Healthy & Loaded Spaghetti Carbonara
Our family loves a good, hearty Italian dish, and this is a modified form of the delicious Spaghetti Carbonara I came up with based on whatever leftovers we had on hand this week. Because we’re big on eating protein in our foods, I added in some cooked chopped chicken (2 breasts boiled and chopped) I had done earlier in the day, the traditional recipe only uses chopped pancetta (a pork product very similar to bacon). We never typically have real bacon or pork products on hand, however we use different kinds of sausage to flavor meals fairly regularly, and this was the perfect time to use some beef sausage to capture that intense, aromatic and spicy flavor to go with the sauce… (CONTINUE READING)
Holiday Pies -Visually Beautiful & Deliciously Delightful
I’ve never been a baker. I LOVE to cook though, and reading cookbooks at night is something I’ve done for fun 🙂 Back when our oldest was little, and I had more time to venture out, we would go to a beautiful bookstore, and he’d play while I thumbed through French Cookbooks – even the memory of that is so blissful! (CONTINUE READING)
Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
This is the epic soup of Fall. The combination of all the ingredients with their surprisingly opposite notes of flavor (onions + maple syrup anyone??), all came together to almost taste like a prelude to a Thanksgiving dinner. It was like eating a Thanksgiving Soup!
Anyway, I’ve never successfully made this soup before, I think I have tried maybe 2 years ago or so, and failed miserably – somehow it just tasted horrible. But this recipe I found at our local grocery store (HEB for you Texans) was a new spin on the traditional Butternut Squash Soup…. (CONTINUE READING)
Creamy Poblano Soup & Taco Soup Recipes
I love a good, hearty, hot soup in when the weather gets cooler, or for those freezing Winter nights of which we have very few here in Texas. This soup was just amazing! I modified a recipe from Epicurious, adding in about a pound of ground beef seasoned with garlic, cumin, and pepper spices, substituting heavy whipping cream for a large can of Cream of Mushroom soup, and adding in a cup of our favorite salsa to add a little more kick, and omitting the butter altogether (it doesn’t need it!).
The roasted poblano peppers really make this soup sooo delish! It’s hard to stop eating it! (CONTINUE READING)
Pico de Gallo & Low Calorie Taco Salad
We had an exciting and long day trip yesterday… our summers are like that, full of long, hot and humid days, seeing beautiful sights around our area, taking in the sunlight and baking in the heat. We were out all day, playing in the heat and water, and came back for dinner and watching Pirates of the Caribbean. Another severe thunderstorm came in the dead of night, waking everyone up except our oldest, but because of yesterday’s hot adventure, we slept in and awoke to a beautiful, bright morning.
I was planning on making some pico de gallo to go with some refried beans I made from this recipe (modified to add Kosher salt while mashing beans and diced cilantro). Pico de gallo is like the taste of a crisp fresh Summer, and makes me actually crave tequila Margaritas…. (CONTINUE READING)
Summer Food & Snacks
So I’ve been a health-food nut for awhile now…. I grew up eating pretty healthy, my mother was the one who cooked, and even though she worked a full-time job she still made sure we ate low-fat, non-greasy, mostly homemade foods. But because she was working so much, about half the food we consumed was packaged and processed foods – foods that are low in nutritional value and protein, but high in salt & fat (making them addictive and easy to over-eat), additives, and preservatives. Now that I’m a wife and mother, I’ve managed to largely cut out most of the processed foods we eat daily. Sure we still have some crackers in our pantry, I still sometimes cook with flour, and we let our son eat white bread, but the majority of the food we eat is as close to homemade or natural as we can get or make. We eat this way because our health is a priority to my husband and I. We are an active family, constantly going, and I want to be active even in our old age together, and that starts with what you take into your body…. (CONTINUE READING)
I’ve always wanted to try out a recipe with Israeli Couscous… and why not in a celebratory way of kicking off a hopefully scorching summer? This was easy, quick, and full of wonderful aroma and taste, amazing if you’re in any kind of rut emotionally or sensually… (CONTINUE READING)
Mexican Chili Rellenos
Last night I decided to make a traditional Mexican dish called Chili Rellenos, poblano peppers that are stuffed and fried in a creamy batter. We don’t usually eat fried stuff, and the last time I made fried chicken we had to eat it outside because the oil (never use Extra Virgin Olive Oil to fry) smoked so badly it filled the whole house!
