Monthly Archives: December 2014

Raspberry Cobbler

Raspberry Cobber


raspberry cobbler

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.

3 ingredient cobbler

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.

Berries are good for you though…

cake mix cobbler

Raspberry Cobber
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Super easy berry cobbler, no mixing involved!
  • 3 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 12 oz soda, blackberry izzy
  • ½ cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Pour berries in large casserole dish or two small ones, so that berries are about an inch deep.
  3. Pour dry cake mix on top of berries, do not mix
  4. Pour soda and water evenly across top of cake mix, do not mix
  5. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Uncover, and if there are any big chunks of dry exposed cake mix, press down with fork
  7. Bake uncovered for another 30-45 minutes or until top is browned.
  8. Serve


Raspberry CobblerBerry Cobbler


Sugar Cookies


Sugar cookiessugar cookies with green tea icingIMG_3061IMG_3062IMG_3064

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!

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.

sugar cookies with natural food coloring

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.

IMG_2996IMG_2998IMG_3001IMG_3004IMG_3010IMG_3008IMG_3074 Cookie decor station

Christmas Cookies


And here is a close up of the most adorable thing I have ever tripped over in the kitchen…IMG_3043


Sugar Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 60 cookies
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
  • sprinkles (optional)
  1. Beat smart balance butter, regular sugar, vanilla and egg until consistent
  2. In separate bowl, combine 3 cups all purpose flour, baking powder and salt, mix then slowly beat into wet ingredients.
  3. Refrigerate dough 2 hours.
  4. With extra cup flour, pour out about ⅛ cup on surface to roll out dough, adding more with each new batch and as needed.
  5. 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.
  6. Make icing by combining powdered sugar and meringue powder, then in separate bowl mix matcha with water, then stir both mixtures together thoroughly.
  7. Once cookies have cooled, ice cookies with knife and top with sprinkles if you wish.

sugar cookies

Chicken Gumbo

Chicken Gumbo

Chicken Gumbo

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 Chicken Gumbohad 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.

IMG_2880Chicken GumboChicken GumboChicken GumboIMG_2912Chicken Gumbo

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.

Rue<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.

Chicken Gumbo

Chicken Gumbo
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Cajun
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Chicken, chicken sausage, sweet bell peppers, and okra served over rice. Pairs great with a side of garlic bread. So good, you will think you're in New Orleans.
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 can okra, 8 oz
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 4-6 cups water
  • 1 pack Korr home style chicken stock (alternatively 2 chicken bullion cubes)
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 14oz chicken sausage
  • 1 tbsp Filé powder*
  • salt and pepper and red pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • rice
  1. Boil 4 cups water in soup pot.
  2. 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.
  3. Sauté onions in olive oil until brown and add celery and peppers. Sauté for another 5 minutes then add to soup pot.
  4. Drain okra and add to soup pot.
  5. Sauté chopped chicken sausage until brown and add to soup pot.
  6. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes on raw chicken thighs after removing the skin.
  7. Turn skillet on the highest heat possible and let chicken thighs sear on each side for 2 minutes each then add to soup pot.
  8. Remove thighs after 20 minutes and remove meat from bone, set aside.
  9. Let soup cook on medium-low for about 2 hours, or until vegetables are tender. Cover or add water as needed.
  10. minutes before serving, add filé powder and thigh meat to soup pot and simmer. At this point, don't forget to make your rice
  11. 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


Blueberry Syrup

Blueberry Syrup

Blueberry Syrup

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.

Blueberry SyrupBlueberry SyrupBlueberry Syrup

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.

Blueberry Syrup

Blueberry Syrup

Blueberry Syrup
Recipe type: Breakfast topping
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • ¾ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup
  • cinnamon (optional)
  1. Rinse off berries and heat in saucepan until easily crushed.
  2. Crush until most of the berries have burst
  3. Add syrup to blue berries and heat until warm
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon and any extra fresh berries