Oatmeal Power Balls

I have a decent amount of travel for work. This week, travel meant getting up at five and driving across state for a meeting that I would be late for. The biggest issue is that I am not a morning person. The only way I will be staying awake is blasting a mix of metallica, sick puppies, and three days grace, and popping this oatmeal power balls in my mouth every 15 minutes.

These cookies are small, not overly sweet, and perfect for streamlining on a road trip.

RECIPE: Oatmeal Power Balls
Makes 5 Dozens

Cooling Rack
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Oven heated to 375
Baking Sheets

2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Crisco
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
2 Cups Quick Oatmeal
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1 T Vanilla Extract
1/4 t salt
1 t baking soda

1) Cream together the crisco, peanut butter, and brown sugar in a bowl.
2) Add eggs and vanilla extract. IMG_2023
3) Stir in oatmeal, flour, salt, and baking soda, making sure that the entire mixture gets moistened.
4) Mix in chocolate chips.
5) Scoop dough onto ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes in 375 degree oven.
6) Let cool on a cooling rack and enjoy!


Pepper Raspberry Jam

The Pepper Peach Jam was so good, that we decided to make a Raspberry version. This version isn’t as spicy, but the flavor is delicious. I am so looking to sitting around this winter and nibbling on crackers covered in this jam. Fortunately, this recipe makes about 14 quarter pint (4 oz ) jars.

RECIPE: Pepper Raspberry Jam
Makes 14 Four Oz Jars 

Cutting Board
Canning Supplies
Measuring Cup
Potato Masher

4 Cups Sugar
4 Jalapeno Peppers
3 oz Pectin Pouch
3 T Apple Cider Vinegar
8 Cups Frozen Raspberries

1) In a large pot, combine frozen raspberries, sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Mash with a potato masher as it heats and cooks.
2) Chop jalapeno peppers into small pieces. IMG_2002
3) Add peppers into pot and stir with a spatula. Bring the mixture to a boil.
4) Once its at a rolling boil, add the pectin and stir.
5) Let boil for another 5 minutes.
6) Ladle jam into sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.
7) Use a spoon to smooth out/pop any bubbles on the top of the jam.
8) Process in a hot water canner for 8 minutes.


This jam is good on toast, on crackers with a little cream cheese, and on vanilla ice cream. I am sure I will come up with more uses over the coming months as well.



Banana Souffle

I need to expand my skill set by trying new recipes and techniques. For my first challenge, I figured I would try a souffle! I can’t say I have ever had one, and the only thing I knew was the joke about “ssshh” you’ll make the souffle fall! Ends up even a barking dog will not make a souffle fall, so did not need to tip toe around the kitchen.

RECIPE: Banana Souffle 
Makes 4 Servings

Kitchen Aid Mixer
Food Processor
Measuring Spoon
Little Bowls
Oven heated to 400
Baking Sheet
4 Ramekins

3 Egg Whites
1 Egg Yolk
1 Tbs Butter
5 Tbs Sugar
3 Bananas
1 Tbs Vanilla

1) Puree bananas, 2 T sugar, vanilla, egg yolk, and nutmeg in a food processor until smooth.
2) In a little bowl, melt the butter. Brush ramekins with butter. Use 2 Tbs of sugar to coat the inside of the ramekins.
3) In kitchen aid mixer, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaked. Add 1 Tbs of sugar and beat until glossy and firm. IMG_1985

4) Pour banana mixture into a bowl, and blend with 1/4 of the egg whites using a spatula.
5) Fold in the remainder of the egg whites.
6) Drop mixture into ramekins, and tap on counter to flatten a bit.
7) Place ramekins on baking sheet and place in oven for 12-15 minutes.
8) Serve warm right away.

A light and delicious dessert to finish off a day. I would definitely recommend for any time you are trying to impress your friends or family! The banana flavor complements the airy texture of the dessert making it a perfect combination.

Black Bean Dip: Attempt 1

A lot of recipes take time to develop, or you have to make them a few times till the balance is there. This is attempt 1 of a black bean dip that I can serve at parties this fall. Its not quite there yet, but I have ideas on how to get this dip the rest of the way there. For instance, I am thinking of adding another egg, maybe some cream cheese, perhaps hot sauce, upping the spice amounts, or maybe more hot peppers. There is a lot of variation I can do to this recipe, but it is a pretty good base at the moment. With this recipe, feel free to experiment and adapt from this base.

