Foodie Pen Pals

31 Jul

I started this blog as a way to communicate recipes with people who asked for them. I would go to a party and bring something with me, cookies, fruit pizza, cakes, etc. and someone would ask for the recipe. I would tell them that since they requested the recipe, I would put my modified recipe up on the blog. I was loving the feedback! It made me try to come up with recipes and also, it made me dream. Big. Owning my own bakery big. But there are times in life, summer, where I think “why am I doing this?! I don’t have time!”

This past month has been a whirlwind especially. But I was so excited when my foodie pen pal match poped into my inbox. “Hi! My name is Jennifer and I am your foodie pen pal for July!” I was SO excited to get a pen pal box from her. Weird as it sounds, this foodie pen pal project had me slow down and think about 2 strangers this month. Jennifer (no blog yet, but soon!) who sent me a GREAT package and Lara (My Milk Glass Heart) who I sent a package to.

Jennifer sent me alllllll of this beautiful STUFF! ūüôā

Her package was BRILLIANT! I was given all of the ingredients to make an Italian feast! (plus a recipe she has never shared with anyone!) I am making the lasagna this week! Risotto, a hand written card (a requirement of foodie pen pals), herbed olive oil, and more! It made my month! Thanks again Jennifer!

If you want to join foodie pen pals, CLICK HERE!

foodiepal stamp2 Foodie Penpals


Rustic Rosemary Flatbread

20 Jul

Have I told you about my obsession with Smitten Kitchen? Whenever I google anything, her site comes up. Today I realized I had TONS of fresh rosemary on my little plant that needed to be used. I googled herbed flatbread and her recipe came up. So, I made this flatbread at 1am. Cause I had to! And it was fantastic.

Rustic Rosemary Flatbread

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • Kosher Salt

Preheat oven to 450¬įF with a heavy baking sheet or pizza stone on a middle rack.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a spatula until a dough forms. Knead dough gently until mixed and roll out (will make 2 large flatbreads)

Slide rolled out dough and parchment paper together onto the preheated baking sheet or stone, and bake about 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Leaving the oven on, remove tray from oven and quickly sprinkle with 1/4 of grated cheese. Bake an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until browned at edges and in thinner spots. Remove flatbreads from oven a final time, quickly drizzle each with honey , sprinkle with salt and garnish with rosemary. Cut each cracker width-wise into sections with a sharp knife. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

LA Eats

18 Jul

Over the fourth of July, my husband and I finally went on a much-needed vacation! We went to Los Angeles, CA for four days and it was a dream. I wanted to recap some of the things we did as well as the amazing food!

The Hollywood Sign! For some reason, I was SO excited to see this!

See the stars on the ground behind us? This is us at the Hollywood walk of fame ūüôā

Us in front of Jinpachi – where I had the best sushi EVER

And also this yummy chocolate souffle!

Blu Benedict from The BluJam Cafe on Melrose Avenue!

One of the highlights of my trip! Sprinkles Cupcakes! A very famous cupcake bakery in Beverly Hills. I had one red velvet cupcake and one peanut butter chocolate. Best cupcake I have ever had.

Funny Story: When they told Kevin the total for our bill, he looked a little scared and gave them his card. Later he told me the cupcakes were $90! I was shocked! WHAT? Were they made of gold?! I asked to see his receipt and it said $9, not $90. When I asked Kevin why on earth he would pay $90 for 2 cupcakes he said “I love you!” I was kind of shocked, I don’t love myself enough to buy $90 cupcakes! My husband is awesome.

Let’s talk about this pizza. We wanted pizza and wanted to find the best spot in LA, so I googled it and found Bottega Louie, a place in downtown LA that was so crisp and clean I felt like I was eating in a hospital. It was beautiful. Open kitchen with copper pots, a food bloggers dream kitchen. This pizza was perfect. Crisp but soft at the same time! They also have a bakery. With a WALL of macaroons!

A WALL OF MACAROONS. French Macaroons. I bought two, a earl grey and a salted caramel. This place made a macaroon lover out of Kevin. I wish I would have boughten more.

This may be dumb but I have been hearing about Chic Fil A for years and how wonderful it is. I had chicken nuggets and they were really good!

