Snicker Doodle Dandies

It’s memorial day, and there are many ways to honor the day. Among our activities for the day was baking a “patriotic” dessert. This recipe is a modified version of snicker doodles that have been nicknamed snicker doodle dandies. The best part of this cookie is that you can serve it in two different ways. The first is as regular drop cookies, the other is as a sliced biscotti.

RECIPE: Snicker Doodle Dandies 
Makes 3-4 dozen Cookies

Mixer (useful but not needed)
Two Mixing Bowls
One Small Bowl
Baking Trays
Wax Paper
Oven heated to 375

1 Cup Margarine
2 Eggs
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup White Sugar
1 T Vanilla
1 1/2 t Cream of Tartar
1 t Baking Soda
Pinch o’ Salt
3 1/2 Cups  Flour
Red and Blue Food Coloring
2 T Sparkle Sugar
1 1/2 t Cinnamon

Beat together margarine, eggs, and sugar until fluffy.
2) Add in vanilla, and rest of dry ingredients (cream of tartar, salt, flour) until thoroughly mixed.
3) Split dough into two bowls. Add red food coloring to you and blue to the other. Stir and add more food coloring until the desired consistent color is reached.
4) Mix sparkle sugar and cinnamon in a smaller bowl.

To make Cookies,
5) Pinch a bit of each color  dough into your hand and roll it into a ball.
6) Roll the ball in the cinnamon and sugar mix and place on the not greased baking sheet. 7) Bake for 10 Minutes until bottom slightly browns. Cool slightly before serving.

To Make Biscotti, 
On wax paper, spread dough of both colors on top of each other. Wrap and freeze for 10-15 minutes.
6) Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on both sides of the dough.
7) Place on not greased baking sheet, and bake for 30-45 minutes or until done.
8) Cool on a rack. Once cooled, slice into biscotti!

Potato Breakfast Scramble

Some mornings you want a hearty filling breakfast that hits your key needs. This isn’t a single note meal like pancakes or cereal or fried eggs. This breakfast has your protein, your vegetables, your fruit, and some vitamin filled carbohydrates. If you need a little extra pep to get through the rest of your day, this is the breakfast for you.

RECIPE: Potato Breakfast Scramble
Makes 2-3 Servings

Cast iron pan
Cutting Board

3 medium Potatoes
2 T Avocado Oil
1 large Scallion
Apple Sauce
Malt Vinegar
3 Eggs
Optional: parsley, hot sauce, cinnamon

Chop potatoes. Toss potatoes in a hot pan with avocado oil
and cover. 

Chop scallions. 
 Stir potatoes as needed, do not over stir or you won’t get the nice browned sides. 

4) When potatoes are about half way done, toss in scallions and a heavy dash of malt vinegar. Cover quickly so the malt vinegar steams around the cooking potatoes. This is my secret ingredient/method that gives this scramble it’s unique flavor profile.
5) When the potatoes are nearly done, crack the eggs straight onto the potatoes.
6) Cover and let the eggs cook into potatoes for about 30 seconds to a minute. Uncover and flip, making certain the yolks crack open. Cover and let finish.
7) Serve apple sauce cold in another bowl with a touch of cinnamon sprinkled on top.
8) Flip scramble onto a plate or serve in a bowl. Top with hot sauce and fresh parsley.


The apple sauce is homemade from last fall. The trick my mom taught me is to never make apple sauce with a single kind of apple. This batch was a mix of three or four varieties, and the flavor is amazing. It has no added sugar, so the tartness and the sweetness of the natural apple flavor just shines through. You will never go back to eating grocery store apple sauce after trying good homemade.

Country Style Bread-maker Bread

I never thought I would say this, but I don’t know what I would do without my bread-maker. It is so nice to just add all the ingredients, press start, and then three hours later have a fresh warm loaf of bread! It’s like kitchen magic. I cannot thank the family friend who gave it to me enough!

While this may be a cheat recipe, I still wanted to share it. I am thinking of making some of this bread into a grilled cheese. Now I am thinking of all the ways I can make a fancy grilled cheese.