I was surprised to find that most Chili Relleno recipes only call for cheese to be the ingredient in the stuffing, every plate of Chili Relleno I’ve eaten in our area of Texas has always had hearty ground beef inside, so I’ve moderated the recipe to include beef and cheese. It’s fairly healthy for “fried food,” with the beef adding an element of protein… (CONTINUE READING)
Chorizo, Egg, & Biscuit Breakfast Casserole
Delicious, protein-packed, perfect for a crowd-pleaser dish… you won’t want to stop eating it! I made this a couple of days ago for a group of women I meet with every week for Bible study. It’s kind of like a breakfast feast every week as people bring tacos, donuts, fruits, yogurts… it’s like we lure people in with the food, honestly!
Another recipe that would have been great would have been the Breakfast Egg-Muffins, individual so that your guests wouldn’t have to bother with serving… just grab n’ go… (View Recipe)
10 Minute, Homemade, Salted Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Being a mom of a new little one + my rowdy 4 year old, I appreciate recipes that are quick and delicious – this Salted Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup recipe is beyond amazing, full of protein & low in fat, and takes literally 10 minutes or less to throw together!
I’m amazed at how fast this was… and how beautiful the results are – these are perfect Valentine’s Day treats to give to a love or to friends or family…. (CONTINUE READING)
Simple, Warm, Delicious Refried Beans
Refried beans are the simplest dish to cook if you’re wanting an incredible, homemade taste of Mexican-American style beans. My oldest son (4), is crazy about the warm bean & cheese breakfast tacos we eat here (at any time of day) in Texas… and it’s great to be able to whip up a big easy batch of refried beans to sate his cravings 🙂 … (CONTINUE READING)
Perfect Sugar Cookies & Royal Icing
I’ve been doing sugar cookies with my son every December, and I’m always on the lookout for ways to make the process easier or less overwhelming so that the fun remains the priority in our baking and decorating for Christmas! Since I’m especially visual when it comes to baking (I need to know what the texture is supposed to look like), this year I’ve found two youtube videos that perfectly show how easy it is to 1) make the sugar cookies from scratch and 2) make EASY Royal Icing that looks so beautiful and is so easy to decorate any … (CONTINUE READING)
Beefy & Cheesy Tamale Pies
We’ve finally come to a night in Texas that’s actually cold – nevermind the added pleasure of it being rainy and windy out! As much as I enjoy our hot, lazy summers, I love this weather just as much – if not more, for the welcome changes of Fall & Winter.
Fall foods delicious! This is a recipe we tried last month, Tamale Pie – a flavorful combination of classic cornbread, ground beef, enhilada sauce & generous amounts of cheese. Ohhh so yummy for a cold night! … (CONTINUE READING)
This month we’ve made a couple of cookie cakes – one just the size of a personal pizza, and then one really large one (the size of a pizza pan) for a party. These taste amazing, from a homemade chocolate chip cookie dough recipe from GOOP. It’s truly easy to do – easier than making cookies even because it takes less time! And yet it tastes richer than the commercial cookie cakes they overprice.
Enjoy! (CONTINUE READING)
I’ve never fallen into the whole pumpkin spice everything craze before this year, but since we absolutely love homemade baked treats, I decided to do it this year… and we were so grateful we tried this recipe from Pop Sugar !
I made two different batters (splitting the recipe equally): one with the espresso powder (for the Latte Muffins), and one that was simply regular Pumpkin Spice for my 4 year old… (CONTINUE READING)
Growing up I always hated eating apples… I was sadly, a very picky, spoiled eater. Thankfully, I’ve outgrown this and now enjoy eating things like raw spinach almost daily, apples, along with a variety or fruits and vegetables I never would’ve otherwise wanted to try. Cooking (and dabbling a little in baking) is what has broadened my horizons to the tastes of new foods, and this Apple Kuchen, although something I never would’ve eaten before (blame the sweet baked apples on top), is something I’m excitedly glad I tried & loved… (CONTINUE READING)
Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli
I love Italian food – I love learning how to cook this delicious kind of food in our home, at much cheaper price than eating out! We rarely go to Olive Garden, but we went awhile back, and since this pregnant woman here has become obsessed with soups as of late, I ordered this tasty starter. It’s an amazing and delicious twist on the original Italian countryside dish. Pasta e Fagioli is a combination of pasta and beans – hence why it was prevalent across the country, from the Mediterranean to the Alps … (CONTINUE READING)
Mouth-Watering Chicken Tortilla Soup
There’s nothing quite like really great homemade food – food that tastes so good, you feel like you’re eating from a wonderful restaurant. This soup falls into that category – definitely a keeper in our family! It was so amazing that we almost couldn’t stop getting refills!
