Monday, November 4, 2013

Carmel Pecan Pound Cake


1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour
2 /12 teaspoons vanilla

1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until completely incorporated. Mix in vanilla. 
2. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. 
3. Add to creamed mixture to flour mixture. Mix in milk slowly. Beat on low until completely combined.
4. Pour into greased pound cake pan. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours. Stick toothpick into cake to make sure it is baked through. Let cool for 10 minutes. 
5.  To make carmel glaze: combine butter, sugar and milk over medium heat. Bring to boil stirring constantly. Let cool then drizzle over pound cake. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Oreo Rice Krispie Treats

Rice krispie treats have been my favorite sweet for as long as I can remember. There is nothing like that marshmallowy and buttery crunch. My cabinets are always stocked with a bag a marshmallows and a box of cereal, ready for my frequent rice krispie treat cravings. Normally you would find me eating my treat straight out of the pot with a giant spoon, but for the sake of pretty pictures, I cut them nicely into their classic square shape. Your welcome. 


5 1/2 cups rice krispie cereal
15-20 oreos (your preference)
3 tablespoons butter
6 cups mini marshmallows

1. Crush oreo cookies in large plastic bag then mix with cereal. 
2. Melt butter and marshmallows together over medium heat, stirring constantly until completely combined.
3. Take off heat then mix cereal and oreos into melted marshmallow until completely combined. 
4. Butter a large dish then pour in mixture, spreading evenly with a spatula. 
5. Let cool for about 30 minutes then cut into squares.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Quinoa Spinach Salad

I fell in love with a quinoa spinach salad from Whole Foods years ago but, like everything else from Whole Foods, it is ridiculously expensive.  Sooo....I recreated it in my own way! It's just as delicious and about half the price. 


1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1 1/2 cups spinach
2 carrots chopped
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Rinse and drain quinoa twice in pot.
2.  Bring one cup of quinoa with two cups of water to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, turn heat to low and cover with top.  Let sit on lowest heat for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for another 5 minutes. Let cool.
3. Add spinach, carrots, olives, and tomato.
4. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil. 
5. Stir it all up and enjoy. Tastes delicious cold or warm. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

I love pumpkin everything. From lattes to muffins and soups, if it's pumpkin, I'm all over it. On the first day of October, I had to make my first of many pumpkin recipes. These pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies are a quick and easy October treat. You can make them in bulk, store them in the freezer, and have cookies for weeks. 


3 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 sticks of room temp butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. In a bowl, combine flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder. 
2. In another bowl, whisk together butter and sugars until completely combined. Then add pumpkin on medium speed until just combined.
3. Add egg and vanilla. Whisk until just combined. 
4. Lastly, add dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. 
5. Cover dough, and refrigerate over night. 

6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cooking sheet with nonstick spray. 
7. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. 
8. Roll dough in golf ball sizes and roll in sugar and cinnamon mix. 
9. Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
10. Take out and let cool for 5 minutes.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

 Peach Cobbler

This is my first attempt at a peach cobbler and I must say, it turned out pretty damn delicious. My peaches might not be from Georgia but I doubt anyone could tell the difference. Enjoy!


5 ripe peaches
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons very cold butter
2/3 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut peaches in half, slice into 1/2 inch thick slices, then half again. In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, peaches, and lemon juice. 
2. Pour into 2-quart baking dish. 
3. In your electric mixer, mix together flour, baking powder and soda, 3 tablespoons sugar, and salt. 
4. Chop cold butter into small squares then whisk into flour sugar until it resembles coarse meal.
5. Add buttermilk and stir until dough forms. 
6. Spread dough mixture evenly over peach filling. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar on top. 
7. Bake about 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. 
8. Serve with vanilla ice cream. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Avocado and Cilantro Hummus

Avocados are available year round in Santa Barbara, but the typical "avocado season" begins in March and ends in early to mid-September.  If you have an avocado tree, you are probably overwhelmed by the number of avocados dropping in September and don't know what to do with them all. Here's an idea...make some avocado hummus! You can whip it up in large batches and it lasts for a pretty long time in your refrigerator. Not to mention, it's delicious. 