RECIPE: County Style Bread
Makes 1 Loaf

Bread Maker (Mine is Oyster Brand)
Measuring Cup

8 oz Warm Milk
1 Egg
4 Cups Flour
1 t Salt
2 t Yeast
2 T Melted Butter


In a the pan, layer the ingredients as listed above.
2) Put the pan in the bread maker.
3) Close the lid, and press start.
4) Take the dog for a walk, watch Netflix, check your e-mail, take a nap, or whatever it is you need to do to pass three hours of time.
5) When the machine beeps, remove the pan and flip the loaf onto a cooling rack.

Bread machine with raw ingredients and three hours on the clock, and three hours later with a golden loaf of warm bread.


Look at the dark brown crust



Pinto Bean Burgers

Every know and then its nice to have a vegetarian dinner. I know most people think of vegetarian as either carbohydrate heavy, leaving you hungry, or composed of ingredients that no one ever keeps in their house. This meal is different because its packed with protein and super filling. The only different ingredient is wheat germ, which gives the meal a nice boost of folic acid and vitamins. Wheat germ is extremely versatile so I don’t mind having it in my kitchen. It adds a nice texture to yogurt, it makes a great addition to oatmeal cookies, and is better then bread crumbs for meatloaf.

Anyway, here is my recipe for a bean burger that gives regular old burgers a run for their money.

RECIPE: Pinto Bean Burgers
Makes 5 Servings

Cast iron pan
Cutting Board

3 small Potatoes
2 t Avocado Oil
1 chopped Scallion
1 cup Mixed Greens
3 sprigs Fresh Parsley
3 t Penzy Vindaloo Seasoning
2 t Chili Powder
1/3 Cup Wheat Germ
Leftover Mustard Drip
5 Buns
3 1/2 Cups drained Pinto Beans
1 egg
Chop potatoes and scallions. Toss potatoes in a hot pan with avocado oil IMG_0921and cover. 
2) Throw beans in blender and mix until mostly liquefied but some larger bean chunks remain.
3) Mix in one egg, parsley, the green part of the chopped scallion, Vindaloo seasoning, wheat germ, and chili powder to the beans.
4) In hot cast iron, drop bean mixture into patty shapes. You should hear a sizzle.
5) Stir potatoes and toss in salt and pepper to taste.
6) Flip burger patties ensuring it browns on both sides.
7) Assemble bun with mixed greens on bottom, and mustard dip and white part of the scallions on top.
8) Serve patties on the buns with potatoes on the side.



Here is the final assembled product ready to be eaten!

Beer Review: Atwater’s Voodoo Vator

IMG_0940.JPGToday’s beer review is the Atwater Brewery’s Voodoo Vator. A dopplebock style lager, this beer is not light in style or for the light weight. It’s 9% alcohol by volume. I had to start writing this review before I started my second for exactly that reason.

The best way to describe the aroma of Voodoo Vator is malty and earthy. Its a sharp dark smell that makes me think of the damp dirt found under old trees. This beer is darker in taste than what I usually enjoy, but I think my boyfriend’s attempt to diversify my beer preferences are to blame. The malty flavor really coats your tongue and stays with you. I was surprised that you can actually taste a hint of alcohol, like it was a liquor instead of a beer.


I would not suggest drinking this beer with anything that is delicate in flavor. This is not a beer that you can appreciate complex food flavors while drinking. This is a heavy beer meant for heavy flavorful meals that can cut through its distinct taste.  To compliment the profile of this beer, we made a dinner of chorizo nachos. I wish I had a picture to share of those! It was a bowl of nacho chips topped with chorizo sauteed with tons of scallions and pepper jack cheese. The spicy chorizo and salty chips were strong enough to cut through the after flavor of the beer in my mouth.

I try to serve beer in their proper vessels. We own quite a variety of beer glasses just for this purpose. To be honest, I have no idea what type of glass is supposed to be used for Dopplebocks. I used a tulip glass, because I think they are fun.

For those of my readers trying to eat healthy, be warned this beer is 285 calories a bottle. Surprised me, but you are forewarned so you can plan accordingly.

