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Thursday, November 5, 2015


October, me those months are the best time for making Chili.  We are done with summer and looking forward to the cooler days ahead.  If you live in the South, those days may or may not be a long time coming.  Thankfully, we do have cold snaps and teases for the wonderful winter that lies ahead.  The prescription for the intermittent chilliness in the air? Chili in a bowl!  with or without meat.  I have a recipe for each.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
This is a super healthy and delicious recipe that combines the sweetness of the potatoes with the bite of lime juice and comforting flavor of beans.  I love it with shredded cheddar on top and multi-grain tortilla chips!  Here is the recipe from one of my favorite sites:

Now for the meat recipe.  I wish I had some sort of carnivorous dinosaur reference here.  But my 3-year-old son is totally into large trucks/tractors and superheroes right now.  No dinosaur inspiration to speak of.

Nevertheless, last year, my next door neighbor shared a wonderful Chili recipe with me.  I can't reference the source because I'm not sure what book it came from.  I will rewrite it here for you...and tell you how I like to serve it.  

Texas Chili (not my original recipe)
1 tablespoon Bacon Grease or Vegetable Oil
2 medium Yellow Onions, chopped
3 tablespoons minced Garlic
3 tablespoons Chili Powder
2 tablespoons Paprika
1 tablespoon Cumin
2 teaspoons dried Oregano
1 lb. Ground Beef Chuck
1 lb. Italian Sausage Links (removed from casing and crumbled)
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt and more as needed
2 (28 oz) cans Crushed Tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can Kidney Beans-drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can BBQ Baked Beans, drained
1 tablespoon minced canned Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce (these are canned and usually in the taco/chili section of the grocery store)
Heat the grease or oil over medium heat in a large soup vat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (7 to 8 minutes).  Add all the spices and stir until combined.  Add the meats and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Increase the heat to medium high and cook until meat is no longer pink, stirring frequently.  Stir in the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for one hour.  

I like to serve this chili over white sticky rice.  You can add shredded Cheddar and any other toppings you onions, avocado, sour cream, etc.  It's your call!

The holiday season is getting closer.  This is the perfect time of year to have a group of friends gather in your home to celebrate life and all that we have for which to be thankful!  Chili is a great dish to serve at a party because you can easily make a lot of it.  Make it a fun game night.  Whatever you do, just make a point to be in community with others and eat some yummy chili while you're at it!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fall Inspiration (Part 2)

I'll just say it, the street I live on is awesome!!  Any end-of-the-day with nice enough weather, the families on my street come out into the yards and road and play and hang out until dark.  There are several kids nearby, so my kids are in heaven!  I'm so thankful to have formed meaningful relationships with the parents too.  Tonight, we decided to turn it into a pre-Halloween celebration.

Kids from the Avenue!

I wanted to cook some treats for my neighbor friends.  So I decided on Caramel Pears, Conecuh Sausage, and Moroccan Beef Dumplings.  

Caramel Pears
a bag of beautiful pears
1 bag of Caramel Cubes
2 tablespoons water
a bit of butter
1. Wash and dry the pears.
2. In a saucepan, slowly melt the caramels into the water and butter over medium-low heat.  Stir constantly until melted.
3.  Dip the pears into the melted caramel and swirl around until it is pretty.
4.  Just before serving to friends, cut into fourths and have a lot of paper towels handy.  These are tasty, but sticky!

Moroccan Beef Dumplings
Yes, the pears keep trying to hog the spotlight.  However, these dumplings were a hit!
2 thawed pie crusts (the kind that come rolled up in a box, not in the pie tin)-thawed
a little over a lb. Ground Beef
1/2 Red Onion (chopped)
1 Clove Garlic (minced)
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 can Tomato Paste
a splash of water
salt and pepper
1/2 cup Golden Raisins
1 Egg
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2.  While you are thawing the pie crusts, cook the beef (that is salt and peppered), onion and garlic until beef is browned.  Drain the grease off the meat and return to the pan.
3. Add the tomato paste, splash of water, ginger, cumin and cinnamon.  Cook and stir until mixed well.
4.  Stir in the raisins and set mixture to the side.
5.  Lay out the pie crust dough and flatten further with a rolling pin.
6. Find something with a large round edge to cut out the dumpling dough.
7.  Once you've cut round pieces of dough, add the beef mixture to the center and fold over.  Press edges together and make fork marks.

8. Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush over the dough for browning.
9. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
10. Serve warm.
*Note: You will have meat mixture left over.  Just freeze it and make these again soon.

Neighbors and kids hanging out in the street. Love it!

Classic and Yoga Jack-o-Lanterns. 

What feelings does this holiday bring to you?  Is there a classic movie you watch (The Great Pumpkin)?  Is Candy Corn your guilty pleasure? S'mores are mine! How about that feeling in the Fall breeze?  For me, so much joy is rustled up along with the brown leaves on the ground. Whatever it is, I hope I've inspired you to try something new for your Halloween party.  Happy Halloween, lovely ghouls!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cool Weather, Italian Wedding Soup and 90s R&B

Hallelujah for cool, windy weather today!  This is the type of weather I love!...Especially in October....the month that I enjoy being eerie-fied and creeped out.  Really, I've been seeking out books and movies that give me a "mysterious/something's just around the corner/things are not quite what they seem" feel.  The gusty wind and cloudy weather of today gave me that feeling I've been looking for.  It was a great day for soup!  I had been anxiously anticipating the first eve of soup-making and here it was!

This is a recipe that I've done numerous times.  It is so delicious!!  I'm going to share it with you straight out of this Southern Living cookbook I have.  The reason I have this book is because of my friend, Ashley.  She had it first and I fell in love with it!

The only thing I did differently was use different pasta.  The recipe calls for Rotini.  I used Armoniche, which is beautiful, and I found it at Aldi!

Recently, I watched Pitch Perfect 2.  I love love love the first Pitch Perfect!  It is hilarious and the music is awesome!  I always feel that sequels don't quite measure up to originals.  My feelings about this one are still mixed.  It was entertaining, but some parts didn't quite hit the mark, I felt.  However, I enjoyed the Riff Off.  In the midst of it, the theme was 90s Hip Hop.  One of the groups opened it up with a song I've always loved..."This is How We Do It".  Since watching the movie, I've had that song on my mind.  My kids have even starting singing it...accurately (yes, it's that bad).  Tonight, as I was making this soup, the kids and I danced around the kitchen to this song.  We listened to it multiple times.  Here it is for your listening pleasure!  I hope you make this soup to the tune of this classic 90s beat and get it stuck in your mind like me!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Eggs Benicio

Imagine this:  weather that feels tropical, streets and sidewalks that are uneven and cobbled, a sense of energy in the air everywhere, ornate homes positioned shoulder to shoulder so it seems the shingles can't even breathe...this is New Orleans.  Sadly, this city can be stereotyped in a bad way and some only see it in a negative light.  Those people are missing out!  New Orleans is a place of culture, soul and an artistic heart that beats inspiration.

Why am I talking about it?  Because I've had the pleasure of spending several weekends there with a friend who lived there for a while.  If you know the history of this blog, you will know I'm talking about my dear friend, Erica, who was the original co-"Cooking chick."  I wasn't always 1 Cooking Chick.   I might add, she lived across from Sandra Bullock's house...and John Goodman' celeb!!  There is a beautiful brunch place in the Garden District, nearby, called Coulis that we went to several times:   Go there!  and when you do, order Eggs Benicio... a melt-in-your-mouth blend of flavors you might not have thought of before.  I recreated the dish tonight.

Eggs Benicio is a lovely layering of Jalapeño Cornbread, Pulled Pork, a Poached Egg and Hollandaise Sauce.  It should have been topped with Green Onions, but I decided to surprise my husband with it last minute (thinking I had all the ingredients because I had made a ridiculous amount of pork in the crock pot the day before), and didn't realize I didn't have any.  