1 to 2 ripe avocados
16 oz can of chickpeas
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more!)

1. Put all ingredients into your food processor.
2. Chop until all ingredients are combined and it's as smooth as you want. 
3. Serve with your choice of chips or slap it on a sandwich!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Apple Spice Muffins

I made these yummy apple spice muffins in honor of the beginning of fall, my favorite season. The warm cinnamon and apple flavors make me want to snuggle up on the couch and watch the leaves fall from the trees. I have tried several different apple muffin recipes and this one wins! They are deliciously moist with just the right amount of a buttery cinnamon topping. 


1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 green apple
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons apple sauce
1 egg

2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons oats
2 tablespooon flour

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In your electric mixer combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. 
2. In a different bowl combine milk, oil, apple sauce, and egg.
3. Peel and chop your apple into smallish pieces.  Over medium heat, melt your 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon brown sugar together. Stir in chopped apple and cook for about 4 minutes.
4. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Add cooked apples leaving the butter and brown sugar liquid in your saucepan. Turn off heat.
5. For your crumble topping: Add 2 tablespoons oats, 2 tablespoons flour,  and 1 tablespoon brown sugar into your butter and brown sugar liquid left over from cooking your apple. Stir together until small crumbly clumps form.
6. Sprinkle on top of your muffins and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until your crumble topping turns golden brown. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coconut oil is great because it has many health benefits and can be used as an alternative to higher calorie and less healthful ingredients. It is loaded with healthy fatty acids, can improve blood cholesterol levels, and increase your metabolism.  It also doesn't hurt that I am a huge fan of anything coconut flavored. Although this recipe is still a sugary treat, it's definitely a great alternative to your classic chocolate chip cookie and just as delicious!


1/2 cup coconut oil 
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat coconut oil and sugar together. Beat in egg and vanilla.
2. In another bowl combine flours, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
3. Slowly combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips. 
4. Scoop tablespoon sized balls of dough onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 15 minutes. 
5. Let cool and enjoy.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pear and Chicken Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese sandwiches are great because there are so many different cheeses and combinations that you can experiment with.  I recently watched an episode of "The Chew" dedicated to grilled cheese sandwiches.  Michael Symon made a bacon, blue cheese, and pear grilled cheese.  I am not a fan of blue cheese but the rest of the sandwich sounded delish.  Here is my version...

Ingredients for 1 sandwich

1 grilled chicken breast
handful of spinach
2 slices of Asiago cheese
2 slices of ripe pear
1 tablespoon of room temp. butter
1/2 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 slices of whole wheat bread (or whatever bread you prefer)

1. Preheat your grill pan over medium heat.  In a bowl, mix together butter and Balsamic Vinegar. 

2. Butter one side of both pieces of bread with Balsamic Vinegar and butter mixture.  Lay out bread and layer with cheese, pear, chicken, and spinach. 

3.  Place sandwich on the grill.  Press sandwich down on grill (Michael Symon uses a brick to press) until bread is golden brown. Flip and continue to cook other side until golden brown. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Berry Turnovers

This was my first experience using puff pastry and it was wonderful.  No need to get out the electric mixer and slave over a dough recipe! Just whip up some berry filling, plop it on puff pastry, and stick it in the oven.  It's pretty much that easy! 


1 sheet of puff pastry
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
2 tablespoons melted butter
pinch of salt

3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
juice from 1/2 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and let 1 sheet of puff pastry thaw. 
2. Combine berries, sugar, corn starch, a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon of water.  Cook over medium heat until berries soften and it thickens. 
3. Cut your puff pastry sheet into six squares.  Drop a dollop of berry filling into the middle of each square (not too much and not too don't want there to be too much oozing out the sides). Fold over, creating a triangle and pinch ends together with a fork.
4. Melt the butter and brush the tops of each turnover. 
5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Add the confectioner's sugar to the lemon juice and drizzle over each turnover after cooled.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Flaxseed Oatmeal Pancakes

Pancakes for breakfast is basically dessert for breakfast.  As a kid, my pancakes were basically just a vehicle for syrup and chocolate chips.  That is probably why my mom only made them on very special occasions!  I still love a good stack of chocolate chip pancakes dowsed in syrup and topped with whipped cream but I never feel great about it after the fact.  

