Category Archives: recipes

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

The lows are in the 50s this week in Memphis and so fall recipes are on my brain. This one serves six to eight by itself. If you serve with a frittata or breakfast casserole, much more.

3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
salt (several hearty dashes)

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp melted butter
2 large eggs

1/2 c. – 1 c. chopped apple
1/2 c. – 1 c. pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 2 1/2 – 3 qt. casserole dish. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients until smooth and add to dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Pour into dish and bake covered for about 45 minutes (until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.) Serve with milk and/or yogurt.

This is a quick iPhone shot. I have yet to master food photography while serving. Food is for eating, after all!

(Adapted from The Sweets Life.)

Recipe Roundup II

Baked Sweet Potato Fries from Cookie + Kate: pretty good, but my technique needs work, I hate trying to flip baked fries. It would also be nice to come up with the perfect dipping sauce.

Beef & Broccoli from Steamy Kitchen: Awesome, but I expected nothing less (used regular broc b/c I couldn’t find Chinese.) For the record, the only blogger cookbook I own is from SK, until the Smitten Kitchen one comes out, at least :)

Speaking of Smitten Kitchen, Lord have mercy, Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake was so very delicious.

Chicken, Corn & Zucchini Enchiladas from Real Simple: Healthy and delicious! Made twice, preferred flour tortillas. Salsa topping can be skipped.

Grilled Balsamic-Garlic Crusted Pork Tenderloin from Kitchen Confidante: Pretty good, but hard to mess up pork tenderloin, honestly.

July Recipe Roundup

Here are some recipes around the internet I’ve tried lately. If I tweak a recipe and really love it, I will try to give it a post of its own as I have in the past.

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes from Eating Well: I subbed basil for the oregano and they were delicious.

Eggplant & Mozzarella Melt from Everyday Food: Really thick but pretty good, Lexi ate eggplant, so that’s a win.

Greek Chicken Salad from Annie’s Eats: I didn’t follow the recipe, just used the idea of taziki instead of mayo, added tomato and feta, and felt like it needed a little something more so I added a little bit of balsamic vinagrette.

Roasted Pork Chops and Peaches from Real Simple: I liked it but I probably wouldn’t make it again.

Taziki Sauce from Susie: very good and very cucumber-y!

Things I’d Commend To You

S’Mores Pie: I use semi-sweet chocolate and large marshmallows (my kitchen is candy thermometer-less – birthday wish!) I broil the final step on low until the marshmallows are big and puffy and then high to brown. It’s easy and delicious.

Half-Pint Handouts: Megan gives things away. You can win them. I’ve won TWICE. Yay for her diligence in securing great giveaways and hurrah for winning things.

New Orleans Snowballs: My favorite summer treat, but since we moved away from Austin, we have not coexisted with a place. Apparently one just opened in Birmingham to mock me. If you happen to be lucky enough to live where they serve snowballs, get yourself one, stat.

Downton Abbey: Only 7 episodes long (each UK season series is too blasted short!) but so marvelous. Must see during the summer hiatus.

Chocolate Bread Pudding


1 day-old baguette torn into small pieces
2 c. half and half
1/3 c. sugar
dash salt
1/2 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
6 oz bittersweet chocolate in small pieces
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon butter, cut into pieces

Butter a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. If your baguette is new or still moist, heat the pieces at 200 until it starts to dry (but not toast). Place dry pieces in the baking dish, mostly filling it (if you have too much, eat some.)

Heat half and half, sugar, salt and espresso powder until hot (but not boiling) whisking regularly to mix well. Remove from heat, add chocolate, let stand for 90 seconds or so. Whisk until smooth. Beat eggs together in a separate bowl , then slowly add chocolate mixture, whisking as you go. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Pour mixture over bread and let soak at room temperature, pressing bread down occasionally for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Boil some water for a hot water bath. Place bits of butter on top of the pudding. Place pudding dish in a larger dish, adding hot water to the larger dish until it reaches halfway up the side of your pudding dish. Bake in this hot water bath until edge is set but center still trembles slightly, 35-40 minutes. Pudding will continue to set as it cools.

Serve with fresh whipped cream, either unsweetened or very lightly flavored. Serves 6. (If you double this, I’d recommend using two dishes for faster setting and an easier time with water baths.)

King Cake

As we near the end of Christmas, I thought I’d share some resources for celebrating Epiphany. Here’s a recipe I’ve used for king cake. We’re going to a Twelfth Night gathering, so we’ll bring it there, but it would be very appropriate for Epiphany day (the 6th.) It’s transcends the breakfast and dessert line. Different cultures have different traditional king cakes, so if you have a particular cultural heritage or culture you are studying, it could be fun to make their king cake!

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast or 1 package instant yeast
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup butter softened (I use salted)
2 tablespoons sugar
grated zest of one lemon (reserve about a teaspoon)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups flour
Continue reading

Very Chocolate Cheesecake

I’ve made this in both 8 and 10 inch versions and it’s been very well received by cheesecake lovers as well as those who don’t typically delight in cheesecake. This is a great first cheesecake recipe, it’s fairly simple, does not require much hands on work and the very thick layer of ganache on the top covers a multitude of cracks. You need to make the crust and bake the cheesecake one day and do the ganache layer 4 hours or more before you serve it (more is even better.) But, it will be waiting, ready to delight, as you assemble the rest of dinner!
This will serve 12-16. The 10 inch version will serve 20, adjust by multiplying all ingredients by 1.5. When in doubt, go big, remembering that cheesecake freezes well, just stick it in the fridge a day before to defrost.


