It’s that time of year again! My friends in Louisiana are rolling out the floats, lining up their ladders and getting ready to celebrate Mardi Gras. Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras Day, but the parades and festivities start long before that. By Tuesday, however, the town will be packed from end to end with visitors from all over the world, who love to call New Orleans home for a few days every year and party like there’s no tomorrow. Come Wednesday though, the streets are quiet, the celebrations cease, and the community turns towards the season of Lent. Read more...(949 words, 8 images, estimated 3:48 mins reading time)
OK, so these aren’t truly spooky in the creepy, Halloween sense of the word. They are spooky in the, “How does that work? Why does that work?” kind of way. Seemingly mild-mannered ingredients, a simple recipe, and then…a strange kick in the pants. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.
A couple of weeks ago, I visited my daughter Avery’s classroom and read a story to the kids. Her class had been talking about apples and Johnny Appleseed all week, and I decided to read a sweet little book called The Apple Pie Tree to them. In the story, a family watches through the seasons as their backyard apple tree works to bring them delicious fall apples for their apple pie. This led to a discussion with the kids, and Avery’s teacher, about our favorite apple recipes. Read more...(828 words, 9 images, estimated 3:19 mins reading time)
Yesterday, the temperature outside finally dove into “almost chilly”. It was wonderful! It’s creeping back up into “warm” today, but yesterday sure did feel like fall. To celebrate the occasion, I decided to put together a dish I’d come across that looked to epitomize fall. I found this recipe while looking around for ways to use the preserved lemons that I’d made. When I started the lemons, though, it just wasn’t quite time yet for this type of dish. Now that we’re into October, and I can confidently wear jeans and a long sleeved shirt outside without turning into a puddle, we’re good to go. Read more...(804 words, 9 images, estimated 3:13 mins reading time)
If you added up all of the snacks you eat in a month, how much of it was healthy? How much did you spend on those snacks? How many of those snacks left you feeling satisfied and happy with your decision?
If you’re like me, you eat at least one snack a day, or are sometimes in such a hurry that grabbing a handful of something constitutes breakfast or lunch. It’s not the best way to go about things, but it’s the truth. Some days, I just don’t have time to sit down for a full meal before dinner, so I have a couple of snacks throughout the day instead. I’m always on the lookout for healthy snacks. Snacks that fill me up, silence the grumble in my stomach, and don’t leave me with that “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I wasted the calories on that candy bar, and now I’m starving” guilt. Read more...(1372 words, 9 images, estimated 5:29 mins reading time)
Yesterday was just one of those days that called for a hefty dose of chocolate. I couldn’t get away from it. It had to happen.
I came across this recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies a while ago and have been saving it for one of my “Ugh…ME NEED CHOCOLATE” days. It was the perfect thing. Read more...(962 words, 7 images, estimated 3:51 mins reading time)
I love my slow cooker and I use it every chance I get, but when I have a little more time to mess around in the kitchen and I don’t need to prepare dinner 8 hours in advance, I often turn to braising when I want that slow cooked taste. When you braise meat or veggies, you’re essentially turning a pot on the stove or the pot in your oven into a slow cooker. Braising involves browning the meat quickly with some oil, adding some liquid and then simmering the mixture over low heat. Braising can turn more economical, tough cuts of meat into tender, luscious morsels and the slow cook time helps flavor the meat through and through. Read more...(838 words, 7 images, estimated 3:21 mins reading time)
One of my husband’s favorite cookies is just an old-fashioned Snickerdoodle. There’s nothing particularly mind-blowing about a Snickerdoodle, but they are really tasty. That said, I’ve never been able to bake up a Snickerdoodle recipe that lived up to my expectations of what one should be. I want a moist, chewy cookie. Nothing cakey, nothing dry. Nothing I’d need to dunk in my milk (or coffee). My sister-in-law, Kelly, makes excellent Snickerdoodles. They are perfect every time! I’ve tried her recipe, drilling her for information and baking secrets beforehand, and still can’t get them to work. Every Snickerdoodle I’ve ever baked just didn’t come out quite right. To be honest, I’d given up hope. I’d told my husband that when we’re able to spend time with his family, he’d get his Snickerdoodles, but until then he was out of luck. Read more...(891 words, 7 images, estimated 3:34 mins reading time)
Chili is a tricky dish. It’s not hard to make, but I’ve found that it’s a very personal, almost religious, experience depending on where you are in the country. If you’re in or around Texas, you may prefer your chili heavily spiced and heavy on the meat (not ground…God forbid) with no mention of beans, except possibly on the side. Other areas of the country will insist that chili just isn’t chili without beans and ground meat. Then, there’s chicken chili (which just truly offends chili purists) and even Southwestern Chili Verde. Read more...(903 words, 6 images, estimated 3:37 mins reading time)
In a world where it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas earlier and earlier each year, I stand firm in my belief that the house doesn’t need to be decorated for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. It’s our family tradition to decorate the house the weekend after turkey day, as we’re enjoying the leftovers. This year, as I was thinking about getting the house together, I remembered a wonderful recipe for Hot Buttered Rum that a friend passed along to me years ago. Once I remembered it, I couldn’t get it out of my head! Thankfully, it doesn’t take long to make a batch, so my craving was easily taken care of. Read more...(701 words, 7 images, estimated 2:48 mins reading time)
If you could bake a cookie to represent each season, what would you bake? To me, each season has its own distinct “flavor”. When I think of winter, I imagine a minty, cool cookie (next to a mug of cocoa). Spring brings thoughts of sugar cookies with pretty little sprinkles, each one like a new flower ready to bloom. Summer makes me think of lemon bars and sunshine. After spending some time in the kitchen this morning with this recipe, I now know that this is my new fall cookie. All of the wonderful, savory spiciness of fall can be found in this sweet, easy oatmeal cookie recipe. Read more...(741 words, 7 images, estimated 2:58 mins reading time)