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Food, Recipes

Chocolate Butterscotch Haystacks

This recipe is a classic and when I stumbled across it just recently, you would have thought I won the lottery. My Mom used to make these for us as kids and I can’t say I have thought about them since I was in my early teens.

I remember arm wrestling my brother for the last one because they were that good. They have it all. They are salty and sweet. They are chilled, so they have a cool, crunch that hits all of the senses.

Haystacks are a blend of two of the most complimentary sweet and buttery chip flavors, combined with the savory crunch of Chow Mein noodles and salty peanuts. This recipe is also dangerously easy and calls for very few ingredients and kitchen tools, so it is the perfect dessert to whip up in a hurry for holiday parties, or as a treat for friends, family and kids. This recipe is ideal for making with kids, as they can have fun helping to assemble these cute little nests of goodness.

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Favorite Recipes, Food, Recipes

Cowboy Cookies

We are far from living on a ranch and wearing chaps here in sunny Hilton Head Island, but I have been channeling my inner cowgirl this week with the household menu. First, we kicked it off with the Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s Hamburger Soup recipe, which has been featured as our absolutely delicious dinner all week long. The second installment is the Cowboy Cookie recipe from Baking Yesteryear, by B. Dylan Hollis.

Let me start by saying that I have eaten a whole lot of cookies in my lifetime, and I am on the continual quest for the perfect cookie. This is about as close as I have gotten, to date, and I don’t make blanket statements like these lightly. It is the kitchen sink of cookies, and it fittingly eats like a full meal, as it was made for hungry, hard-working cowboys out on the range.

This cookie gives a little extra heft and a whole lot of sweetness. It is basically an oatmeal cookie on steroids, and there is nothing I like more that a mash-up cookie that throws a multitude of ingredients into the bowl. This offers the perfect balance between slightly savory oats, warm pecans and buttery base, against the sweetness of a massive amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips, rich brown sugar, coconut, and my personal addition of raisins. It is quite possibly the perfect cookie. I am currently obsessed.

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Food, Recipes

Hearty Hamburger Soup

I recently caught this recipe for Hamburger Soup on an episode of Pioneer Woman and I was highly intrigued. The idea of hamburger soup had me a bit bewildered at first, but this comfort food actually reminds me a bit of that delicious and nutritious minestrone soup you may have gotten in the cafeteria in elementary school, with the addition of ground beef. It has undertones of a rich pot roast as well. It is literally a meat and potatoes recipe, chock full of so many vegetables, making it is a hearty one-pot meal with super classic flavors.

What I reeeeally loved about this recipe, is it calls for basic ingredients and allows me to use up the celery and carrots in my fridge, along with the meat from my freezer. I absolutely loathe the idea of wasting food, so it is all about finding recipes that inspire you to use up all of what you have. That is what makes cooking and recipe hunting so much fun! It is a nerdy little game that I like to play to try new things and avoid any waste in the kitchen.

All that said, I decided to give this new concoction a whirl, and boy is it good. The weather is just starting to turn here in SC, and while I love a good pot of chili, there is also something about a pot of soup that gives me the feels. If you cook for someone who isn’t too keen on beans, this is the perfect substitute for chili on a cozy winter day. Plus, it is chock FULL of veggies along with the beef, so it is a full meal in a pot.

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Food, Recipes

Roasted Tomato & Grilled Cheese Soup

One of my favorite chilly weather combos ever is a good cup of creamy tomato soup with a crunchy, gooey grilled cheese. I have always gone the traditional route of dunking the sandwich into the soup, which will always be a classic move, but I recently stumbled across this unique recipe from Grace Elkus that was featured on The Kitchn website (one of my favorite all around cooking resources) and it had me intrigued. It is quite genius really, why not combine these two treasures in one convenient and heart pot.

To get a feel for it, picture French onion soup meets tomato soup vibe. It has layers of stretchy cheese and the crunch of the croutons fresh from the broiler on top, with pillowy soft bites of tomato soaked bread swimming below. This is a rustic and hearty soup packed full of flavor.

This soup is deceptive because it gives the appearance, heft and mouthfeel of a creamy soup, only it doesn’t call for any heavy cream. Isn’t it just the best when that happens?! Aside from the cheese, which you can adjust the amount to your liking, this recipe includes an assemblage of healthy ingredients.

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Food, Recipes

Everything Bagel & Sausage Breakfast Casserole

If there is one thing that I have found all southerners love, it is a casserole. This one pot wonder is quintessential for gifting as a downright neighborly gesture. It can be presented as a meal to sick neighbors, and for celebrations, funerals, birthdays alike. You name the occasion and there is a casserole that fits. It is a catch all dish to show that you care, and there is something so endearing about that notion to me.

With the holidays upon us, we are all looking for ways to show the love to our guests. I am always thrilled to find great recipes that can be prepped ahead and don’t require too much maintenance, and can satisfy a crowd. No matter your guests, this one is always a crowd pleaser because it uses such classic comfort ingredients.

In previous posts, I have professed my deep love of bagels. Here, I am taking it to the next level with a soul warming, hearty breakfast casserole that calls for chewy, day old bagels, eggs, turkey sausage and cheese. Not only is it delicious, but it is easy to assemble and requires that you make it 24-hours in advance to allow it to set. So whip it up, pop it in the fridge and you are ready to go when company awakens, ready to eat.

