3 ingredient cobbler! Say what? Nothing is that easy…, well it is, and it is really awesome. Delicious doesn’t always have to be complicated. It is super easy to make; you don’t even have to mix it. It simply consists of frozen berries (blueberry, blackberry, or raspberry), a white cake mix, and soda. I did add a little extra water… so maybe I should say 4 ingredients.
I was spending the day with one of my favorite people (my dad), and I wanted to make something with him from some spoils of his garden. I took out 3 cups of frozen raspberries he had picked for me back in the summer and made a couple super easy cobblers. One we took one to a friend on her baby’s predicted due date, and she tells me that between her and her husband, they knocked it out in 24 hours. Success! A few days later, the baby arrived healthy and beautiful! I am not saying the cobbler had anything to do with it, but I may just have to eat cobbler all the time if I am ever expecting. Heck, I think I would like to eat this cobbler everyday just because. If only it had the same nutritional profile as a carrot.
It is almost Christmas, and that means it is time for the annual sugar cookie baking event. It is a wonderful festive tradition for me to bake sugar cookies around this time of year, and I decided to put a little twist on the icing. Instead of adding food coloring, I added a little extra flavor and color with powdered green tea, also known as Matcha. Green tea icing!
It was a success! My husband had one bite, silently chewed with his eyes closed for a few long seconds (in which I was thinking uh-oh, is it not good), and then he said, “this is the best sugar cookie I have ever had in my life.” I must add though, that he is an avid green tea drinker and lover, and he had not eaten anything for hours and was super hungry when he tasted the cookie. I also shared these cookies with my grandparents, aunt, dog sitter, and even wrapped some up in saran wrap and tied it with ribbon to put in friends’ Christmas gifts. Everyone loves them, but then again, who doesn’t love a good cookie.
It tastes like a normal sugar cookie with a hint of earthiness from the icing. I made these sugar cookies with smart balance instead of butter, which I was worried about because it is so much softer. The dough was super sticky, but I refrigerated it for a couple hours then rolled out big handfuls at a time on a mound of flour.
Cookie decor station
And here is a close up of the most adorable thing I have ever tripped over in the kitchen…
Sugar cookies made with smart balance butter and green tea icing. Makes 60 cookies.
For the cookies:
1 cup Smart Balance Butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup all purpose flour (for rolling out dough)
1½ tbsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
For the icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
1tsp matcha (green tea powder)
1 tsp meringue powder
3 tbsp water
Beat smart balance butter, regular sugar, vanilla and egg until consistent
In separate bowl, combine 3 cups all purpose flour, baking powder and salt, mix then slowly beat into wet ingredients.
Refrigerate dough 2 hours.
With extra cup flour, pour out about ⅛ cup on surface to roll out dough, adding more with each new batch and as needed.
Take out ⅛ dough, pat down on small flour mound on rolling surface, flip it over pat down in flour, and then roll out to about 1 cm thickness. Cut dough with cookie cutter(s), transfer to un-greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F, for 12 minutes.
Make icing by combining powdered sugar and meringue powder, then in separate bowl mix matcha with water, then stir both mixtures together thoroughly.
Once cookies have cooled, ice cookies with knife and top with sprinkles if you wish.
This Gumbo is one of my all time favorites, and here’s why. A long long time ago, before my own little consciousness popped into existence, my dad learned how to make gumbo when he lived in New Orleans, from a restaurant he fondly refers to as a hole in the wall; off the beaten path. The restaurant itself was a little dirty maybe, but had the best lip smacking fresh seafood around, and has surely long since closed. However, it gave out a gumbo recipe to my dad who has had the legendary gumbo continued into existence, by transplanting it states away and years later into my delighted awareness and shortly thereafter my stomach. As far as I know it is not legendary to anyone else but me and my family yet, so let me know if this gumbo becomes legendary to you :D. My dad has been making gumbo for our family for years with his fresh east-coast catches; a trio of shrimp, oysters, and crab meat. It takes a little work, especially to harvest and prepare all that seafood, but it is ridiculously good. I am talking best meal of your life good. Sadly, my husband has not come to understand just how delicious seafood is, so for him, I made a chicken version of gumbo with a few extra vegetables to enhance the complexity it would lack from the lack of seafood, and that is the recipe you will see below. Believe it or not, it rivals the seafood version. I think I am going to make this for the annual Hoover family ski trip with my in-laws and friends this year. All picky eaters will rejoice! No person left behind at dinner time! The vegetables come out so tender and flavorful, you don’t even know you are eating them.
With an afternoon to spare, I enjoy making this gumbo with a glass of sweet tea in hand and listening to some tunes. Even better yet is making gumbo with my dad, the gumbo pro himself. He makes a beautiful golden roux, simply browned flour and butter, taking care not to burn it. If you burn your roux, throw it out and start over. A burnt roux will ruin your whole recipe and waste all your other precious ingredients.
<See that golden color, remember that color.