This is how I did it...
I cooked a huge Boston Butt in the crock pot for 8 hours the day before... (in soy sauce, honey, garlic and vegetable oil) served with cooked carrots and cheesy rice.  There was a lot of left over meat!

I made the cornbread by this recipe: Jalapeño Cornbread

The Hollandaise Sauce is here: Hollandaise Sauce
On the plate, you will place a slice of cornbread, cut in half through the middle.  Top with meat, sauce, poached egg, more sauce, and a dusting of Cayenne Pepper.

It is really an easy meal.  If you have the leftover meat, you just warm it up.  The only work that is required is making the cornbread and sauce.  It's not that involved, but appears very fancy.  I turned on a movie for my kids (Tangled) and my husband and I enjoyed this delicious meal alone on the sun porch, by candlelight.  It is an easy-made-fancy breakfast for dinner...and I recommend that you incorporate it into your week's menu.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall Inspiration (Part 1)

Leaves are falling, there's a chill in the air, pumpkins are on doorsteps and in our case, spiders and webs are in trees.  It's one of the most wonderful times of the year...Fall!  The magnificent sights and smells of this season are inspiring me in the kitchen!  Here are a couple recipes I've worked up, to make your thoughts orange and brown and of crisp, lovely air...

Cheese and Herb Ravioli with Pumpkin Sauce
and Garlic Brussels Sprouts
Wonton Wrappers
1 cup Aged White Cheddar Cheese (grated)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese (and extra for topping)
1 cup Cream or Ricotta Cheese
1 tablespoon each chopped Fresh Herbs (I used Rosemary and Thyme)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 package fresh Brussels Sprouts (sliced)
1 clove minced Garlic
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1 jar Tuscan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce (from Target)
1. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil on high heat.  While this is happening, blend the cheeses, herbs, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
2.  Spread out a sheet of parchment paper and grab a tiny bowl of water.
3.  Dip your fingers into the water and rub down the edges of a wonton wrapper. Place a small ball of the cheese blend in the center of the wrapper and cover with another wrapper.  Press the sides together until all sides are sealed and no air bubbles remain.
4.  Heat the Olive Oil and Butter over medium heat.  Throw in the minced Garlic and sliced Brussels Sprouts.  Cook until slightly tender and browned and set aside.
5.  Into the pan you cooked the Brussels Sprouts in (to save on dirtying dishes), pour the pasta sauce from the jar.  Allow it to heat up to a slight simmer over medium low heat.  Be careful not to burn it!
6.  While the sauce is heating, add the raviolis into the boiling water (about 6 at a time).  Cook for 5 minutes and remove carefully with a slotted spoon.  Note: As you remove the raviolis and transfer to a plate, make sure to drizzle with a bit of olive oil so they don't stick to each other.
 To serve:  Place 3-4 Raviolis on each plate.  Drizzle the warm Pumpkin Sauce over the top.  Add the seared Brussels Sprouts and top with a bit of Parmesan Cheese.  Enjoy...the food and the season!

Broccoli Basil Flatbread with Pumpkin Sauce
I had a good bit of Pumpkin Sauce left over from the ravioli dish.  I also had some broccoli and naan that I wanted to use.  So, you know me...I'm going to think of a flatbread recipe!
We have had somewhat of a Basil saga at our house.  Basil welfare is a really touchy subject around here. Ha!  We've killed several plants.  Lately though, a few sprouts have beaten the odds and held fast to survival.  So I killed them by adding them to my flatbread! 
Ingredients: (for 1 flatbread)
Leftover Tuscan Pumpkin Sauce
handful of chopped Broccoli
tablespoon of chopped fresh Basil
large handful of Mozzarella Cheese
large handful of Aged White Cheddar (grated)
Naan or Pita Bread
(my favorite naan from Aldi)
Instructions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Top the bread with the ingredients and cook until cheese is melted and starting to brown.  Enjoy!