RECIPE: Black Bean Dip 
Makes Many Servings


Cutting Board
Cast Iron Pan
Oven set to Broil

Green Pepper
2 Hot Wax Peppers
Can of Black Beans
Half a block of Pepper Jack Cheese
Half a can of Corn
Chili Powder
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder

1) Dice hot peppers and green peppers and toss into cast iron pan with bacon grease.
2) In a blender, pour entire contents of a can of black beans, 1 egg, cumin, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Puree until smooth.

IMG_19753) Chop onion and add to cast iron pan, along with the half can of corn.
4) Stir vegetables in the pan and they pour black bean mixture over everything. Stir and let come to a boil and immediately turn off heat.
5) Slice pepper jack cheese and top mixture before putting under broiler.
6) Broil until the cheese is brown.
7) Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Lazy Day Ratatouille

I love ratatouille. Both the movie and the food, but mostly the food. A friend introduced the dish to me at a Passover dinner with her family. When I have the time, I pull out her Aunt’s recipe and make a beautiful dish of ratatouille. However, after a long day of work and travel, I don’t have the patience to make the baked pretty version. However, this is my lazy day alternative which is equally as delicious (plus it has cheese! mostly because I have an unhealthy obsession with cheese).

RECIPE: Lazy Day Ratatouille
Makes 3 Servings

Cutting Board
Cast Iron Pan

1 Egg Plant
1 Zucchini
3 Yellow Squash
Tomato Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese

1) Heat tomato sauce in the bottom of a cast iron pan.
2) Slice egg plant, zucchini, and yellow squashes.
3) Sprinkle heavily with thyme and rosemary.
4) Stir to coat the veggies with the herbs and tomato sauce.
IMG_19565) Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally.
6) Top with mozzarella cheese and recover until melted.
7) Serve hot or store in containers to reheat for lunch the next day.




Deep Dish Pizza

I love pizza and this summer I have wanted nothing more than to grill pizza. While I could use our pizza stone to grill some good pizza, why not really go outside the box. Cast iron pan deep dish pizza on the grill. That’s right, a deep dish pizza filled with delicious toppings. I must apologize because the pictures include pictures of balsamic vinegar and feta cheese, which ended up not going on the pizza. I started thinking about fancy pizza, but ended up more all American basic pizza.

RECIPE: Deep Dish Pizza
Makes 2 Servings

Cutting Board
Immersion Blender
Cast Iron Pan
Pot Holders

Garlic Scapes
Cayenne Pepper
Black Pepper
Mozzarella Cheese
Green Pepper
Avocado Oil

1) In a bread maker, add flour, water, oil, salt and yeast according to instructions to create a pizza dough. We added the ingredients in the morning and set the time so it would be ready after work.
2) Chop garlic scapes and garlic cloves and toss into a pot with tomatoes.
3) Immersion blend the tomatoes.
4) Chop the basil and add to the tomato. Season with parsley, cayenne, a touch of sugar, salt, and black pepper. Let simmer while stirring occasionally.
5) Begin cooking sausage in a cast iron pan.
6) Remove sausage, and let pan cool.
7) Heat grill in preparation to bake the pizza.
8) Shred cheese and slice green peppers.

IMG_19469) Press dough into the cast iron pan, top with sauce, cheese, sausage, and green pepper.
10) Put cast iron pan on the hot grill, and close the lid. Temperature should be between 400-500 degrees, like pizza oven hot.
11) Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until fully baked crust.
12) Use multiple pot holders to move pan, it will be insanely hot. Remove pizza to cutting board, cut, and serve. IMG_1948

Baked Beans and Corn Bread

A vegetarian night is always a good idea. That doesn’t mean you have to eat a salad or carrot sticks. I decided to go southern style with our vegetarian meal this week, so here is my veggie filled baked beans and spicy corn bread. You will enjoy this recipe so much! I do apologize that the cornbread is from Jiffy box mix. But come on, its so good and easy! There is a reason it’s America’s favorite as the box tells us.

RECIPE: Baked Beans and Corn Bread
Makes 4-6 Servings

Baking Dish
Cutting Board
Cast Iron Pan
Oven heated to 350

2 Yellow Squash
Pinto Beans
Corn Bread Mix
4 Jalapenos
Canned Corn
Brown Sugar
Celery Seed

1) Mix corn bread mix with the egg and milk as directed on the box. Add half a can of corn.
2) Chop the jalapenos into rings and stir into the  corn bread mixture.
3) In greased pan, spread corn bread mixture evenly and then bake as directed in a 350 degree oven. Remove when it starts to brown.

