The cake is just perfect, airy but moist. The pastry cream is also surprisingly light. Together, they make a delicious combination. This is a very un-Southern cake, meaning when the hubby's Southern relatives tell me this cake would go excellent with coffee, I know it's a low-sugar cake. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic Butter


It's Friday, and I'm going to talk about Brussels sprouts? That most odiferous, often chucked-through-the-air-by-a-toddler, root-type vegetable that everyone seems to hate?

Yep. I sure am. Because Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite things. I'm one of those weird people that has always liked Brussels sprouts. Especially when crispy from the oven with a smidge of salt and melty garlic butter for dipping.

I even got the hubby to eat these. He is one of those aforementioned vegetable-throwing people. We've been together almost 10 years, and I can count on two fingers the amount of times I've seen him eat Brussels sprouts. One of those fingers was this recipe.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Creamy Tomato Pasta with Smoked Salmon

You might be asking yourself, "What is up with all the smoked salmon??" Well,  the answer to that is I can get very good smoked salmon around here. I can get fairly decent frozen salmon around here. I say fairly decent, because it's not fresh and to me, frozen salmon always has a different texture. A drier texture. I grew up on fresh salmon, and therefore am used to succulent, moist, delicious salmon. In Oregon, all it takes is a trip to Costco. Even though we lived about an hour from the coast, the grocery stores around us always had fresh fare.  Fresh fish is one of the things I miss most about Oregon. We tried a fresh salmon from our local big box store one time, and it was gross.  So, I stick to frozen fish and smoked salmon. Such is life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Frozen Blueberry Popsicles, 3 ways


Yes, you read that right. I'm posting popsicles today. In October. 

Summer may be long gone, but you know what? I don't care! I love popsicles. I really do. I eat them year round. Homemade popsicles are a great snack and one of my go-to's after dinner. Mine are mostly fruit, unlike those heavily preserved store bought ones that claim they are 0.000001% real fruit. These ones only require a few ingredients, and you can make them all year round by utilizing frozen fruit. Thank goodness for frozen fruit, I don't know how I'd survive all winter without it!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Oreo Cookies

Please forgive me. I'm all about the cookie lately. There's something about fall that makes me want to break out the pumpkin, the cinnamon, the spicy spices that make Spice Cake magical... so when I saw Pumpkin Spice Oreo's at the grocery store, I jumped. I grabbed 2 packages to put in the cart as the hubby rolled his eyes.

"More truffles?" He said, eyeing the cream cheese that was also in the cart.

"No," I said, nose in air. "I'll make something else."

In my head, I racked my brain. I had been planning on truffles. Now what?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

Oh yes.

It's that wonderful time of year to pull out your slow cooker again! Admittedly, there are some that use their crock pot throughout the summer. It's true, the slow cooker is a great way to cook something without raising the temperature of the home. However, what usually cooks in a slow cooker? 

Meats. The hubby and I don't eat a lot of meat in the summer, and if we do, it's from the grill. 

Soups and stews. We rarely eat soup and never stew in the summer. 

Those 3 items make up the majority of slow cooker recipes. They are all things that scream "COMFORT!!!" food. And "comfort" food almost always equates to fall and winter weather in my book.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bean and Rice Burrito Bowls

Y'all know I love Mexican. You should also know that burrito bowls are one of my favorite things ever. Ever. I love tortillas, so I love my burritos, but let's face it. A bowl full of the good stuff you usually cram inside the burrito can feel so much healthier than chowing down on a burrito-sized tortilla.  And, if you like lettuce in your burrito (call me Rabbit, cuz' I sure do!), it's almost like having a salad. Only the dressing is a combination of guacamole, salsa, and creamy beans which intertwine into the best possible partnership. Break out your tortilla chips, peeps, and let's talk burrito bowls!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Apple Pie Cookies

It's 5 am.

I'm up early, because the rest of the day is kind of busy. Yesterday, a girlfriend asked if I wanted to meet at the local Mexican restaurant for margaritas and lunch. Not the kind of girl to turn down tequila, I said hell yeah! Which means the hubby and I need to get out of the house and to the gym early today. 

So, yeah, it's 5 am on Friday, one of my bigger post days, and I'm just staring at multiple recipe posts I've got finished and ready to go. I can't pick one. I can't even think of what I'm going to write. One of those kind of days.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Oat Bars

Did you guys try my Carmelitas?

If you did, and you became *obsessed* with them like I did- you're in for a treat! These chocolate-peanut butter bites are basically a modification of their caramel counterparts. I feel like the Carmelita recipe is such a solid recipe that you can sub out the caramel and chocolate for other combinations, and win big.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pizza

Let me tell you about this pizza. It was an ordeal. This post has been a work in process since, well, ummm, sometime last year. I can never get it to look right. I make it quite regularly, but it's not my prettiest pizza. Last time I made it for pictures, I tried shredded chicken, yellow tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella bocconcini (those little mozzarella balls). It wasn't pretty. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015


What? Another Sunday post? Are you guys lucky or what?? :)

Truth be told, something magical happened at the homestead this summer that I just had to share. I introduced milkweed to my garden for the first time this year, and I was rewarded with butterflies. 

Lots and lots of butterflies.