These flaxseed and oatmeal pancakes are an awesome alternative.  Not only are these cakes low in fat and full of good-for-you ingredients but they are really yummy.  


1 cup whole wheat
2 tablespoons flax meal
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Maple of agave syrup

1. In a large bowl combine flour, oats, flax meal, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. 
2. In another bowl whisk together eggs, almond milk, oil, vanilla, and brown sugar. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined. 
3. Heat griddle and spray with cooking spray.  Pour pancake batter onto griddle (I made 5 large pancakes with my batter but you can make yours any size). When bubbles form on top, flip your pancakes. Cook until second side is golden brown.
4. Serve with any type of fruit you like (blueberries and strawberries are my fav) .
5. Top with maple or agave syrup (I used agave).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Salmon Cakes

My mom gave me this recipe and it's awesome.  Reminds me of something they'd cook way down South!  For the most part, canned food gets a bad rap for being unhealthy but these salmon patties are actually loaded with nutrition.  Salmon, out of the can or fresh out of the ocean, is loaded with with omega-3 fatty acids and the bones (yes, the canned salmon comes bones and all) are full of calcium. These cakes are so easy to make and they would be a perfect entree or appetizer at any summer BBQ.  


Two 14 oz. cans of salmon with bones, drained
2 egg whites
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 tbs. Old Bay or all-purpose seasoning
3 drops of Tabasco
2 1/2 tbs. chopped parsley
4 tbs. chopped roasted red pepper from jar, chopped
vegetable oil 

1. Heat pan over medium heat. Combine salmon, egg, crumbs, seasoning, Tabasco, parsley, and red pepper.   I know the canned salmon looks a little freaky but get over it, it's just fish!
2. Form patties, 1-inch thick.
3. Add oil to pan. Cook patties 3 minutes on each side until golden and cooked. Drain on paper towels. 

It's as easy as 1, 2, 3! ;)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chicago 2013

Because my boyfriend is a musician and his band goes on cross country tours pretty often, I am lucky enough to do quite a bit of traveling myself! It can be hard being away from each other for long periods of time so I like to try to fly out to see him at least once during each tour.  Last weekend a few of the other bandmates girlfriends and I decided to visit them in Chicago! 

I had been to Chicago years ago and absolutely loved it.  The second time around was just as wonderful, if not better.  We spent four days in the city but I probably could have used another week to see everything I wanted. 

Our first day roaming around!  Here we are where the Chicago River runs through the center of the city.  There are all kinds of cool boat tours you can take on the river but of course Cayson and I were distracted by a welcoming bar that sat right on the river and missed the tours. Just couldn't resist the mojitos and Chicago style hotdogs! Whoops. 

The "Jay-zito." Rum, lime juice, mint, and champagne. Hands down my favorite new drink!  I will most definitely be making these on the regular at home. 

Unfortunately shopping was not on the top of Cayson's priority list : ( .   If I had it my way we would have stopped in every store on Michigan Avenue but I was nice and only dragged him into a couple of my favorites...

 I HAD to go into the American Girl Place.  I spent a large chunk of my childhood playing with and collecting American Girl Dolls and their accessories.  My girl cousins and I were obsessed with these dolls and took them with us everywhere. It was really fun to see all the cute little girls walking around with their American Girls. Really brought me back!