IMG_19204) Chop yellow squash and zucchini into pieces that are approximately bean sized. Add to cast iron pan.
5) Drain a can of pinto beans and then pour over the veggies. Stir until well mixed.
6) Keep veggies and beans on medium heat, stirring occasionally. IMG_1923
7) Squeeze a heavy dose of ketchup over the mixture, and then a lesser amount of mustard, a handful of brown sugar, and a dash of celery seed over the bean mixture.
8) Stir until the ingredients are incorporated and evenly coated with sauce. IMG_1925
9) Let simmer until the corn bread is down, stirring to make sure nothing burns to the bottom.
10)Serve in a bowl with the corn bread on the bottom and the baked beans over top. A glass of milk on the side would be advised.

Chicken Kabobs

I love kabobs! Though it can be difficult to time it so your meat and vegetables all cooked their optimal amount. No one wants under cooked meats or over cooked vegetables. So my trick when I am just doing dinner for us (and not guests) is to do one skewer for meats, and one for vegetables. That way you can control how everything cooks no problem!

RECIPE: BBQ Chicken Kabobs 
Makes 2 Servings

4 Skewers
Cutting Board
Pot Holder

2 Chicken Breasts
1 Green Zucchini
1 Large Carrot
BBQ Sauce
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder

1) The day before you grill, cube the chicken and soak it in the BBQ sauce. Our sauce is leftover from takeout at a local joint, and it is fantastic.
2) Slice the zucchini and carrots.
3) Skewer the chicken on some sticks and the vegetables on the other, alternating carrot and zucchini.
4) Drizzle balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, and onion powder lightly over the vegetables.
5) Grill, turning the skewers with the potholder as needed.
6) Serve by taking the meat off the skewer, or by eating it straight off. I like to do a mix of both.

Uncooked chicken on the left, cooked chicken on the right!

Braunschweiger Spread

We have a fun game we like to play. When one of us goes to the store without the other, we try to pick up a surprise ingredient. Sometimes its a prepared food, like sriracha salsa, or its raw ingredients, like mango or okra. I really outdid myself this time, and picked up an ingredient whose label was almost completely in German. Luckily, my fiance translated the product information for the braunschweiger, and it ends up its a sausage log of pork and pork liver.

Its a precooked meat, so we decided to experiment and made a delicious spread to go on crackers for lunch one day. If you like deviled ham or your grandma’s ham loaf, you will like our Braunschweiger spread. We will probably up the horseradish ratio next time we make it, so feel free to have a heavy hand with the sauce.

RECIPE: Braunschweiger Spread
Makes 2 to 3 Servings


1/3 log of Braunschweiger
Garden greens
1/2 block of Cream Cheese
Butter Crackers IMG_1895

In a bowl, soften a block of cream cheese.
2) Mix in horseradish sauce to cream cheese, making sure to stir it until all incorporated.
3) Slice in braunschweiger, and break it down until well mixed.
4) Tear up garden greens and add to spread.
5) Serve immediately or chilled on crackers.


Pepper Peach Jam

It was a canning day today. I decided to try out a new recipe inspired by something my uncle Charlie made once. He made amazing jalapeno pepper jelly and a raspberry jalapeno jam. I decided to take his inspiration and run with it. The result is a pepper peach jam made with local jalapenos and peaches.

RECIPE: Pepper Peach Jam
Makes 16 Half Pints

Food Processor
Water Canner

7 or so pounds of Peaches
1 pound Jalapenos
3/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
4-5 Cups of Sugar
1/8 Cup Lemon Juice
1 Pouch Ball Liquid Pectin

1) Wash and pit peaches. Then toss them in a food processor until chopped but not completely liquefied. Put into a large pot.
2) Remove stems from peppers and then toss in the food processor until nice and small pieces. Remove the seeds if you want less spicy, but I kept the seeds in.
3) Add jalapenos, cider, sugar, lemon, and pectin into the peach mixture.
4) Stir and bring to a boil for a minute. Then bring it back down to simmer.
5) Let it cook for 30-45 minutes until thickened.
6) Can in sterilized half pint jar leaving a 1/4 inch head space for 12 minutes in a boiling water canner. You will need to do this in shifts since it makes more than fits in the canner at one time.
7) Remove jars from the canner and let sit for at least 24 hours on the counter, ensuring that the tops properly sealed before storing.
8) Use on nachos, crackers and cream cheeses, meatballs, or toast.