I hope this amazing recipe makes up for the last few post-less months. I know, its been more than a few….like six, but we have been busy buying and moving to a new house and going to a new school and getting a new job, etcetera, etcetera. Exciting stuff. I would say, it is just about as exciting as this gumbo.
Enjoy!, and try not to fight over the left overs the next day.
Sift flour in melted butter and brown on medium-low heat in nonstick skillet, stirring constantly until golden brown. Keep a close eye on this part, it is very easy to burn, and very important to the flavor of the while dish. Add to boiling water and turn the soup pot's heat to medium.
Sauté onions in olive oil until brown and add celery and peppers. Sauté for another 5 minutes then add to soup pot.
Drain okra and add to soup pot.
Sauté chopped chicken sausage until brown and add to soup pot.
Sprinkle salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes on raw chicken thighs after removing the skin.
Turn skillet on the highest heat possible and let chicken thighs sear on each side for 2 minutes each then add to soup pot.
Remove thighs after 20 minutes and remove meat from bone, set aside.
Let soup cook on medium-low for about 2 hours, or until vegetables are tender. Cover or add water as needed.
minutes before serving, add filé powder and thigh meat to soup pot and simmer. At this point, don't forget to make your rice
Serve your gumbo in bowls over a heaping scoop of rice and some garlic bread on the side.
*Filé powder is a herb made from the dried and ground Sassafras tree leaves
I love french toast. Its a quick and easy warm filling breakfast, and I wanted a quick and easy way to spice it up. This blue berry syrup transformed these regular joe pieces of french toast into a culinary delight, just bursting with maple syrup infused with rich fruity blue berries. I bet you could use other types of berries as well.
I just cooked and crushed 3/4 cups berries and added 1/4 cup of maple syrup, then poured it over my toast with a sprinkle of cinnamon and handful of fresh berries. The whole process of making my toast and my fancy smancy syrup took a whopping 10 minutes. I felt like super chef, it certainly tasted like a seriously super chef made it, and you can too! This made enough for 2 people who really like to pile on the syrup, as pictured.
The presentation combined with the delcious-ness makes it an instant crowd pleaser. So, I like to make it for get-togethers, and people seem to be so impressed by the simple braided crust and then are impressed by how yummy it is. I’ve tried experimenting with different seasonings and cheeses or making it without ground beef. I’ve found it is pretty much impossible to mess this recipe up, unless you burn it, drop it on the floor and the dog gets to it first.
This is just a fun and delicious way to make left over spaghetti special. Many times though, I make spaghetti specifically for this recipe.
Roll out dough, put spaghetti and cheese in the center. Cut slits in the dough and add a little pesto if you have it. Start folding
Keep going. Almost done! Easy as pie!
Add some Italian seasoning & sprinkle on some Parmesan….
1 Loaf Rhodes Bread Dough or 12 rolls of frozen bread dough
2 cups left over spaghetti (spaghetti noodles covered in meat sauce)
6 oz shredded cheese (mozzarella and/or asaigo and/or romano)
1 tbsp Italian spices (basil/oregano/thyme)
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp pesto (optional)
Extra sauce for dipping
Let frozen dough defrost in refrigerator overnight, on counter for 2 hours, or if pressed for time, microwave on low until workable.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Roll out dough on floured surface to the size of your cookie sheet or about 12x16 inches
Transfer dough to buttered cookie sheet
Add left over spaghetti in a heaping strip along center of dough, leaving about 3-4 inches on both sides. Add shredded cheese on top.
Cut about 20 slits in each side toward center, stopping ½ inch before reaching spaghetti. Make sure number of slits on each side are equal.
Add a smear of pesto on each strip (optional).
Start on one end and stretch strip over to the other side, at about a 45 degree angle.
Then bring strip on other side back over crossing the first strip at about a 45 degree angle. Keep alternating strip in criss-cross pattern until finished. Fold end up towards center if necessary.
Sprinkle with Italian seasoning then parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.
Serve with extra sauce for dipping if desired.
Rhodes bread dough is found in the frozen section. Alternatively use about 12 frozen rolls of dough to substitute for 1 loaf Use two Rhodes bread dough loaves and add more spaghetti/meat sauce to serve 6. Add 10-15 minutes cooking time.
Greek yogurt is so wonderful. It is full of protein and probiotics. I often use it to replace all kinds of ingredients in recipes. Depending on the recipe, I may use it to replace heavy cream, milk, or even ice cream such as in a smoothie.
I always use greek yogurt when making curry, I feel like it mellows out the spices. The first time I made this curry was for my boyfriend (now hubby), in college. I had never tried curry, but smelled it at some restaurant and craved it. We tried it, and are never going back. The flavor is rich and it transforms what ever vegetables I need use up into a exciting meal. I throw in chicken if I have it or cayenne pepper if the hubby is feeling spicy, and I like to serve it over thin rice noodles.
3 cups chopped vegetables (I used mushrooms, cauliflower, and carrots)
1 chicken breast (optional)
rice or rice noodles
DIce onion and brown in olive oil for 15 minutes in large nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add spices (garlic, curry, and gram masala) to onions and contuine sauteing for 3 minutes.