I had made plans a couple of weeks ago to figure out how to make a really great tortilla soup, I bought the chicken broth… (CONTINUE READING)
Delicious Homemade éclairs
Our family loves to eat… and cook, but I’ve honestly never been strong at baking anything, I don’t know why, but baking has always seemed more of a mystery to me. When we were at the bookstore about a month ago, I saw this cookbook cover and was immediately taken in by the eclairs. They are hands-down my favorite pastry, and I couldn’t resist looking at the recipe to see how exactly they are made from scratch. Pretty easy… I thought… (CONTINUE READING)
St. Patrick’s Day Homemade Spinach & Kale Fettucine Alfredo
I’m a sneaky Mommy, and I don’t play by the rules. Always one to look for ways to sneak vegetables into dishes so that my son will unknowingly devour something tasty and yet get some vitamins in him at the same time. This last week I wrote the post on how to make your own pasta from scratch, with a promise to provide my journey through making Spinach or Kale pasta. I’m so proud of how it turned out – it was so temptingly good that the moment I snapped the last pictures and mixed it in with the Alfredo Sauce, I ate some! (CONTINUE READING)
Homemade Pasta Noodles w/ Springtime Asparagus & Ham
Pasta that you make yourself is “sublime.” It’s hard to even describe how differently it tasted, the pasta had flavor! It actually absorbed the salt from the boiling water that it cooked in – it actually tasted like “egg noodles…” (CONTINUE READING)
Chicken Bacon Tomato = The Perfect Pita Sandwich!
This is one of my family’s favorites, it’s also pure comfort food that can be made in a variety of ways in order to be healthier. Every time I go to a sandwich shop, I tend to order this kind combination, it’s like I’m stuck in de ja vu. There’s something about chicken, bacon, tomatoes with a white sauce or white cheese – hot or cold, that just hits the spot… (CONTINUE READING)
Fudge Chocolate & Red Velvet Cupcakes
So delicious. Made these for my husband’s 29th birthday! There’s nothing like rich chocolate cake topped with creamy fudge icing.
Breakfast Egg Muffins – Easy & Healthy
I love to cook… with all the mistakes there are to be made, you’d think it’d be frustrating at time, which if I’m honest, then yes, it really is. But when you create a recipe that is amazing, the frustrations don’t seem so bad. I made 24 egg muffins this past Monday, and yes, there was a huge mistake that you dear readers, get to learn from… (CONTINUE READING)
Vanilla Scones from Starbucks (recipe here).
My little family & I love these petite vanilla scones from Starbucks. With each a White Chocolate Mocha favorite and 3 of these, we are set for a bitter winter afternoon such as earlier today.
In case you’re wanting to make these delicious little delights of sweet – although not too sweet – vanilla flavor, here is the recipe.
Tracy Anderson’s Chili + Black Beans = Burritos
I love this tiny woman, and this chili recipe was amazing. I altered it to add my own black bean recipe because in my mind, they taste amazing together in a wrap or burrito. We use those large spinach tortillas since they are our favorite, but you can also get tomato or even jalapeno tortillas to go with this and any kind of wrap you’d want… (FOR RECIPE CLICK HERE)
Magnolia’s Sweet Potato Muffins
I love cooking & baking, my mom, who also loves to labor in the kitchen, gave me a novelty cookbook for New Year’s, The Show Boat Cookbook (Southern Cooking from the Banks of the Mississippi) by June Jackson. It is wonderful! It is not the most healthy of course, but it’s good to have balance in your life with food, as with everything else. You can always substitute different flours like almond flour instead of the gluten… (CONTINUE READING)
For Traditional Chocolate Tarte, click here.
Easy 5-Minute Pie Crust:
- Butter a 9-inch pie plate or skillet and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Cut in the shortening and butter with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- Gradually add enough ice water to the mixture while mixing with a wooden spoon until a ball of dough is formed.
- Pour the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of plastic wrap and form into a disc. Lightly flour the top of the pie dough and place another sheet of plastic wrap on top. Rolling from the center, roll until the dough is about a ⅛-inch thickness. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap, fold the dough over and lay across the pie plate and remove the bottom piece of plastic wrap. Press the pie dough lightly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Cover the pie plate with a piece of the plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to overnight.
- If pre-baking, use a fork and lightly prick the bottom and sides of the pie dough.Then preheat the oven to 425º F and bake the pie crust for about 8 minutes.
- If not pre-baking, simply fill the pie crust with pie filling and bake according to instructions for the pie recipe.
Sweet Potato Pie:
makes 1 pie
- basic pie dough (can be store bought to save time)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups pureed cooked sweet potatoes (from about 1-4 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Roll the dough around the rolling pin, and then fit it into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate without stretching it. Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. With a pair of scissors or a paring knife, trim the edges of the dough to form a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang over to form a high edge, and with your fingers, crimp the dough all around. Refrigerate.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until well combined. Whisk in the milk, sour cream, whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Whisk in the mashed sweet potatoes.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook until the butter foams; then continue cooking until the foam subsides and the butter turns a rich brown. Immediately pour the browned butter into the sweet potato mixture and whisk until incorporated.
