Follow me as I dive into the world that is cooking! There will be mishaps, burns and feasts as you watch my progression from college-student fare (pizza rolls and ramen noodles) to (hopefully) goddess of the hearth! I am always open to new recipes and ideas, so feel free to contact me.

November 24, 2013

Turkey Meatballs and Smoky Tomato Sauce with a Pinch of Me...

I feel like every time I post on here, I'm apologizing for how long it's been since the last post... but seriously I do apologize to all of you who have been asking me about it!  Life is just nuts; you know how it is.
Anyhoo, meatballs!

Yes, turkey meatballs.  I know everything on the internet right now involves fried, basted or injected birds and leftover Thanksgiving with sauces etc., but this falls in neither category and is a staple recipe in my little family.  I started making these a few years back along with the smoky sauce and am always glad when I can pull a batch of them out of the freezer for an easy meal.  This is a pretty flexible recipe, allowing you to use pork or add different levels of smokiness to your sauce as you see fit.

Most of the time I just serve them as a bonus to our spaghetti, but you can pile leftover meatballs with a splash of sauce into a sandwich roll or a hoagie, melt some mozzarella or provolone in it, and top with bell peppers and a shake of oregano and kick Subway to the curb with your Italian meatball sandwiches!

I also feel you guys need to get to know me.   I thought you would want some cooking music to go with the recipe.  I was digging through some old stuff and found this song, and I want to share with you what my brain sounds like.  This is what I listen to when I'm creating these posts, thinking about food, melting crayons together, why clouds insist on looking like something other than just clouds, etc.

Also, here is my dog.  She's my kiddo.

Okay enough of me.  Here's the recipe after the jump:

July 19, 2013

Watermelon Agua Fresca

It's hot!  Summer is hot!  Texas is burning me like an unlucky sleepwalking vampire.  We recently took a trip to Louisiana, and along the way stopped in Luling to pick up a few watermelons.  Luling is a town that has an annual "watermelon thump," a festival in which folks gather, bring their best watermelons, and proceed to thump (flick) them to figure out which ones are the juiciest.  There is even a Thump Queen.  All that said, we picked up two along the way, and may have been a bit zealous since they both weighed about 10-15 pounds.

I ended up with a bunch of juicy, delicious, leftover melon.  Blender.  I'd refrigerate this or you could blend with ice.

Also, we are in the process of moving/unpacking into our new house, so posts are few and far between until I can get my bearings!  Happy summer!  Don't forget your sunblock, dude.

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Takes: 10 min     Makes: about 4 cups
You Need: 
  • about 5 cups watermelon, cut into 2-inch cubes (doesn't need to be seeded)
  • 6 Tbsp honey (to taste, really - you can always add more)
  • 1 C water or 1/2 C water and 1/2 C ice
1.  Add 5 cups chopped pieces of watermelon to blender, add honey, add water/ice and blend.  Wait about 2 minutes, then pour slowly through a sieve (the starch and seeds should rise to the top so you can get around them easier), scraping and rinsing as you go.  

May 27, 2013

Homemade "Oreos" - Chocolate Wafer Cookies with Peppermint Filling

A friend of mine who I regularly trade baked goods with recently gave me four homemade "Oreo" cookies that she and her roommate had made.  She packed them up in a baggie for me, but only three made it out of her house, and two made it home just to end up in my husband's tummy shortly thereafter...

Needless to say I was inspired to try my hand at this homemade Oreo thing, as I desperately wanted more!  I usually stick to simple cookie recipes like my go-to Mrs. Field's Chocolate Chip Cookies, but these were a worthy adversary.  They are a bit of work, but man are they rewarding! 

The awesome duo of chocolate invasion, semi-soft cookies and a smooth, creamy peppermint icing in the middle is irresistible, and also makes for a good gift or party treat.  I kept them in the fridge since I live in Texas and everything is hot no matter how much you crank the AC, and I think it honestly made them taste that much better.  

I got the majority of the cookie recipe from Martha Stewart's Desserts book, one of many cookbooks that my grandmother recently sent to me.  This one though, is a bit was autographed by ol' Martha herself!  Who'da thunk it!  I called my grandma to let her know that I'll be passing that one down in the family.