Turn heat down to medium low and mix in 2 cups milk, yogurt, tomato paste, and vegetables and simmer for 1½ - 2 hours or until desired tenderness of vegetables. Add more milk as needed to keep sauce from drying or burning.
Optionally, add cut up chicken breast and simmer for 20 more minutes.
Serve over rice or rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions.
Spring is here! The birds are tweeting, the sun is shining, and pollen is EVERYWHERE. Our cars are covered and I can literally see clouds of pollen floating from the trees with every gust of wind. I didn’t want to inhale all that yellow stuff so I decided to stay indoors and celebrate the arrival of spring with a smoothie
Actually this smoothie, has the consistency of soft serve ice cream, which is just how I like it. It feels like I am indulging in on icecream when in reality I am eating veggies and high protein greek yogurt. One of my favorite flavor combinations is chocolate and raspberries so I decided a nutella and raspberry smoothie would be perfect. I added a banana too, to get a creamy consistency, but the banana flavor is overtaken by the raspberry and nutella. I couldn’t help but put a little whip topping and chocolate syrup on top but that part is totally optional.
I love to make smoothies because they are so easy to make, easy to clean up, and are delicious. I have a dishwasher safe blender so I just throw my ingredients in the blender, blend, eat, and then the dishwasher cleans up for me. I love it.
Today is cause for celebration. Not only do I get to go see some family from Georgia this weekend, but I also didn’t have to work today! There were too many nurses on the schedule and I happily volunteered to go home. ..and make pie for everyone
Don’t get me wrong, I like my job. However, I also love family. And pie.
Chocolate and mint is one of the greatest flavor combinations of all time. Chocolate and raspberry is the other greatest dessert flavor combination, but since it is St. Patrick’s Day weekend we will stick to minty green for now. There are dozens of variations of grasshopper pies out there, some get pretty complicated and complicated doesn’t necessarily mean more delicious. This version is easy and there is no use of the stove top or baking needed! Just some stirring, chopping up cookies, and pouring. This pie has the creaminess of a minty cool whip layered on chocolate pudding and a crunch from a cookie crumb crust and chopped up mint chocolate cookies. I am not sure why it is called grasshopper pie; my best guess is the green color. I try to sneak veggies in recipes sometimes but I promise I did not sneak any grasshoppers in this pie.
The first time I made this was for my in-laws and they LOVE IT! I also love it, obviously, but surprisingly my hubby does too. He tends to be a chocolate purist and doesn’t like his chocolate tainted with other flavors. I mean the man passes up Reese’s for crying out loud! Nevertheless, this pie is just too good to pass up, even for him. Mm-mm, success.
I usually try to take pictures of food before I eat it, but this pie had already chilled in the freezer for a couple hours and the creamy minty cool whip, chocolate pudding, and crunchy cookie crumbs just called out to me. Sooo, I ate a bite or two between pictures.
All of a sudden my slice was gone, but it was all for the sake of the delicious looking pictures above, so of course I had to help myself to a second slice for more delicious looking pictures. And then eat that slice too
This salad is exciting. Using cabbage as the base I loaded it up with colorfully fun healthy veggies. That’s right, I called vegetables fun. I had a bunch of veggies in the fridge pleading with me to be used before they went bad, including mushrooms which I always always have in the fridge. A wasted mushroom is a sad day, and I had a whole cupful of mushrooms just days shy of the slime stage so something had to be done STAT.
Have I mentioned my addiction to mushrooms?! Its bad, I put them in and on everything. I have never ever ordered a mushroom-less pizza. I don’t know why I love them so, but I do. It is an irrational love. I can’t quite put my finger on it why they taste so good, and I am compelled to add them to almost every savory dish that comes out of my kitchen, but hey, many a people have been caught up in all kinds of irrational love way wilder than my mushroom love.
Back to this delicious roasted salad.
To make it more filling, I added potatoes to the mix. I found an assortment of red, white, and purple fingerling potatoes at a local store that sells cheap local produce called the Vegetable Bin. They have been in business for a century, and for good reason. I mean, who can resist buying purple potatoes?! I also can’t resist buying their locally made sourdough bread.
Sometimes I crave Chick-Fil-A, and those cravings usually happen Sunday. When they are closed :/
So I decided to try to recreate their lemonade, so I could satisfy just part of my Sunday afternoon craving. Their lemonade is nice and tangy, and not overly sweet. I like a kick in my lemonade and this copycat recipe delivers. It is so good on a hot day, which is already happening here in Charleston…in March. Crazy, but I am not complaining one bit. Yesterday we romped around on the beach with our pup. Romp romp romp.
No store bought lemonade can match the deliciousness of fresh squeezed lemonade. My hubby used to work at Chick-Fil-A and said he would cut up hundreds of lemons and use a machine that would squeeze them to create gallons of lemonade. The machine I used to squeeze these lemons is called a bicep. There is nothing wrong with ‘squeezing’ in a little work out in the kitchen. Hehe.