We also went to Gramins Chinese Theater, Venice Beach, drove around the Hollywood Hills, and spent some time with my cousin and a friend of mine. The best part of this vacation was spending quality time with my husband. Really. It was great!

(Venice Beach)

Household Tips – Guest Post by Katie Berry

2 Jul





I’m sorry. April can’t come to her blog right now, she’s on her first ever vacation as an adult. Once she returns from Los Angeles, she will update you. For now, please read this amazing guest post by Katie Berry of House Wife How To’s. She’s sharing her Top 10 tips on housework.

Please leave a comment after the-



My Top 10 Housekeeping Tips

When people find out that I don’t particularly enjoy cleaning, they’re always surprised. Truth is, I enjoy having a clean house, but the process of getting there? Not so much. That’s why I’ve spent a couple of decades collecting (and memorizing) tips to make cleaning easier and, most importantly, faster. Because, frankly, I’d rather play video games with my son or “window shop” for shoes online than spend¬†the¬†day cleaning. So, at April’s¬†request, I’m going to share my Top 10 Tips with you in the hope they help you find more time to play with your kids… or your shoes.

1.¬†Make your bed every morning: it gives you forward momentum the rest of the day. The clothes on the floor will look¬†out-of-place, the shoes by the door will beg¬†to be¬†put away, and you’ll find yourself happy to take care of them.

2. Tidy your bathroom when you use it. Swish water in the sink to clean away toothpaste, then grab a dry washcloth and buff away spots on the mirror. Put your makeup and things away, wet the cloth and wipe off the vanity. Suddenly, your bathroom looks presentable.

3.¬†Keep the kitchen sink empty.¬†A clean sink reminds family members to pick up after themselves, while a sink full of dirty dishes gives them permission to add to the mess. Clean dishes as you cook, too, and your kids won’t feel overwhelmed when asked to help with the dinner dishes.

4.¬†Do laundry daily.¬†For instance: sheets on Mondays, towels on Tuesdays, darks on Wednesdays,¬†brights¬†on Thursdays, lights on Fridays, underwear and socks on Saturdays, and whites on Sundays. Start your load while you’re waiting for the coffee pot, transfer it to the dryer or hang it out after breakfast, and you’ll be done with laundry long before lunch.

5.¬†Clean and prep produce the day you buy it.¬†What’s the point of buying produce if it’s just going to¬†rot¬†in the fridge? Cut carrots and celery into sticks right away, slice melons into wedges, tear lettuce and wrap it in paper towels; the half-hour it takes will help¬†you eat that produce while it’s still fresh, and may even cut down on unhealthy snacking!

6.¬†Forbid shoes in the house.¬†Eighty percent of household dust comes in on the soles of our shoes. Keep nice baskets near entrances and ask your family to remove their shoes and it’ll cut down how much dusting and vacuuming you have to do.

7.¬†Tackle the clutter regularly.¬†Kitchen counters and tables are notorious clutter magnets. Keep the mess from taking over by purging it regularly or, at a¬†least¬†stacking it neatly. (Chances are while you’re stacking, you’ll find things to purge.)

8.¬†Clean, even when things look clean.¬†Once you’ve developed a cleaning schedule, stick to it even when things look clean. Just like exercise, once you skip a day it gets too easy to skip another and another, until you’re faced with a horrible mess that feels too big to deal with.

9.¬†Never leave a room¬†empty-handed.¬†Most of a room’s clutter is simply stuff that belongs somewhere else. You can spend an entire day (or even a weekend) de-cluttering a room, or you can do it a little at a time. Which sounds easiest to you?

10.¬†If it only takes a minute, spend that minute NOW.¬†Straighten the sofa pillows. Dust the coffee table. Wipe the fingerprints off the microwave. There are so many housekeeping tasks that take a minute or less, but tackling them one at a time can make a huge difference. Think you’re too busy? Set a timer to go off every 60 minutes, then tackle five tasks. By the end of the day you’ll be stunned how much better your house looks!

Check out more tips from Katie here. She certainly has helped me around my house!