Anyhoo, these cookies are great with the classic glass of milk as a summertime delight.  You could easily make them part of your Memorial Day cooking!  You could also bake them at Christmas time and give them out as gifts!

On that note, I want to thank all of the wonderful men and women who have fought for our country and are protecting us and others around the world.  I will be praying for those who have family members abroad like we do, and that they return home safely.  Don't forget what this day is all about, and as you gather with your friends and families, remember those who have fallen while fighting for their loved ones and their country.  God bless you and have a wonderful Memorial Day!

May 7, 2013

Roasted Turkey Breast with Mustard-Sage Crumbs

GOOD MORNING!  Our house is a disaster, and this blog is my way of turning my back to it at the moment.  The dishes are piled up so badly that I can't see my counter tops, the laundry is spilling onto the floor and the only thing in the house that is relatively clean is the dog that got bathed yesterday...
Normally, this would upset me.  Today...don't care!  I bring you RECIPES!
picture by © Melanie Acevedo

This picture above is from Food&Wine Magazine because the meal that I made was cooked for friends.  We were all so hungry by the time we got around to cooking that I scarfed it down and didn't get very good photos.  So I thought I'd give you an idea of what this is supposed to actually look like.  And honestly, it does come out this fancy, with almost no effort on your part.  Maybe I'll update the pictures when I make this again.  It's a staple meal in this house.

I've served this feast a good six or seven times, and people are always impressed with it.  It's easy to make, looks great, tastes even better, and everyone leans back in their chair with a grin when they're finished.  I usually compliment the turkey with mashed potatoes or some kind of roasted squash and a leafy green salad.
This is typically what I'd call a fall meal, but it's been unusually chilly here in Texas and we call 50 degrees COLD so I'm posting it.

My only advice to you is that if you're using fresh breadcrumbs from stale bread ( I used some hardened rosemary sourdough), make sure that the crumbs really are DRY because if not, the crumbs soak up all the melted butter and end up soggy and not distributing correctly.  Okay I more thing: don't skimp on your Dijon quality either, it makes a huge difference.  Use one that you really like!

As a side note, I typically find two small turkey breasts at the store instead of a single two-pounder, so don't stress if you can't find exactly what this calls for.  This also (as usual) makes excellent leftovers with mac n' cheese and what have you.

For my beginner cooks, if you don't have fresh parsley on hand, use dried parsley but only HALF of what it calls for when it's fresh!  That's a pretty standard rule when it comes to fresh vs dried herbs.

April 12, 2013

Pan-Seared Tilapia with Pine Nut and Golden Raisin Couscous

I thought since my last post was sweet (oh, how sweet!), this one should be mean savory.  In case you didn't know, I'm part Cajun, and I do love seafood: favorite meal = fried catfish and mac n' cheese (I'll get to that one day!).  I wasn't planning on making this a post, as it was my first time making the couscous, but it was so tasty I thought you should know about it as soon as possible...

I've done tilapia with quinoa before, and this meal is similar but the couscous offers a different contrast to the meal and is also dairy-free.  All of it was so easy to put together that I made it in under 30 minutes!  There is very little prep involved and it doesn't take much skill but comes out beautifully (my kinda meal!).  You could  also pair this couscous with pork tenderloin or baked chicken.

I prepared the couscous before starting the fish, since fish fillets cook quickly, then let it sit warm in the saucepan while the fish fried.  I haven't done it, but I think if you were having trouble finding golden raisins (I actually found this recipe in an effort to use some up) that you could substitute dried cranberries for them.  I'd do unsweetened though if you can.

April 9, 2013


Okay I haven't posted crap on here in ages, so I apologize first and foremost.  Secondly, I swear I'll put something here by Friday!  I've been opening the baking cabinet a lot this week, staring at my assortment of sprinkles, cupcake liners and extracts.  It's probably going to be something sweet.

In the mean time, here's a picture!
Me!  Pumpkins!

Dude really, by Friday, something interesting will be on here.  Don't fret.

