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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October 24, 2011

Caramel-Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

Caramel-Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

Looking back through my archives I realized I’ve posted at least one chocolate-pumpkin dessert before Halloween for the past few years, so I figured it was past time to post a recipe like this, especially after all the apple recipes I’ve posted lately. Fruit is great, but for me at least, chocolate will always be better.

I’ve actually been working on this recipe for a while. I made some pumpkin swirl brownies last Halloween and even photographed them, but I kept deciding against posting them because they weren’t quite good enough. Something was missing. But then earlier this year I discovered Supernatural Brownies. These are hands down my favorite brownies. Ever. And I have tried lots and lots AND LOTS of brownie recipes. I’m not into cakey brownies (if I wanted cake, I’d make that instead!), I like fudgey brownies and these are moist and fudgey beyond belief.

September 23, 2008

Pam’s Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti

I am all about comfort food. What I love even more is food that is dead simple to make and that stores easily. That’s probably why spaghetti is my all time favorite dish. Judging from how many brands of spaghetti sauce there are at the grocery store, I would venture to say that not many people make their own sauce anymore. This was one of my mom’s staple recipes and I don’t think I ever saw her use sauce from a jar her entire life. This was the first recipe I asked for when I moved into my own apartment during college and I’ve been making it ever since. I’ve tried jar sauces before, but I always wind up feeling like I’ve let my mom down. Plus none of them taste even one fifth as good as homemade.

March 2, 2011

Spicy “Fried” Chicken Tenders with Glazed Sweet Potato Sticks

Spicy "Fried" Chicken Tenders with Glazed Sweet Potato Sticks

I generally put a lot of effort into making dinner. I comb through my cookbooks and bookmarks to come up with a meal plan every week and I try to make dinner most nights so that we won’t go out to eat instead. Brandon is a good sous chef and helps me prep everything, but sometimes I’m just not in the mood to put in all the effort, so over the past couple of years I have gathered a bunch of go-to recipes just for this occasion. I keep the ingredients in stock so that if I’m tired or I forgot to defrost the meat for my planned recipe or whatever else goes wrong, I can pull them out and have dinner within an hour. This is one such meal and probably the one I default to the most. I realized I had never blogged about it, which felt weird since we eat it so much. But I think it’s because these chicken tenders are so good that I’ve never wanted to bother with photographing them when I could be eating them …

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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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December 16, 2008

Chocolate-Filled Mexican Wedding Cookies

Chocolate-Filled Mexican Wedding Cookies

I think Mexican Wedding Cookies are one of the quintessential Christmas cookies out there*. Besides decorated sugar cookies and gingerbread men, they are definitely what come to my mind when I think of holiday sweets. I’ve also seen them called Mexican Wedding Cakes or Russian Teacakes. I remember my mom would make them for Christmas parties and she’d always have to make special ones for me because I don’t like nuts.

*Update 5/1/2009: A commenter said she was making these for Cinco De Mayo, too. Great idea!

Last month I thought about these cookies, which I haven’t had in years, and decided to whip some up. They are so easy to make and just as good as I remember. I still don’t like nuts and I think these cookies taste just fine without ’em. The recipes I looked at instructed me to make them into balls, but I always remember that my mom made hers into crescent shapes. I obviously didn’t have her technique down because mine weren’t as nicely shaped as I remember hers to be. I guess that’s why …

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January 25, 2012

Tomato Noodle Soup (Homemade Spaghetti-Os!)

Tomato Noodle Soup

Ok, it’s confession time. While my eating habits have improved a lot over the past couple of years, I still have a lot of weaknesses for the unhealthy processed food I used to eat all the time. Things like corn dogs and snack cakes and store bought cookies. But the good thing about learning to cook is that you can learn to make all the “bad” stuff you love. Yes, it may still be unhealthy, but at least you know every single ingredient that went into it and you aren’t consuming any weird chemicals or preservatives. I’ve learned to make Oatmeal Cream Pies and Oreos and chewy Granola Bars and while I can’t say I totally gave up the processed versions of those things, more often than not when I really want them I’ll make them at home.

Spaghetti-Os are another one of my weaknesses. I’m calling them Spaghetti-Os because I think that’s how they are best known, but those are actually made by Campbells. The kind I grew up on was from Chef Boyardee and they were called …

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August 26, 2009

Lasagna Rolls with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Lasagna Rolls with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

This is a fun one! I recently got a new Cooking Light Cookbook so I’ve been trying out lots of different stuff in it. I was looking for something meatless because I decided we should have at least one day a week without meat, as it would be good for our diet as well as our bank account. This just looked like a fun and interesting way to lighten up lasagna and it didn’t disappoint one bit. There was so much good stuff going on, that I didn’t care one bit that there was no meat in it.

The dish is fairly easy to make and doesn’t take too long to prepare. You prepare the three different components separately (the noodles, the cheese filling and the sauce) and then you combine them. I was weary about the sauce since I’m still in the process of accepting peppers into my life after years and years of shunning them for no good reason (ahh, the logic of a picky eater), but in the end …

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