14-15oz of chocolate cookies (wafer, teddy grahams, etc.)
1 stick + 1 Tb of butter, melted

Grind cookies in food processor until crumbs, add melted butter and combine in food processor until it’s a consistent mixture. If you have trouble finding chocolate wafers, you can also use dietary biscuits + cocoa. I tend to use a mix of all of the above! Spray the bottom of an 8″ spring-form pan with cooking spray and make a ring extension adding another 2″ of height via double walled aluminum foil to the outside of the pan. Press the crust mixture firmly in the bottom of the pan (not the sides.) Stick the pan in the fridge while you make the cheesecake. Continue reading

Gingerbread Pancakes

I know this is a little late for Shrove Tuesday celebrating, but I’ll remind you next year!

(inspired by Kerbey Lane in Austin, but it’s been so long since I’ve eaten there, I can’t verify the authenticity)

Cream together:
6 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar

Add, then mix well:
1 cup buttermilk*
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup coffee (brewed)
2 tsp vanilla

In a seperate bowl, combine dry ingredients:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 Tbs. cloves
2 Tbs. cinnamom
2 Tbs. ginger
1.5 Tbs. nutmeg

Add dry ingredients to wet, mixing gently. When combined, mix in:
1 stick of butter, melted

This makes about 7-8 thick, plate sized pancakes. SUPER thick. Cut back a tsp of baking soda or so if you prefer less cake-y pancakes.

* buttermilk is easy to make: 1 c. milk + 1 Tbs. lemon juice or vinegar, I let it stand for a half hour or so, but you could probably push it to even 5 or 10 minutes in a pinch.

Chicken Lo Mein

I am planning to post more recipes on the blog again, it’s the easiest way for me to keep track of and find recipes I like with my personal tweaks. One of my goals this year is to introduce the girls to more Asian food. We usually eat it and serve them something else. This was a successful first step, Kate ate all of hers, and Lexi ate a good bit as well. This is enough for 5-6 adults as a complete meal, more if you did a side salad, etc. But I wanted to make extra because I figured the leftovers would be awesome and they were.

12 oz lo mein noodles (in the asian section of the grocery store, can also use linguine)
2 Tbs. canola oil
2 b/s chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
at least 1/2 large sweet onion
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
3-4 carrots
1 cup snow peas
6-8 ounces mushrooms (of your choice)
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup chicken broth
3 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. oyster sauce (also found in the asian section)
2 Tbs. sesame oil Continue reading

Baked Delights

‘Tis the season for baked treats. Here are two of my holiday staples.

I make these just like this recipe. I use a whole box of matzoh (11 sheets) which fit on 3 cookie sheets. 1.5c of brown sugar and butter, 3c of chocolate chips. I originally put good slivered almonds on some but most people prefer it with sea salt.

This dough is refrigerated and will keep well for several days or a week, which means I can keep baking them fresh. They are really tasty and different enough to seem distinct for the holidays, even though they are good enough to serve year round.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
white sugar for rolling

Cream together butter, brown sugar and egg until well combined. Stir in the molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda and spices in a separate bowl. Stir them into the molasses mixture 3/4 cup or so at a time. Cover the dough and chill for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350. These cookies are on the line whether to grease or not, so grease your cookie sheets if they tend to make things stick. Roll the dough into balls (these work well small or medium) and then roll the balls in sugar to coat.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. These are supposed to be chewy! I typically take mine off the cookie sheets faster than most other cookies (2 minutes) to cool on wire racks.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

These have been a big hit this autumn!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice or combo of cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
6-8 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 13×9 with parchment paper. Whisk together flour and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla just until combined. Add pumpkin puree (at this stage it can look kind of curdled.) Gently mix in dry ingredients just until combined and fold in chocolate chips. Bake for 30-40 minutes – mine lightly brown at the edges but a toothpick test yields moist crumbs (think brownies.) Partially cool before you lift out using the parchment paper and cut into squares. This recipe is for a FUDGY consistency, if you want something more cake-like, cream the butter at room temperature and add 1 tsp baking soda to the dry ingredients.

They are also excellent served warm with vanilla ice cream.

Baked Ziti

This recipe makes a ton, great for keeping some for your family while assembling a pan for a family who needs a meal. I usually do 2 13x9s or 1 13×9 and 2 8x8s. You can freeze it as well.

ziti or penne (2 lbs dry)
1.25 lb mild italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
10 oz mushrooms, sliced (I use baby bella)
1 sweet onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 jars of spaghetti sauce (2 1/2 jars is better if you are going to freeze it.)
1 pound of italian cheese (a combo of sliced provolone and grated mozz. or “italian blend” grated)
1 1/4 c. sour cream
1 1/4 c. ricotta
parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 and start making the pasta.

Saute onions until translucent in a dutch oven, add sausage and mushrooms and cook until everything is done. Drain sausage grease off. Throw in the garlic and cook another minute. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer 15 minutes or so. Mix together the sour cream and ricotta. Mix the cooked pasta and the sausage-sauce mixture.

Assemble as follows: layer of pasta/sauce, 1/2 cheese (either a layer of sliced provolone or just 1/2 the grated), 1/2 sour cream-ricotta, repeat, then end with a last layer pasta and parm on top. If you have extra pasta, freeze it as “penne with meat sauce” as a quick lunch or dinner sometime when you need it.

The baked ziti needs to bake until everything is melted and warmed through (~30 minutes, more if its straight from the freezer). I bake it mostly covered and then uncovered at the end.