February 27, 2013

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Candied Ginger

Food blogs are a lot like Netflix for me.  I get online and start digging through people's blogs, looking at their amazing photos and unique recipes.  I can sit there for hours, picking out things I want to try and thinking, "Wow, that sounds great!  I have everything to make it too!  What else do they have?" until it's two in the afternoon and I'm still in my pajamas, my hungry stomach making my brain feel weird.  That's what happened today.

Except I finally caught myself, ate some oatmeal, and started snapping photos outside.  Today was beautiful.  Puppy was so darn happy I left the back door open for her to run in and out at her leisure, and the breeze outside was much more pleasant than the 50+ mile an hour winds we got yesterday.  A friend of mine told me a giant box came blowing down the street at her on the way to my house last night...

Oh yeah, so about those super-ripe bananas.  I could smell them (in a good way).  So I sat there for who knows how long looking through a bajillion banana-related recipes until I found this one.  Smitten Kitchen mentioned this lovely and hilarious woman's blog in one of her posts, so I decided to explore.  I love both of their writing styles, and their photos alone are worth checking out.  The banana bread recipe that Orangette posted has chunks of crystallized ginger in it.  I hesitated when I read this, thinking that it would be an unpleasant surprise when discovered by my face while eating.  I was wrong.  Ginger + chocolate chips + bananas = awesome, to put it as simply as I can.

So here is to a successfully productive day of not just finding new writers to enjoy, but also new recipes to put in my book of "Yes".  I found crystallized ginger on the bulk aisle of the supermarket, and I know health stores usually have it.  This bread isn't obnoxiously sweet like some of the quick-breads I've made, and it's densely fluffy (?) without being soggy.  The top comes out crispy and adds a good texture to the soft inside without cutting the top of your mouth (I hates that!).  Plus it smells good when it's baking.  I added my favorite streusel topping to this, but it is entirely optional.
Leyla's hipster pic

I guess what I'm saying is stop reading and start baking!  Now!  Go!  Hustle!  You can keep wearing your pajamas though, I won't judge you.

February 25, 2013

Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I know I promised to post something soon after my previous post... and I also promised it would be healthy.  While I'm sorry for not keeping to my word, but I'm going to make it up to you with this awesome recipe.  My family and I are big on social gatherings (we're Cajun, dawlin'), so having good recipes for large groups or for entertaining is essential.  This is a great dip to bring to a birthday party, a friendly get-together, or just to enjoy at home where you don't have to fight off the other chip-hands in your way!  I brought this to my godson's first birthday party where it got destroyed (in a good way).   Oh, and yeah, I have a godson!  He's so stinkin' cute too.

Spinach artichoke dip is also Keto-friendly.  For those of you not familiar with the Keto diet, you basically eat cheese and bacon to jump-start burning off fat; it's super-low-carbohydrates and mostly proteins and dairy with a few vegetables in the  mix.  My good friend Frankie over at Frankie Fights Food has experimented with many different ways of cooking Keto dishes, so if you are in need of more recipes of that nature, please see her site.

Godson and his Dad!
I serve this dip with either tortilla chips, pita chips, or toasted french bread.  I think it would also make a good add-on to a sandwich if you're feeling daring (or bored with smoked deli turkey).  If you're planning ahead for something, you can mix this the night before, store in the fridge, and it takes less than 30 minutes to cook into cheesy deliciousness!  I doubled the recipe for this occasion, since there were to be about 25 people attending (this is an easy one to double!).

On a side note, the birthday party was a blast, and I never thought watching a baby destroy a cake could be so adorable and entertaining.  Happy first birthday, dear Ian!

January 25, 2013

A Little Perspective

Normally this blog concerns the happenings of my kitchen in Texas.  Today I thought I would break that norm and look at a broader issue.
photo by Dominic Bracco II

Egypt has many social and political problems at the moment, but this is one I had not heard about until Bracco's photographs brought it to my attention:  people cannot afford bread.  This has been one of the most basic forms of nourishment for populations worldwide, and yet the bakers in Egypt are working insane shifts to try to eke out a living off of a product that many cannot afford.

photo by Dominic Bracco II

Not to get all serious on everyone here, but it put a few things in perspective for me.  First off, how fortunate are we to be able to sit at a computer and write about things we don't even need to eat to survive, like S'mores brownies?  While a group of people sleep on the roof of the bakery and work 12 to 24 hour shifts, I have the option of choosing what kind of chocolate I want to put in my cookies.  Secondly, the Egyptian government has a lot of concerns at the moment, and I don't know how long it will be until this becomes a present issue (there were bread riots in 2008).  I wish there was something I could do to help.