The ravioli recipe did take a little time to prepare...handmaking raviolis is never the quickest task.  But it would be a fun date-night or kid participation recipe.  The flatbread was super fast and easy!  You could tweak either recipe to better suit your fancy.  I just went with the first thing that popped into my head.  Let me know what flavors you think of!  As always, I'm hoping to inspire and be inspired!  Happy Fall, friends!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Taco Bar for Friends!

Today I want to show you how to put together a taco bar that does not consist of the same old know, Seasoned Ground Beef, Cheddar, Lettuce, Tomato, etc.  Not that anything is wrong with that!  Sometimes a good ole plain taco is just what you want!  It's also fun and interesting to get a little creative!  Much like the Gyro Bar for Friends!, a Taco Bar for friends is a great way to serve multiple guests.

The top is a Pork Pineapple Taco with Slaw, Red Onion and extra Cilantro.  
The bottom is a Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts Taco with Queso Fresco and julienned Green Onions.
Both Tacos have Garlic Aioli and we had Friend Plantains on the side.

Our Taco Bar
Mexican Slaw: Recipe Here
A bowl of Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts (recipe below)
Fried Plantains
Warmed Corn Tortillas
A plate of toppings: Garlic Aioli, Red Onion, extra Cilantro, julienned Green Onion, Queso Fresco, Chopped Pineapple, and shredded Cheddar
(not pictured: Slow-cooked Pork)

Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts
1/2 a Butternut Squash (chopped)
1 bag fresh Brussels Sprouts (cut into fourths)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Chilli Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Chipotle Chilli Powder
salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees as you chop everything.  Throw the veggies in a big mixing bowl and toss in the oil and seasonings. Spread evenly onto a roasting pan and bake until starting to brown and the Squash is tender.  Transfer to a lovely bowl to arrange on your Taco Bar.

Slow-cooked Pork
I just bought some type of boneless Pork Tenderloin at Aldi.  You could probably use Pork Chops.  I used all the same seasonings that I put on the roasted vegetables.  Those things, along with some Olive Oil, a splash of Red Wine Vinegar and about 1/2 cup of water went into the crock pot on Low for about 4-5 hours.  I chopped it into small pieces to serve on the taco.

Garlic Aioli
1 cup Mayo
(a healthier version-1/2 cup Mayo, 1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt)
2 cloves minced Garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:  Just mix ingredients and allow the sauce to sit for about 30 minutes, so all the flavors can blend.

Our house was a chaotic place on Taco night!  Lots of kids were running around.  There was one rare moment that I happened to capture, when they were all interested in a movie.
Can you believe it??
Did I mention that an interesting taco night is great for serving friends with kids?  There's an option for everyone!  

You totally don't have to do your taco bar like mine!  Make it your own.  Cook and serve the foods you like the most!  Just get creative with it...that's all I ask!  As always, I hope I've inspired you to do something crazy in the kitchen!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Approachable Petits Fours!

Ever been intimidated by Petits Fours?  I know I have!  If you read my blog often, you know I have a love/hate relationship with baking.  I've been known to make some hideous chocolate chip cookies.  But, if there is a recipe for a baked item that actually works for me, I will use it over and over.

I didn't feel great today.  Just felt kind of stressed out and headachey.  There are not many things you can do when you have a headache.  I love to read, but that was a negative.  I'm not good at napping during the day.  I had already gotten my workout in.  So while the kids were napping, I decided to bake.  For some reason this idea just came to me, and I was too excited not to share it with you right away!

Cake Mix Petits Fours 
with Lemon Glaze
What you will need:
1 box White Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
3 Eggs
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Water
about 2-3 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
3-4 Lemons
What you do:
1.  Prepare the Cake in a flat cake pan, by the instructions on the box.  This is where you will use the eggs, oil and water.
2.  In a medium bowl, mix 2 cups Confectioner's Sugar with the juice and zest of 1-2 Lemons.  Use your judgement on this step.  Add Lemon Juice and Sugar as needed to make the amount you would like and to achieve the consistency that is best.  You don't want it too dry or too runny.

