It’s been awhile since I last posted, too busy off adventuring on campsites and scooping out islands.:)  I’m constantly changing my focus on things I drift in different directions frequently from writing short stories, pinning on Pinterest ideas for upcoming stories, finding new hiking trails, taking some swings with my racket at that beautiful little yellow ball……. to finding new things to whip up in the kitchen.  My mind is not programmed to stick to one goal I need many.  I love trying new food restaurants it gives me ideas of things to cook too, this is where my inspiration comes from.  I was recently forwarded a You Tube Video in making a healthy dessert.  Now, I have never liked the idea of cutting back on the ending prize to a meal, I’m more about cutting back on the meal itself but don’t mess with my dessert.   I love to try new things so I gave it a try and found that Stevia Sugar is just not my thing, we could never be friends…..I like real things not imitation of. ;)   After biting into that horrible cardboard of a dessert,  I had a dream last night of what a horrible cook I have become.   I woke up with a mission to make a dessert.  While on Pinterest looking for ideas off my recipes to try board….I pinned Mango Tart with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream by Just A Taste a while back and I”m so excited this is fantastic! :))  So creamy and with nice tender mango slices….in love. :))

mango pie






Thought I”d throw in my blog in progress photo…..

in the works

Pastry Cream

Yield: 1 (9-inch) tart


For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

For the filling:
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 Bourbon vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large mangos, cut into thin slices

Equipment: food processor; 9-inch nonstick tart pan with removeable bottom


Make the crust:

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the pastry blade, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse just until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is in large clumps.

Spray a 9-inch nonstick tart pan (with removable bottom) with cooking spray. Transfer the dough into the tart pan, and then using your fingers, press it into the pan in an even layer to form the base and sides of the tart crust. Using a fork, prick all over the bottom of the crust.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze it for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Remove the plastic wrap and place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Bake it for 13 to 15 minutes or until it’s golden brown. Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the pan. Once the crust has cooled completely, carefully push the bottom of the pan up to release it from the sides. Place the tart on a serving dish and then prepare the filling.

Make the filling:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Sift the flour and cornstarch into the bowl with the eggs, whisking until smooth.

Add the milk to a medium saucepan. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the milk then add the scraped bean to the saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil just until the milk starts to foam. Remove the milk mixture from the heat, take out the vanilla bean and then very slowly whisk the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.

Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook it, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil. Once it boils, continue whisking constantly for an additional 30 to 60 seconds until it thickens. Immediately pour the mixture into a clean bowl and cover it with plastic wrap so that the plastic wrap is touching the pastry cream. Place the bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice water to bring it to room temperature.

Once the pastry cream is at room temp, whisk it to remove any lumps then pour it into the completely cooled tart shell. Arrange the mango slices on top, starting in the center and then fanning them outwards to mimic flower petals. Slice and serve the tart immediately or store it, covered in plastic wrap, in the fridge for a maximum of two hours before serving.

Kelly’s Notes:
The crust and pastry cream can be prepared 1 day in advance and assembled the day of serving. Cover both the crust and pastry cream securely with plastic wrap and store the crust at room temp and the pastry cream in the fridge.

Awhile back I made this awesome side dish and I thought well it’s just a side of veggies I won’t post the recipe but than I lost the magazine. :(  After probably months did I pick up the magazine on the page of these veggies folded back in the China Cabinet and I thought I need to post this recipe as reference.  Not to mention who doesn’t want to find different ways with veggies?  I found this tasty recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine and it is fantastic.  The recipe actually calls for Broccoflower- which is a combination of Broccali and Cauliflower mut mix. ;p   I just added both to the recipe.  I love this side dish so much I had the left overs by themselves for lunch the next day- my vegan lunch. ;)   I made this dish along side some Rotisserie Chicken and Roasted Jalapeno’s. :))

veggie dish

  • 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium Broccoflower (or cauliflower), cut into 1- to 2-inch florets (about 5 cups)
  • 10 oz. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved if small, quartered if large (about 3 cups)
  • 10 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 3 4-inch rosemary sprigs
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter

Combine the vinegar, maple syrup, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the Broccoflower, mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, and 1 tsp. salt; toss well to coat.

Cover the pan with the lid ajar by about 1 inch. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the florets start to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. As the mixture cooks, you should hear a gentle sizzle.