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Food, Inspiration, Recipes

Demystifying Sourdough Starter

Due to the Covid years, I think by now we have all tried our hand at making a loaf of sourdough bread, whether it was a successful attempt or not. I was a little later to the game. My Mom was the first to join this worldwide elite club of bread artisans, and I was dually impressed that she had ventured to make her own starter as well.

I remember speaking to my Mom in one of our long-winded phone conversations where she regaled me with details on her latest loaf of this crunchy, pillowy variety of bread.

She informed me of the nuances of working the dough, allowing it to rise, kneading it with proper form, baking techniques and the tools needed to properly form a loaf worthy of a boulangerie window or San Francisco soup shop.

I like to think that perhaps it is in our DNA somehow to craft bread. Poilâne Bakery in Paris, France is a third generation boulangerie renowned for creating the best sourdough in the world by hand, since 1932.

Aside from being at the top of my destination wish list, the foodie nerd in me likes to dream and wish that our strikingly similar last names means that the owner, Apollonia, and I are somehow cousins removed somewhere back in the recesses of our lineage. I have no proof or facts to justify any connection whatsoever, but hey…a girl is allowed to dream, right?

But, I digress. Back to the breadmaking process. The one factor that I couldn’t wrap my head around that my Mom kept referencing when we spoke was “feeding the starter” every couple of weeks to “keep it strong.”

What did this mean?! Was this a living entity that resided in her refrigerator, and why was it so hungry?! I was intrigued, to say the least. I kept picturing that plant from Little Shop of Horrors and wondering if her starter would shout “feed me” in Steve Martin’s voice from the back of the refrigerator every time she opened it to grab the butter or pour a glass of iced tea. While that sounds pretty cool, it is not that dramatic. So, let me explain the science behind it.

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Food, Recipes

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Aside from the infamous pumpkin spice flavor, nothing screams “Fall is HERE!!” like apple cider, and anything apple flavored really. I think there is good reason for the craze that hits us all at this time of year.

I know here in the Lowcountry, our summer spans from late March to right around the end of September with 80-90 degree temps hitting their peak, so we yearn for that brief moment where the seasons turn. We may not be able to bundle in our sweaters, but the air is a little crisper and we are all ready for those Autumn flavors and cozy baking projects.

I just finally invested in my very own donut pans, because…I mean…who are we kidding. This girl is bound to make some donuts. I love baking and have been dying to try this recipe and several others out. I am surprised it took me this long to finally give in and order these baking pans to add to my growing collection, but boy am I glad I did.

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Food, Recipes

Bennigan’s Style Ultimate Baked Potato Soup

As soon as the cooler weather rolls around, I start to crave all of the fall foods. In particular, chili (which we will get to later) and this recipe for the Ultimate Baked Potato Soup.

Recently, I had a comment pop up asking for recipe ideas for a Dutch Oven. This one piece of equipment is an absolute kitchen staple in my book, and a perfect vessel for soups, stews and frying. I use mine for just about everything and anything.

The enamel coating is perfect for all kinds of cooking, as it is naturally non-stick. That said, I cook with a lot of butter whenever I use mine, so I suppose that helps it to be more resistant to sticking. Plus, they deglaze like a champion once you add a little liquid to them, leaving you with those flavorful brown bits in soups and stews that build flavor.

If you have a Dutch Oven, or have been gifted one and aren’t sure what to do with it, the sky is the limit. Any soup recipe, stew, sauce…use this vessel for building your recipes and allowing them to develop with even heat. The cast iron holds and conducts heat steadily and beautifully for slow simmering. Once you are done prepping, you can just about set it and forget it on a low heat.

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Food, Recipes

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

I know it’s basic Betty territory, but I really do love it when pumpkin spice latte season rolls around each year. I think for me, it signifies the turn of the seasons and signals the official end to summer. Nothing against summer, but fall, and the months leading into the holidays, equal my wheelhouse for joy.

In my defense, I have always loved the coffee portion of this craze the most for this seasonal treat. I will admit it has gotten a bit out of hand with pumpkin spice eeeeverything, but if you are like me and go cuckoo for that creamy flavor mixed with your morning java, you have to give this a whirl.

It is super easy to make your own pumpkin spice creamer at home. You can mix this with your own choice of coffee, and nowadays, you can get a fairly priced espresso maker and get down to the business of making your very own legit lattes.

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Food, Recipes

Autumn Apple Bundt Cake

Ahhh the beginning of fall. That magical time of year when the air feels crisper, giving us that first little shiver in the morning to tell us that the end of summer is drawing near. The leaves begin to turn and shimmy from the trees to the ground and we have that first inkling to reach for an extra sweater to ease the chill in our bones.

It brings me a thrilling sensation. I am a lover of baking. This is the time of year when all things come to life in this realm of my life. Warm, hearty pies, spongy cakes to accompany an evening tea. There is something that is so lovely and comforting about it all.

The stars of the autumn show when it comes to the baking game are obvi pumpkin and apple, accompanied by their spicy cousins, cinnamon and nutmeg. Naturally, as soon as the first cool breeze hits me, I am off and running to the store for my first batch of fresh, seasonal apples. This is their prime time to shine.

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