I am going to be motherly here for a minute and remind everyone to count their blessings.  Eat your leftovers, or make just enough for that day.  Use up all of those cans and oddities in your pantry before going to the store again to get more.  And be grateful, if you have the option to, for the choices you are able to make freely.

Here's the link to his photos and where I got my resources:

This week:  something healthy to help you recover from the brownies...

January 20, 2013

S'mores Brownies

This might be one of my favorite pictures I have taken for the food blog thus far.  This new lens is so great for getting low-light, short depth-of-field pictures.  My inner photo nerd is highly pleased.  Thank you awesome family for supporting my hobby!

These also might be some of my favorite brownies I have made yet.  Though not the gooey, traditional-style brownie I usually pursue, s'mores brownies are still plenty moist, equipped with a pie-like crust of vanilla wafers, and smothered in a melted ensemble of lightly-toasted marshmallows.  They remind me of childhood, and why I should never fully allow myself to grow up.  Oh, and The Sandlot.

A word to the wise with the whole "lightly toasted" concept with the 'mallows: watch them carefully!  As with anything else you subject to the direct heat of the broiler, pay attention!  Sit there at the window of your oven (or open and peer neurotically into its depths if you don't have a window) and make sure they don't burn, because the middle of mine absolutely did.  However, if you enjoy the burnt crispiness of a flaming marshmallow on the fire, I noticed (unintentionally) that my gas broiler tends to cook the center of the dish much quicker than the sides.  
Also, I say to broil for 2 minutes; I think broiling for only one minute will keep the finished product a bit neater and less...well...melty...if that's your style.

All of that being said, these are enjoyable for any time of year (Fourth of July dessert, anyone?) and I highly suggest wet-naps for the kids once they are done getting their faces all smeared with marshmallow goodness.  I recommend serving these warm, letting them cool at least 20 minutes or so or reheating them briefly in foil.  They are still good room temperature, but the wonderful gooey-ness of marshmallows is key to the full s'mores experience!

January 3, 2013

Drop Biscuits and Gravy

 Happy New Year!
     So, so much to tell!  For starters, I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in December.  Yaaaay!  Finally!  After eight years of working and going to school on and off, I am finally finished.  Don't ask me what I'm doing after this because I haven't got the slightest clue.  For now, I am helping my husband run our small business and from there we shall see.  In the meantime, I will be cooking.  A lot.  My grandmother recently gave me three boxes of cookbooks and magazines that I need to plow through, so there will be lots of experimentation and (hopefully) documentation.  

My graduation/Christmas gift, a shiny new Nikon D3200, is going to help me show you the results.  Woo!  I also got a nifty fifty lens to boot!  Needless to say I am delighted to be snapping some photos once again, although a little reluctant to retire my ten-year-old Canon.  You'll have to forgive the color/focus on my photos until I get used to the switch...

So here is my first recipe of 2013, baked on the last day of 2012.  If you're going to end a year, do it right!  I made these with almond milk and they were slightly sweet, which was very tasty when paired with some maple glazed ham and a fried egg, or smothered in gravy.  Mmm, gravy.

While I fully endorse making biscuits with almond milk, I do not recommend using it to make your gravy.  I was feeling both too lazy to go to the store and just advantageous enough to give it a whirl, and the result was less than extraordinary.  So make the effort that I did not and use milk if you're going to make gravy.  I have posted both the biscuit recipe and the gravy recipe I used after the jump.

The nicest thing about making drop biscuits is that you simply drop them in sticky goo mounds onto the greased cookie sheet.  No need for rolling pins or biscuit cutters.  Just scoop, drop, bake.  Oh, and these make excellent New Years Day (or any day) hangover helpers.