One of the best parts about Chicago is the FOOD.  The city is full of so many amazing restaurants, bakeries, and bars...we probably spent over half the trip eating and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
I would highly recommend going to Trencherman in Wicker Park.  We had a great experience here with our friends Kevin and Ashley. The atmosphere is vintage and rustic with brick walls and dim lighting, very cool.  For dinner they have "small" and "large" plates.  We ordered several plates and shared them all which was fun because we were able to experience more of the menu.  Every plate was  unique and delicious (my fav was the friend chicken) and don't even get me started on the dessert! All I ask is that you try the Coffee Cake with Chai Tofu Ice Cream, Fried Chocolate, and Smoked Meringue. Wow.

We also had the pleasure of eating at Au Cheval. This is the place to go if you are really really hungry. The atmosphere is laid back and bar-esque. Cayson and I sat at the bar where the chefs cook everything right in front of you. We split the Chili Con Carne and Corn Chips, a Single Cheese Burger with a Fried Egg, and the General Jane's Honey Fried Chicken with Chili.  It was all excellent, especially the burger! Definitely at the top of my best tasting burgers list.

And then of course you must get the Chicago classic deep dish pizza.  There are several deep dish options but we went with Lou Malnati's Pizzeria because we heard it was the best. It did not disappoint!

I regret not taking pictures of all of our delicious meals  : (  Guess I was just too excited about eating it! Sorry guys!

The "Cloud Gate" sculpture, aka the "Chicago Bean" is the centerpiece of the Millennium Park. It is made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together.  It reflects the the city's skyline and of course is perfect for large crowds of tourists to take selfies ; ). 

The Chicago skyline reflecting off "The Bean."

We did briefly stop stuffing our faces to go to the Natural History Museum.  That was interesting and a lot of fun.  We watched the "Great White Shark' movie in 3-D.  Here I am crossing the bridge near Grant Park on our way to the museum. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Chai Tea Cupcakes

I freaked out when I tasted these cupcakes! They taste just like a Chai Tea Latte topped with whipped cream. I was not expecting them to taste so on the money but WOW! Warm and sweet with just the right amount of spice, these babies are a delight.  


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
5 Chai spice tea bags
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tub fluffy vanilla frosting
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
 pinch of nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat milk on the stove unit simmering. Take off stove and steep 3 Chai tea bags for about 20 minutes. 
3. Cut open remaining two Chai tea bags and grind until fine. 
4. Sift flour, sugar, ground Chai tea, baking powder, and salt into your electric mixer. Cut up your butter and mix into flour until it is mostly combined. 
5. In another bowl squeeze Chai tea bags that have been steeping into your milk and discard. Add the milk, eggs, and vanilla together and lightly beat. 
6. Slowly pour your milk mixture into the flour and mix until just combined. Do not over mix!
7. Bake for about 20 minutes.
8. Meanwhile make your frosting: I took the easy route and just grabbed some fluffy vanilla frosting pre-made from the store (I know, tisk tisk... If you feel that you MUST make your own frosting go for it!) Scoop frosting into a bowl and add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Mix together.
9. After your cupcakes have completely cooled frost them, sprinkle a little ground cinnamon on top and add a cinnamon stick to garnish.  : )

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lemon and Mint Orzo with Chicken

I love everything lemon (if I haven't mentioned that already)! That is probably why this is one of my  favorite go-to dinners.  The flavors of the mint leaves and lemon dressing are so refreshing! This recipe is easy, inexpensive, and delicious... what's not to love??


2 cups orzo
1 cup olive oil
zest and juice of two lemons
2 tablespoons honey
1 white onion
1 can of white beans
2 cooked chicken breasts
10 mint leaves

1. Boil four cups of water then add orzo. Cook for about 15 minutes or until al dente. 
2. Meanwhile chop up the onion and saute in olive oil until just soft.  You want your onion to still have some crunch to it.  
3. Make your dressing: Combine the lemon zest and juice with 3/4 cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons of honey.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper.  
4. Chop up your mint leaves and cooked chicken breasts.
5. Add sauce, onion, beans, mint, and chicken breasts to the orzo.  Add another pinch of salt and pepper.  Stir together and let the flavors marinate.
6. Enjoy!