Spicy Summit EPA Mustard

27 Jun

My favorite part of my favorite movie, Alice in Wonderland, is when Alice sits down for down for tea with the Mad Hatter and they are trying to fix the White Rabbits watch. They put lots of things in the watch to fix it. Butter, jam, tea, salt, etc. But not mustard.The brown hare suggests mustard and the Mad Hatter says “Mustard?! Lets not be silly!”

I think the Mad Hatter threw away the mustard because it was yellow and boring run of the mill mustard, unlike the mustard that I made that completely blew my mind. This mustard combined a local beer (Summit Brewing Company’s Extra Pale Ale aka EPA) and a tiny bit of horseradish. This mustard is grainy with a kick.

This mustard could have fixed the White Rabbits watch, It’s that awesome.

Spicy Summit EPA Mustard

  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds (whole foods carry seeds in bulk)
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup Summit EPA (Or any beer, IPAs work well also)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Prepared Horseradish*

In a blender, combine all of the above ingredients. Stick the very tip of the a toothpick in the horseradish and swish in blender before blending. The brown mustard seeds are a spicy, so lots of horseradish and it will be too spicy. Blend for 3 minutes or until you reach the consistency you would like. Pour into a pint mason jar or airtight container and let sit 5 hours. Keep refrigerated. Enjoy with pretzels or as part of your 4th of July BBQ spread.

*What less spice? Omit horseradish and use 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds and 1/8 cup brown mustard seeds, brown seeds carry more spice.

Ingredients I used:


Chicken Gyros with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

18 Jun


It’s a rare occasion if you hear me say dang like that. I believe the last time I said it, I was eating a Turkey Burger I was told was life changing, which it was. These Chicken Gyros are dannnnnnnng worthy.

It’s the dill guys, really, who doesn’t LOVE dill?! This marinade makes the chicken unbelievably tender and greek-like, without the hassle of 1000 ingredients you’ve never heard of or can find.

Again I say “Dannnnnnnng!”

Chicken Gyros with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

2 chicken breasts, cut in slices or cubes
1 Tbsp dried dill weed
1/4 large onion, sliced
Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
salt and pepper

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
8 oz. Greek Yogurt
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and diced
2-3 Tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup white onion finely chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper–to taste

6 pita pockets
sliced tomatoes


Place the chicken and all other ingredients into a gallon-size freezer bag.  Allow to marinate for a few hours or overnight. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil. Saute the chicken and onions until chicken is cooked through.

To make the sauce, put all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Store in fridge until ready for use.

In the pita, place tomato, lettuce, chicken and top with sauce. ENJOY!

Recipe adapted form Cafe Johnsonia

Basil Truffles

7 Jun

Did your head do a little tilt when you saw the title of this post? You are probably reading this post very curious as to what the heck a basil truffle tastes like. One word? Interesting. It is like nothing I have ever tasted before. Especially with the candied basil on top.

How did I come up with it?  I love truffles, I love basil, and I attended a wedding last weekend with candied orange cupcakes. Candied basil seemed as though it belonged atop of this beautiful creation. Viola! Basil Truffles. The most interesting thing maybe ever.

Basil Truffles

For the Truffles-

  • 8oz Ghirardelli (or similar quality brand) 60% cocoa chocolate, divided
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 7 leaves of fresh basil

For the Candied Basil-

  • 1 egg white
  • 3 large basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup super fine sugar

In a small bowl, roughly chop 6oz of chocolate and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a low boil and add basil leaves. Boil for 2 minutes and cover for 15 minutes. Strain the basil out of the cream and put back on burner for 1 minute. Pour cream over chocolate and set in fridge.

While the chocolate mix is cooling, make the candied basil. Crack an egg and separate the yolk from the white. Dip both sides of all basil leaves into the egg white and then immediately into sugar. Set aside. When the leaves are completely dry, cut with a scissor into strips.

Take the chocolate mixture out of the fridge and form into balls (if you have plastic gloves, break them out for this!). Return balls to the fridge. Melt the remaining chocolate and have candied basil close by.

Using a toothpick, fork, or dipping tool; dip the balls into the chocolate and quickly place candied basil on top. Let chocolate harden in fridge or freezer. Enjoy!