3.  After the cake has cooled, turn it out onto a cutting board and using a serrated knife, cut into small squares.
4.  Place on a decorative tray, or in a large flat tupperware and top with the glaze.
5.  Thinly slice another lemon and cut each slice into fourths.  Top each cake with a tiny lemon wedge.
*Note: You might can tell these are smaller than the first picture.  I sliced the cake cubes in half through the middle to make the petits fours smaller and cuter.

This might not be a totally original idea.  However, it is new to me.  I enjoyed making these and my headache is feeling a bit better now.  I think this idea would be a quick but lovely snack for a baby or wedding shower.  The recipe made a lot.  So I'm going to give some to neighbors and participants of my Bodyflow class tomorrow.  Baking as headache therapy!  Have you ever heard of such?  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Book Inspiration

Anyone who blogs, knows that there is a very important thing you need constantly...Inspiration.  You can find it anywhere.  If you're looking to be inspired, creatively or otherwise, you see it all around you.  A unique mix of colors on a couch cushion, the way the breeze makes leaves on a tree dance, the breeze itself (because I'm not a fan of hot weather, ha!), the smell of garlic and onions hitting a hot pan...these are just a very few of the sights and smells that inspire me.

Lately, the main source of inspiration for me has been my two small children.  I admire how full of life, silly and perceptive they are.  Among other things, reading library books is a favorite activity of ours.  It can be an easy, fun and cheap activity to make children's book-inspired food.  I'll show you what I did this week.

Creepy Carrots
My son's absolute favorite book is "Creepy Carrots" by Aaron Reynolds.  It is a silly story about a rabbit named Jasper.  There is a certain carrot field from where he likes to steal carrots.  The carrots who live in the field decide to scare him away so he won't bother them anymore.  You will have to read the book to find out what happens.  It's really cute.

To make the Creepy Carrots, I peeled the bottom 3/4s of the carrots.  I left the top parts untouched for painting the faces.  Dry that part off really well (I didn't do that and I learned my lesson).  Using a black paint pen, I just went by the expressions on the carrots on the book cover and tried to recreate them on the carrots.  It was a little difficult to get the paint pen to work on the carrots....probably because I forgot the drying step. Ha!  
This was a good healthy snack idea, because my son gladly ate the carrots with faces on them, while we read his favorite book.

(If you want to purchase this book, 
here's the link.)

I love this book!  As you can see, I was inspired by it!  Stellaluna is a baby bat who gets separated from her mother.  She ends up in a bird nest with three baby birds and the mother bird takes care of her.  She has to change her bat ways to fit in.  So she has to learn to stop hanging upside down, sleep at night instead of during the day, etc.  It is not a sad story, because she reunites with her mother and the other bats.  She then has to relearn to be a bat.  But she still loves her three baby bird friends.  It's a sweet story of friendship despite differences.

The Stellaluna snack I made is Nutella Shortbread Cookies in a bat shape.
I used a recipe I found on Pinterest, that I've already blogged about and tweaked it a little.  The original recipe is in this post: The Chocolate Chip Cookie Mission
I just about have the recipe memorized, so I'll write it out here as well, including what I did differently for Stellaluna:
2 sticks of Butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup Confectioner's Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 cups of Flour
2 heaping tablespoons Nutella
1.  Cream the Butter and Sugar together in a large bowl, with an electric mixer.
2.  Add the Vanilla and mix until incorporated (don't mix too much).
3.  Add 1 cup Flour and mix until incorporated.  Add the other cup and mix until combined.  Might need to knead with your hand a bit.  (Need to Knead, Ha!!)
4.  Put the dough in a gallon ziplock bag and add the Nutella.
5.  Roll it flat with a rolling pin to work in the Nutella.
6.  Throw it in the fridge for a couple hours.
7.  Once it has cooled and hardened, preheat the oven to 325 degrees, cut the ziploc bag off of it and place on a floured surface.
8.  Get it ready to cut into shapes by rolling it out perfectly flat with a floured rolling pin.  Cut the dough into shapes.
*Note:  If you don't want to do cookie cutter shapes, skip the rolling pin step and just form into balls.
9.  Place cookies on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes.
10.  Serve and read an inspiring book!