Uncover, turn the heat down to low, and cook, stirring occasionally and then pushing the vegetables back into a single layer so that most have direct contact with the pan, until the vegetables are tender and well browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the vinegar mixture and the butter. Stir gently until the butter has melted. Discard the rosemary sprigs and season to taste with more lemon juice and salt. Serve right away or let sit off the heat, partially covered, until ready to serve, and then reheat gently over medium-low heat.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 150; Fat (g): fat g 11; Fat Calories (kcal): 100; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2.5; Protein (g): protein g 4; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 10; Polyunsaturated Fat (g):1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 210; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 5; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Pork Lemongrass Banh Mi

I’ve had Mendocino Farms Restaurant bookmarked for quite a while now and I finally got to try one of their new locations.  I tried their lemongrass Banh Mi and loved it so much I had to find a way to get that recipe replicated.  I found the perfect recipe by Rasa Malaysia.  I marinated the meat for 4-6 hours before cooking it up and just loved it so much I will keep doing it the same way in future repeats.   For the Carrot slaw I didn’t have any Daikon but I did find an awesome replacement- use Jicama, this is a traditional Mexican fruit but it tastes way better than Daikon.  Skip the steps of draining the liquid and just add it at the end when assembling the sandwich’s together. I don’t have it pictured here.  You can find this fruit at Sprouts or Mexican Markets.  I regret using this bread in picture-  I will definitely find fresh baked bread from a bakery next time.

banh mi

banh mi2

banh mi3


2 lbs boneless pork butt
(cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, 8-inch length by 2 1/2-inch width)
4-6 8-inch baguette rolls, sliced lengthwise in the center
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves
5 Jalapeno chilies, deseeded and thinly sliced
Pickled carrots and daikon (store-bought or homemade)

Lemongrass Pork Marinade:

1/2 cup minced lemongrass
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
5 shallots, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil/regular cooking oil
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce


Lightly pound the pork slices with a mallet/back of the kitchen knife. In a bowl, mix all the Marinade ingredients well. Put in the pork slices and marinade for about 1-2 hours/overnight. Discard excess marinade before use.

Preheat grill until ready to use. Gently arrange marinated pork slices onto the grill. Grill until the pork is nicely charred on both sides and meat is thoroughly cooked. If use indoor broiler oven, broil for 5-7 minutes on each side or until the meat is completely cooked and nicely charred.

Remove lemongrass pork from grill and assemble the baguettes with mayonnaise spread, and then put the sliced Jalapeno chilies, a slice of grilled lemongrass pork, and finish off with a handful of pickled carrots and daikon and cilantro leaves. Serve a whole baguette or cut the baguette into half.

For Carrot Slaw- Use Veit World Kitchen’s Recipe– I replaced the Daikon with Jicama

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 pound daikons, each no larger than 2 inches in diameter, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
1  1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water

1. Place the carrot and daikons in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Use your hands to knead the vegetables for about 3 minutes, expelling the water from them. They will soften and liquid will pool at the bottom of the bowl. Stop kneading when you can bend a piece of daikon so that the ends touch but the daikon does not break. The vegetables should have lost about one-fourth of their volume. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then press gently to expel extra water. Return the vegetables to the bowl if you plan to eat them soon, or transfer them to a 1-quart jar for longer storage.

2. To make the brine, in a bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, the vinegar, and the water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the vegetables. The brine should cover the vegetables. Let the vegetables marinate in the brine for at least 1 hour before eating. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Beyond that point, they get tired.

Recipe from: Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors(2006, Ten Speed Pres

I love making Turkey Burgers- the meat is healthy to cook with.  If you hit the search button on my blog- several different versions will probably come up but this latest one I really love.  I nabbed this tasty recipe from food.com.  I added 2 Tablespoons of toasted sesame oil to my recipe I just love the flavor of it, I kept all the other ingredients the same I also used Panko Bread Crumbs.  For my toppings, I put lettuce and Avocado on the bottom and topped it off with roasted eggplant and Sweet Onion.  I’m serious about my veggies if they are not along side they are going into my meal. ;)

turkey burgers eggplant




  1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl.
  2. Shape into 6 patties.
  3. Pan-fry, broil, or grill until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
  4. Serve in hamburger buns with desired toppings.

My mom is from Tennessee so I grew up eating biscuits and gravy, it was my favorite as a kid.  I won’t ever be able to get mine to taste like hers but I did find an incredible version from Tasting Table.  The gravy really takes this dish over the top.  I used Chicken Sausage with roasted peppers in it- which gives off very little fat compared to pork sausage so I added 1 tsp of Olive oil to the gravy.  While the biscuits came out amazing- nice and fluffy I did squeeze and knead the dough a little even when it says clearly in the directions not to and it’s to avoid tough biscuits but it’s a habit I have for making scones.   Whatever you do don’t cook these biscuits on a cookie sheet- the butter dripped all over my oven and as my 4 year old put it, “The house is foggy, it’s going to be a cold day,” haha.  It smoked up the house.  Use a rim baking sheet for the biscuits.  I didn’t give up with the smoking drama I just grabbed a huge knife and wet paper towel to quickly grab that grease all over my oven and used another pan to catch the drippings. I didn’t grate the butter as indicated in recipe I just sliced it with a butter knife as thinly as I could.   I love this recipe so much!!! So much flavor!!!

bisquits and gravy





  • Ingreidents

2 biscuits

4 ounces fresh pork breakfast sausage

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Read more: http://www.tastingtable.com/cook/recipes/sausage-gravy-biscuits-recipe-sawmill-gravy#ixzz3X1uIam5s


1. Place your biscuits in a warm oven or toaster oven to heat through.

2. Place a medium skillet pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sausage and brown, using a wooden spatula to break up the sausage into bite-size pieces, 4 to 5 minutes. Note: It’s okay if some of the sausage sticks to the pan.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and sprinkle the flour into the pan, stirring often for 1 minute.