Overall, I rate this beer as a “drink again”, but probably as a tasting.

Rice Pudding

On Friday, I found four more pyrex dishes to add to my collection at an estate sale. That means it is pudding time. In the next few months, I will share my secret recipe for chocolate pudding an butterscotch. Today is feeling more like a rice pudding day.

I have to say that I like rice. Rice porridge, fried rice, sticky rice, rice cereal (baby not puffed), Tex-Mex rice, rice and beans, and rice pudding, I will eat it all. You can only imagine the weird looks I got in college when friends would walk into my room and see me eating plain rice with chopsticks on my bed. Therefore, I have a couple variations of rice pudding that I enjoy making, but I will start you off with my simplest recipe.

Be warned, this version is not very sweet. If you like a sweet rice pudding feel free to add more sugar or honey or your preferred sweetener. As is, I enjoy this pudding for breakfast or for dessert.

RECIPE: Rice Pudding
Makes 6 Servings 

Measuring cups and Spoons
6 Pyrex Dishes

1 1/2 Cups Rice
2-3 Cups 1% milk
2 Eggs
2 T Brown Sugar
3-4 T Raisins
Nutmeg (Freshly grated)

1) Heat a cast iron pan on medium high.
2) Add rice to the hot cast iron and let is slightly toast/brown while stirring for a few minutes.
3) Turn down heat to low and pour in milk. Cover and still occasionally until rice is completely cooked. Add more milk if needed.
4) Crack in two eggs and stir until thoroughly mixed.
5) Stir in brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
6) Pour mixture into Pyrex dishes and put in the oven set to heat to 350.
7) Bake in heating oven for 15 minutes until top starts to brown lately.
8) Serve warm or cover and chill.


Louis can’t wait for them to come out of the oven.

Spicy Chicken Salad

We had a busy morning this past Saturday. Farmer’s market, garage sales, laundry, so we decided to do a quick lunch. Tuna salad is usually our go to, but today we branched out and made a quick chicken salad. This dish was delicious and well rounded. Everyone knows its important to get all those daily servings of vegetables.

The highlight of the dish was the Secret Aardvark hot sauce that we were recently gifted. Its a habenero pepper based sauce that kicks our usual hot sauces butt. I guess you could say I was looking for an excuse to use it.

RECIPE: Spicy Chicken Salad
Makes 2 Servings 

Cutting Board

Cooked Chicken Leg
Hot Sauce

1) Chop up chicken and scallion, throw them in a bowl. Removing chicken from bone not shown because it was not pretty.
2) Cut up half a head of broccoli and put in a pot with a little bit of water. Turn up the heat to let the broccoli steam.
IMG_08583) Mayo and hot sauce ratios depend on the amount of chicken used. This was one chicken leg worth of meat which equaled one scoop of mayo (1/4 cup) and about 2.5 tablespoons of hot sauce.
4) Add broccoli into the bowl, making sure no water gets added in.
5) Stir until everything is evenly coated.
6) Serve with a sprinkle of paprika on top.






Pizza Bites: Attempt 2

The bites are back, and better than ever in this sequel post. I used our game night friend as a guinea pigs for this new version, and based on how quickly they went, I’d say it was a success. Luckily, I left some in the pan when I made the serving plate so I could have more than one!

The recipe is basically the same as in my original post  where I tried making pizza bites for the first time. I have highlighted updates in blue below. The biggest changes were using butter instead of avocado oil, adding more sauce and a dipping sauce, and making them less vegetarian friendly with pepperoni.


RECIPE: Pizza Bites 2
Makes Finger Food for Many (or two hungry boys)

Cast iron pan
Kitchen Aid Mixer
Rolling Pin
Cutting Board
2 Little Bowls
Oven heated to 350

1 1/2 Cups Flour
2 t Yeast
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Cup Warm Water
1 T vegetable oil
Extra Flour
Tomato Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 a head of Garlic
Hot Pepper Flakes
2 T unsalted Butter


1) In kitchen aid mixer, throw together flour, yeast, salt, water, and vegetable oil.
2) Mix on low for 30 seconds, then on high for about four minutes. Let the dough sit for about 15 minutes.
3) While the dough sits, chop the garlic and put it in a bowl with butter. Microwave for 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Spread a small amount in the bottom of the cast iron pan, and reserve the rest for later.