I know this idea is not healthy, but all things in moderation, right??  You can tell my daughter is excited!  See what I mean about the silliness?

This is not the first time I've been inspired by Children's literature.  Here is a blog post with excellent Honey Cookies and a cute story as well: Bookie Cookies.  I'm thankful for the inspiration my kids give me.  I'm also thankful for the time we can spend together reading books and cooking.  I love any excuse to put my kids to work in the kitchen!  So many lessons can be learned through measuring and mixing.  And I always say, it's never too early to start them on the path toward the Foodie Life!!  Ha!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Neon Pig Cafe

Attention Foodies in or nearby Tupelo, MS!  Yesterday, I had the pleasure of stopping by a very unique establishment on Gloucester Street.  It's called the Neon Pig Cafe.

This place is like no other in the area, because it offers a restaurant and gourmet groceries.  When you walk in the door, you can just sense that you are in a really cool place.  For me, it's a rustic/gourmet feel...if that makes any sense at all!  I know that I'm in the presence of legit Foodie-ness when I am in the Neon Pig...and that's a feeling I like!  It was recently named the Best Burger in America!  Check them out:

This is Seth, the owner.  He gave me the rundown on all the available produce.  It was all very exciting to me, because I get very enthusiastic about that particular food group.  Salt and Pepper Cucumbers, Easter Egg Radishes, Patty Pan/Butternut/Spaghetti Squash, Purple Potatoes, and other interesting selections are available here.  I'm sure the market menu, as well as the restaurant menu, changes based on what's in season.

Right beside the produce fridge is the butcher counter.  Red meats and cheeses are on offer, along with fresh seafood.  I've been really wanting to cook mussels lately.  So I asked if they ever sell them.  Guess what!  They do!  

Will you just look at that ruby red Tuna steak in the back corner!!  I'm currently fantasizing about a quick sear on both sides and my knife cutting through it like it's butter!  Maybe I'm a little strange.  But I'll just say, rare Ahi Tuna is delicious and I enjoy cooking it!...and you should too!

So, how could I decide what to purchase out of all these wonderful treasures??  It was hard, but I already had one thing in particular in mind!...Peruvian Sweetdrop Peppers!  More on them in a moment.  This is the selection I came home with:
Salt and Pepper Cucumbers, 1 white and 1 yellow Patty Pan Squash, Peruvian Peppers, and Tupelo Honey Butter

We had spent the weekend in Memphis, so you can imagine the hearty, heavy food we consumed while there...Can anyone say RIBS??  A quick story on that topic:  I had never in my life, tasted ribs until I was pregnant with my daughter.  I had one taste (at B.B. King's on Beale St.) and that was it.  Ribs became my pregnancy craving for two whole weeks of my second trimester.  I mean, I would eat a whole rack for dinner, most nights of those weeks.  I lived in Jackson, MS at the time and there was a gas station (of all things) that served up really delicious ones.  So a very vivid memory of that time of my life, is standing in line for ribs at that gas station. Ha!!  I've loved ribs ever since...especially Memphis ones.
Back to my original thought:  After some good Memphis eating, I was ready for a veggie meal.  So my goodies from Neon Pig became this:
Socca (Chick Pea Crepes) with Garlic Sauteed Spinach and Parmesan Cheese, Balsamic and Tupelo Honey Butter Roasted Patty Pan Squash and Salt and Pepper Cucumbers on the side.  And as you can see, the most wonderful garnish in the world: Peruvian Sweetdrop Peppers!

