April 17, 2013

Snickerdoodle Chess Bars (Blondies)

Snickerdoodle Chess Bars

Do you ever get obsessed with a certain food and eat it every single day for weeks or even months? This is not a rhetorical question. I’m genuinely wondering if I’m crazy or not. I do this same thing with new music or TV shows on Netflix, so it may just be my personality to become obsessed with things. In this case, I’ve recently rediscovered my childhood love of cinnamon toast that my mom used to make for me. My new favorite afternoon snack is cinnamon toast with a cup of my favorite Earl Gray tea. I cannot get enough, even though I know that eating bread with butter and sugar on it everyday is not the healthiest thing in the world. Eventually, I’ll get tired of it and move on but I can tell I’m not anywhere near that point yet.

In the midst of the cinnamon toast obsession I was browsing through my grandmother’s recipe box again looking for inspiration. I don’t intend for all the recipes I post here from now on to be from her collection, but I have to …

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April 9, 2013

Crispy Cheese Crackers – 3 ways

Crispy Cheese Crackers

I was recently given my grandmother’s box of recipes, most of them handwritten, probably many, many years ago and it’s been really fun going through it and seeing what her favorite recipes were. My mother also had a similar recipe box filled with cards and magazine clippings that I look through periodically. Cookbooks are great, but I love taking one of those meticulously written recipe cards out the box and trying to decipher the tiny, perfect cursive handwriting; trying to follow the sometimes very opaque directions; chuckling at old-fashioned ingredients like “oleo.”

Sometimes I think there is too much importance placed on “original” recipes. I love finding a recipe and knowing that it was made the same way for years and years by my grandmother or my mother or hundreds of people’s grandmothers and mothers. I love having a whole boxes of recipes that have been passed down over and over. Maybe my mom got that recipe from her sister. Or maybe my grandmother got that recipe from a friend. Maybe they never even got a chance to make it, but they still …

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March 20, 2013

Meyer Lemon or Orange Swirled Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes

Meyer Lemon and Orange Swirled Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes

After my trip down to the Gulf Coast in February, I came home with a ton of Meyer Lemons from my aunt’s own tree. I’ve been steadily trying to use them up in muffins or any other lemon recipe I could find, but in the end I wound up making lemon curd. I hope everyone reading this has made lemon curd before and if not, get yourself some lemons so you can make it soon! The process is quick and simple and you’ll want to spoon some of that sweet-tart lemony goodness on everything from your morning toast, to your ice cream for dessert.

Since I had so many lemons to use up, my batch turned out to be almost 3 cups of curd, which unfortunately wasn’t going to keep forever. I’m more than happy to eat it by the spoonful but I knew I had to find a way to use it up faster. As I was swirling lemon curd into my yogurt, I realized it would be the perfect addition …

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March 7, 2013

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

I didn’t mean to take so much time away, but after a pretty crazy month I should finally be able to start posting regularly again. It all started with me getting what I thought was food poisoning but turned out to be the stomach flu. It was bad enough that I went to emergency room for the first time in my life. That was an interesting experience! I’m a lifelong cookie dough and brownie batter eater, but I may be done after having to admit to about 10 different people at the hospital that I gave myself food poisoning from eating brownie batter. And then it turned out to be the stomach flu! So embarrassing. (In hindsight, I’m laughing at myself, but at the time I really was mortified.)

A week or so after that, I found out that my grandmother had passed away and we drove down to the Mississippi Gulf Coast—where I grew up—to attend her funeral. It was obviously a very sad occasion, but my grandmother lived a very long life and died peacefully. I also found out that …

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January 23, 2013

Lighter Shrimp Étouffée

Shrimp Etouffee

I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty cold where I am. And I’m down in Tennessee so if it’s cold for me, I know it’s lot colder for many others. When the temperatures get down this low all I want to eat are warm and comforting foods. I crave thick soups and stews or pot roast or chicken and dumplings. But it’s also January, and while I didn’t specifically make a New Year’s resolution to go on a diet, I definitely overindulged over the holidays and have been trying to eat better this month.

Thankfully, Cooking Light came to the rescue with their Comfort Food cookbook that I bought recently. Their Shrimp Etouffee is just the kind of warm and comforting dinner that I want when it’s below freezing outside but I can also feel good about eating it since the recipe has been lightened.

December 20, 2012

Mint Chocolate Double Delicious Cookie Bars

Mint Chocolate Double Delicious Cookie Bars

I always have grand plans every Christmas. This year I’m going to send homemade Christmas cards! This year I’m going to make peppermint bark and send it to everyone in pretty tins! This year I’m going to make cookies for Brandon’s whole office! Over the years, I have actually accomplished all of these things—though rarely all in the same year—but sometimes it doesn’t work out. I get too busy with work or I’m just too lazy to make all the effort.

This is definitely one of those years. This month has gone by so fast, and I can’t believe we’re less than a week from Christmas. I have a few (store-bought) cards and (not handmade) gifts to send but who knows when I’ll get to the post office. I still have quite a few people to find gifts for! Besides all that, I also have work deadlines hanging over everything. I hate being this stressed, especially during my favorite time of the year! All I really want to be doing this week is watching Christmas movies and …

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December 14, 2012

Cranberry Dutch Baby Pancake with Orange Syrup

Cranberry Dutch Baby Pancake with Orange Syrup

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time that I buy bags and bags (and more bags) of cranberries and hoard them in my freezer. I was in Sam’s Club last month and they had the biggest bag of cranberries I’ve ever seen, it had to be at least 5 pounds. Since it was right before Thanksgiving I had absolutely no extra space in my freezer so I didn’t buy the giant bag of cranberries (even though I really wanted to). I figured I would get them later but, of course, the cranberries were nowhere to be found on my recent trips back to the store. Despite that, I still had several bags sitting in my freezer and I decided it was finally time to use them!

This dutch baby pancake has been one of my favorite go-to breakfasts (or more likely, breakfast-for-dinner) since I got my first cast-iron skillet. If you’ve never made one before, it’s sort of a giant pancake and an omelet combined. The batter is poured into a skillet and you …

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November 29, 2012

Caramel Apple Crumb Pie

Caramel Apple Crumb Pie

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. I’ve already disposed of the turkey because I could not look at that sad carcass one more day. I’m just turkey-ed out. I hope you guys had a nice Thanksgiving day/weekend! We invited a few friends over and I did most of the cooking, making all of my traditional dishes. I’ve never really hosted a dinner party like that before so it felt very grown up. I think it was a success!

It helped that we ended the night on a good note, which was this apple crumb pie. I’ve made it before, but after posting that Caramel Apple Cider last week, I could not get the whole caramel-apple combo out of my head. So I decided to experiment with the recipe and add some caramel! I did not have a plan B for dessert, so thankfully the pie turned out as good as I had hoped.