IMG_08864) Sprinkle hot pepper flakes across the bottom of the cast iron. 
5) Roll the dough out thin.
6) Chop the mozzarella and pepperoni into small bite sizes. The pepperoni was cut into thirds or sixths.
7) Spread  the dough with tomato sauce and sprinkle with oregano and parsley. Layer the mozzarella and pepperoni at regular intervals on the dough.IMG_0888
8) Cut the dough between the cheese and meat piles.
9) Wrap the dough around the filling in little packets. Placed the wrap slices into the buttered cast iron pan.
10) Spoon the rest of the butter mixture over the top.  Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes.
11) Bake for 20-25 minutes until dough is slightly browned and the entire apartment smells delicious. Serve warm in the pan or on a plate.

The pan on the left is the raw pan and the right side is after baking. I used extra sauce compared to last time and it sort of got everywhere.

The dipping sauce I served was tomato sauce mixed with some basil and thyme in a small bowl. It seemed to be a simple, but popular, addition. I would definitely recommend taking the time to make it.

All the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Brownies

Here is a fun variation on my basic brownies recipe. It was my friend’s birthday the other day, and they are a chocoholic. I was thinking of how to make my already chocolaty brownies even more decadent. The answer was bittersweet chocolate chips. These were added to the batter and then sprinkled on top as well. While I prefer frozen yogurt over ice cream, even I can admit that this brownie would benefit from being topped with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

RECIPE: Basic Brownies
Makes 9 Servings

8 X 8 Dish
Oven heated to 350
Microwave safe bowl

1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 t vanilla
1/2 t Salt
1/2 t Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Flour
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 Cups Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1/3 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

1) In a mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and vegetable oil.
2) Grease the glass baking dish with vegetable oil.
3) Add dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. The batter should be similar in consistency to box mix.
4) Stir in a half of the chocolate chips (1 Cup).
5) Pour batter into greased pan and smooth it into all the corners.

6) Scoop peanut butter into a microwave safe dish. Heat for about 30 seconds until peanut butter becomes thin and pour-able. Drizzle over all the batter.
7)  Sprinkle with the rest of the chocolate chips.
8) Bake 20-30 minutes, or until done.


So good. So bad for you.



Louis was pretty sad that he couldn’t have any of the batter or the resulting brownies, but he got over his disappointment when I gave him a rawhide.


Tuna Melt Picnic

It has finally stopped raining and the sun has come out! It’s time to breakout the picnic blanket. While many people do the usual cold cuts, I decided to celebrate the first picnic of the year with a fancier sandwich. We always have the ingredients for tuna salad around, and have fun messing around with the flavor profiles. This variation skips the mayo, but uses mustard and lemon juice to make it stick together. Our neighbor gifted us with some tomato basil bread which I used for my melt, while my boyfriend used our homemade bread. Louis voted for his own sandwich, but only got a taste of cheddar cheese instead.

RECIPE: Tuna Melts
Makes 2 Sandwiches

Cutting Board
Measuring Spoon

2 Cans Tuna in water
6-7 Radishes
Lemon Juice
Cayenne Pepper
Cheddar Cheese

1) Drain the tuna and toss it in a bowl.
2) Chop radishes into small pieces.
3) Mix about 2-3 T of mustard and 1 t lemon juice into the tuna.
4) Add radishes, two big pinches of dill, a few dashes of cayenne pepper, and stir until evenly coated. IMG_0911

5) Thinly slice cheddar cheese.
6) On one side of bread, pile tuna salad and top with cheddar cheese.
7) Put sandwiches under the broiler until cheese melts.
8) Serve warm or pack for a great picnic lunch.


Its hard to take a nice picture of tuna melts since they are such messy sandwiches, especially when you are just going to wrap them up. To go along with our sandwiches, we packed strawberries, pretzels, and cookies for dessert. It was a good picnic. Though Louis never got the bite of my sandwich that he wanted.