Which leads me to a very exciting discussion...
I'm seriously obsessed with these little cuties!  To describe their flavor, I would have to say first, savory (almost garlic like) and then sweet.  It is a very unique flavor.  It's hard to describe.  You just need to try it!  They are so versatile.  You can definitely add them to a salad, top any meat with them, serve them on a flatbread, or on top of a cooked vegetable (the first time I tried them, they were on top of Fried Green Tomatoes).  They even work with breakfast!
...with my hash browns and fried eggs this morning!

So far, Neon Pig is the only place I know of to buy them.  If you know a place in Birmingham, please let me know!  I've checked Whole Foods and Fresh Market.  I didn't find them.  Maybe Bottle and Bone?  Tell me, friends!  I thought about ordering them from Amazon, but they were like a million dollars (as in not really 1 million dollars, but more than I wanted to spend).  Any way you can make it happen, try these!  They are a very interesting and delicious food.  You could simply make any dish gourmet by adding beautiful and tasty Peruvian Peppers as a garnish.

If you want to know how I prepared the Squash, here it is:
I just preheated the oven to 400 degrees, sliced the squash, threw the slices on a roasting pan, topped with splashes of Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil and dollops of the Tupelo Honey Butter, and Salt and Pepper.  Then I roasted it until it looked done and topped with Parmesan Cheese.  Yum!

You might be wondering about the Chick Pea Crepes as well.  They will have to be another blog post.  I have a lot to say about them!  

On Reading Rainbow (a show I was obsessed with as a child and that my kids are now obsessed with, thanks to Netflix), Levar Burton always says, "Until next time...", at the end of the show.  He then fills in something that goes along with the theme of that particular episode.  I'm feeling a bit like Levar right now. Ha!  Until next time...Either go shop at the awesomeness that is the Neon Pig Cafe in Tupelo, MS, or find a place that inspires you like the Pig inspires me!  If nothing else, find a way to experience Peruvian Peppers.  They really are gorgeous! 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Mission

I've mentioned several times before, that I've never been much of a baker.  I enjoy the type of cooking that allows improvisation and creativity.  Baking is not that!  If you want your baked items to turn out right, you have to go precisely by the recipe and instructions.  I have a friend who is an excellent baker.  She gave me several baking tips and they are IN THIS BLOG POST. 

Lately, I've been on a mission to bake the perfect, most beautiful chocolate chip cookies.  Past attempts have resulted in flat, glob-like objects that are just dried out and crumbly.  Some people may like them that way...and that's fine!  I mean no respect!  You know what they say about different strokes...their for different folks.

Here is one of those past attempts.  Though this is a tad bit better than other disasters, it's still not quite what I was hoping for.  My husband compared them to the bottoms of one of his patients' feet...because of the dry flakiness.  Not very appetizing, I have to say!

There is a place called Marks&Spencer.  It is a department store, but also has a gourmet food section. There are none of these stores in the least that I know of.  I've been to the ones in London and Dublin.  It's really a dreamy place!  If you are fortunate enough to be in one of these cities, and you want to have a lovely picnic, this is where you might shop for treats.  To me, M&S has a smell.  That smell is of Shortbread and Chocolate together.  It could be because the bakery offers chocolate chip shortbread.  Don't we love Pinterest?  In the interest of my Mission, and because of my love for M&S, I decided to look up a recipe for chocolate chip shortbread cookies.

As it turns out, this is the recipe for me!

These happen to be the most beautiful, and best tasting, chocolate chip cookies I've made to date.
Here's the recipe:
It's really interesting to me that this recipe does not call for eggs.  Hm.  I'm thinking, dough eating!

A little tip from a friend who is a CCC expert:  She says not to melt the butter.  Just let it get to room temperature.  That's an important tip.  Just watch out for flying sugar/butter bullets as you blend the two together.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Mission is an ongoing effort.  I'm a mom and I believe that this is a required skill for the job!  Let's consider it tasty, on-the-job training.  As I try other recipes, I will share them...if they are successful of course!  I promise to never serve up a recipe that is a total flop.  Thanks for reading about my Mission.  Love!