4. Place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and pour the mixture into it. Bake for 1 hour, or until the pie is set with a slightly wobbly center. Cool on a rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled
(from GOOP & The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook)
Easy Marshmellow Cream:
8 oz Marshmellows
1. Pour marshmellows into a microwavable bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute (depending on your microwave)
WATCH THE MARSHMELLOWS,
not only is it fun to watch them almost blow up, you will be able to effectively stop them from covering the inside of your microwave with sticky goo.
2. Stop when they look like they will blow their top, and whisk with a fork to create marshmellow cream
3. Wait until your pie has completely COOLED, trying to put it on and continue to bake is a disaster. Once it’s cooled, whip up the marshmellows and creamed them on top with a fork, it will then, look perfect.
Creamy Potato Soup
This recipe is delicious, I kind of made it up while trying to adhere to the Joy of Cooking instructions on their version. My family and I enjoy it – it has been our fall and winter treat as it is amazing on cold nights. The aroma also fills your house with the most delicious & mouthwatering smells imaginable. Take this recipe with a grain of salt (Kosher salt please), manipulate it according to your tastes, likes and dislikes, it’s hard to go wrong with potato soup but you must keep playing with it to discover the kind of texture and flavor you desire.
- 6 to 8 smaller baking potatoes (or 4 to 5 large ones)
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 stick butter
- 4 to 5 sausage links diced
- 1/2 to 1 cup of onion diced (depends on your taste)
- 5 oz of cream of chicken soup (this is half a large can, it can also be celery or potato or mushroom)
- 1 to 2 cups white cheese (mozzarella, monterry jack, even parmesian or another variety of your taste)
- 1 tbs Kosher salt, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil (these are great together, but use whatever spices you love – Kosher salt melts into meats and sauces extremely well though)
Boil potatoes until they are soft and easy to slice (20 to 30 minutes depending on their size), once done, put in large bowl and slice them to break them up (mashing is not needed, however if you desire a smoother soup go ahead and mash)
While boiling the potatoes, take time to dice the sausage and onion and saute them together in pan over medium heat
Add the broken up and softened potatoe pieces into the pan with the sausage and onion, add the milk, butter, and cream of chicken soup. Cook over low heat, more of the potatoes will blend into the cream and milk.
Add the cheese and cook for 10 minutes being careful to stir occasionally, and ta-da! You’ve just created the most savory, delicous fall or winter soup imaginable.
(November 13, 2013)
Cinnamon Apple Turnovers
I take so much joy in cooking…. Food, to me, is like art – that you can eat! These delicous, quaint apple turnovers are directly from The Joy of Cooking cook book, and while it does take some time and effort, the rewards are indeed sweet. Set your oven to 425′
- 1 pound Food Processor Puff Pastry or 1 recipe Deluxe Butter Pie or Pastry Dough (I actually just used Crescent Rolls, it is the same idea of dough, but less fattening and come pre-made)
- 1 pound apples (I actually used 2-3 pounds, Thanksgiving is this week and we will use these as mini apple pies)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of salt (I used Kosher)
-Peel, core, and dice the apples into 1/4″ pieces. (This took a lot of time with that many apples, but while I was peeling, cutting and dicing, our kitchen filled with the beautiful crisp smell of fresh apples. And once they were baking, the whole house filled with their warm cinnamon scent! This is why I love cooking).
–Mix the diced apples in a large mixing bowl with all the other ingredients (lol I had to use one of our party punch bowls to fit all the apples! … Note to self: get a bigger mixing bowl if you’re going to cook so much.)
-Roll out your Crescent roll triangles and place them down on a cookie sheet/pan lined with foil and greased, spread them out evenly and spoon a couple tablespoons of the apple mixture on the center of each triangle.
-Take the edges of the triangles and fold them over to make little pastries – don’t worry about covering completely the apple mixture.
-Put the sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then bake on the lower rack at 425′ for 15 minutes, then lower the temp to 350′ and bake for 20 more minutes (I actually skipped the refrige part and directly baked them for 15 minutes, then lowered it to warm and baked another 15 minutes – they came out wonderfully).
My husband, who absolutely loves all things apple, definitely approved! He’d never had apple turnovers before, but these definitely went to the top of his list of favorite desserts.
Enjoy this cold weather – and enjoy some cinnamon, buttery, apple turnovers.