4. Pour in the milk and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring the gravy to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the gravy thickens, 8 to 10 minutes. It should look velvety and have the thickness of heavy cream. Season the gravy with salt, black pepper and cayenne.

5. Split your biscuits and arrange in shallow bowls. Pour the gravy over the biscuits and serve immediately.

Read more: http://www.tastingtable.com/cook/recipes/sausage-gravy-biscuits-recipe-sawmill-gravy#ixzz3X1uBXeYm



10 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup chilled buttermilk

¼ cup chilled heavy cream

Flakey salt (such as Maldon), for sprinkling


1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°.

2. Grate the frozen butter using the large side of a box grater. Transfer the butter to a bowl and place in the freezer to chill.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and baking soda into a large bowl. Whisk in the salt.

4. Using a fork, stir in the grated, chilled butter then make a well in the center. Add the buttermilk and cream, and stir until the dough begins to clump and become shaggy.

5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Working quickly, gently press and fold the dough 4 to 5 times (try not to knead or squeeze the dough), then form it into a rectangle. Pat the dough down to a uniform thickness of ¾ inch.

6. Using a 2½-inch cutter, press straight down through the dough, without twisting. Gather and pat down scraps if needed. Place the biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet so that they are just touching and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

7. Sprinkle each biscuit with flaky salt and bake until golden on top, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Make ahead: Dough can be made ahead, cut into biscuits, frozen on a sheet tray and transferred to a resealable plastic bag for up to a month.

Read more: http://www.tastingtable.com/cook/recipes/how-to-make-southern-biscuits-recipe#ixzz3XKkJk2Ir

Read more: http://www.tastingtable.com/cook/recipes/how-to-make-southern-biscuits-recipe#ixzz3XKk9htVC

Strawberry Cream Pie

For Easter this year I found a quick and easy recipe that was light yet flavorful.   It has the same steps in making a cheesecake minus the eggs, flour and baking process.  I loved the strawberries on top it was the perfect touch of sweetness.  I got this awesome recipe from food blogger Center Cut Cook.   This will make a perfect summer time BBQ dessert- its cold and refreshing and you can change up the fruit topping with one of your choice :))

strawberry pie2

Strawberry pie

1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust – or make one yourself  1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese 1/2 cup confectioners sugar 1/2 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup heavy cream 2 cups strawberries, cut into slices CRUST INGREDIENTS 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, finely ground 1/3 cup granulated sugar 6 tablespoons melted butter DIRECTIONS Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs with 1/3 cup sugar and 6 tablespoons melted butter. When well combined, press into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate. Press the crust firmly into the pan and chill for 1 hour. Bake for 7 minutes then allow to cool completely. Use your mixer to beat 1 cup heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside. With your mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in sour cream and mix well. Add in confectioners sugar and mix, then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Fold in the whipped cream from step four and gently stir to combine. Spread the pie filling into the cooled graham cracker crust, then top with fresh sliced strawberries. Allow to chill in the fridge for at least three hours before serving. Drizzle chocolate syrup over the pie if you wish. Alternatively, instead of the graham cracker crust, you can use an Oreo crust.

Recipe: http://www.centercutcook.com/strawberries-and-cream-pie/

I picked up some Cod in Costco since I never see it and decided to make a Cod Chowder on this cool weather day. :))  I have a Cod Chowder recipe already on my food blog but I wanted to change it up a bit.  I don’t have the Clam Juice or Potato’s that it calls for so I did some substitutions.  I sauteed yellow sweet onion in 2 TB butter along with a jalapeno and left a few seeds to give it some spice.   Than I added two handfuls of chopped mushrooms and some dashes of dried Thyme, bay leaf, smoked paprika, black pepper and salt.  I diced up 1 Large Sweet Potato and added it in, than pour in chicken broth about 1/2 cup and enough water to cover tops of potato’s.  I covered it and let that cook on low heat.  I stirred that up and once the sweet potato’s began to fall apart easily I added in my 1 inch diced Cod 2 pieces.  I covered it up and let that simmer some more. Once cooked through I turned off heat and added in about 1/2 cup heavy cream- add more for thickness.  When I stirred it up the sweet potato broke apart and it gave the soup a nice orange color to it.  This is so delicious!  It has a subtle spiciness to it and would go perfect with some toasted sour dough. :))

Enjoy!  Not the loveliest picture of it but soups and chowders are the most difficult to photograph. ;p

cod soup


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