Soups

Recipe—20 Minute Sausage, Spinach, & White Bean Soup

20 Minute Sausage, Spinach, & White Bean Soup

Hello cold weather! It is finally starting to feel like winter out here in California. Just this week we finally have some back to back days of rain and some serious wind going on and I freaking love it! It’s the kind of weather that just makes you want to wrap yourself in a heavy blanket and eat hearty bowls of soup all day long. This soup recipe is awesome because there is so much good flavor and it is really filling, and best of all, it is one of those meals that you can have on the table in 20 minutes. You do not have to be a well-versed chef to make this. You are basically just adding ingredients to a pot and letting your stove do the rest of the work. Sounds like the perfect lazy rainy-day meal to me!

Note: If you have a busy week ahead, chop the onion, carrots, and celery over the weekend and store in a container or a zip loc bag so they are ready to go!

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp olive oil
1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 c chicken broth
2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
3 c baby spinach

STEPS

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
  • Add the sausage to the pot and cook until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes making sure to stir occasionally.
  • Add the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and cook for another 3–4 minutes making sure to stir occasionally.
  • Add the broth, beans, oregano, bay leaves, salt and pepper to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and allow it to simmer for 8–10 minutes.
  • Add the baby spinach to the pot and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted.
  • Ladle into bowls and enjoy!
Brunch

Recipe—French Toast Casserole

French Toast Casserole

Christmas morning can sometimes be a bit chaotic with hustle and bustle of gift giving, cleaning up of all the shreds of paper and ribbon, and then sometimes the mad dash to clean the house before relatives arrive for round two of Christmas. At least that’s how it is in our home. However, on Christmas morning I always want to sit down and have a nice breakfast with my crew, I just don’t always have the time to make a big Christmas worthy breakfast. However, I do have the time to throw a casserole in the oven. So here you have French Toast Casserole to save the morning!

Several years back I posted a recipe for Blueberry French Toast Casserole. Not to toot my own horn, but toot toot! It’s amazing if you haven’t given it a try. What I love about french toast casserole is you can prep the dish the day before, throw it in the oven in the morning, and boom! Just like that you have a hot and delicious breakfast with almost no work. This recipe has all that delicious cinnamon goodness baked into a sweet bread pudding with a crispy streusel topping. It is so tasty!

So if you are looking for a quick and easy breakfast that you can make in advance, then this is the recipe for you.

French Toast Casserole

INGREDIENTS
12 slices sourdough bread (or a sourdough loaf), cut into 1” cubes
10 eggs
2 c milk
1/2 c heavy cream
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sugar
1 c brown sugar, divided
1/2 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c cold butter, cut into small pieces

STEPS

  • Cut the loaf of sourdough into cubes and distribute them in a greased 9” x 13” pan.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, and vanilla.
  • Whisk in a 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and all the granulated sugar to the egg mixture
  • Pour the egg mixture over the bread.
  • Using your fingers or the back of a spatula gently press all of the bread pieces down into the egg mixture.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the fridge 8 hours or overnight.
  • For the streusel topping, in a medium bowl, mix together the other 1/2 cup of brown sugar, flour, cinnamon.
  • Add the cut-up butter to the topping mix and using a large fork or pastry cutter mix it all together until it is a nice crumbly consistency.
  • Store the streusel in a Ziploc bag in the fridge until ready to bake.
  • When ready to bake, remove the casserole dish and streusel from the fridge and allow it to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Sprinkle the streusel topping over the french toast.
  • Cover the dish back up with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is a nice golden brown and the egg mixture is set, about an additional 15–20.
  • Remove from oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Cut and serve with a pat of butter and some warm syrup.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Craisin White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (AKA Santa’s Favorite)

Craisin White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

One of my favorite things about Christmas is all the traditions that go along with it. Gingerbread house building, baking, listening to Christmas music, hanging the stockings, you catch my drift. There is just so much magic in the month leading up to Christmas. Well, ever since my son with 10 months old we have taken him for annual photos with Santa. They are all framed and sit in chronological order (have a mentioned I have OCD tendencies before? LOL) along the entertainment center leading up to Christmas.

Santa

This year he is 10 years old and he still wanted to go take a pick with Santa. With COVID I didn’t think we could make that happen but sure enough, we found a place that was doing physically distanced photos by appointment only. Yay! Anyways, ever since my son could talk he would make sure to ask Santa what kind of cookies he wanted us to leave out for Christmas, it never fails, he ALWAYS says oatmeal. Now one thing I will fess up to is that I despise raisins! I cannot eat them! Even as an adult I will pick them out of trail mix. I refuse to contaminate a good oatmeal cookie with raisins! However, I do love me some craisins. So, ever since that first time Santa said he wanted oatmeal cookies, this recipe made it into the baking rotation. These are delicious, buttery, and just the right amount of chewy and sweet. To me, these cookies are the cookie of Christmas and I guarantee you they are Santa approved!

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c + 6 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 c oats uncooked
1 c craisins
11 oz white chocolate chips

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture.
  • Gradually start to fold in the flour ingredients into the butter mixture.
  • Add oats, craisins, white chocolate chips and mix well.
  • Drop dough by the spoonful onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until light golden brown.
  • Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cutting board or cooling rack.
Uncategorized

How is it December?!?

Happy December 1! Can you believe Christmas is in just a few short weeks! Yikes! But yay! We have officially entered the last month of 2020. Phew!

So I have to ask, who is ready? I am slowly getting there. The tree is up, most gifts purchased (but not wrapped), holiday music has been blaring, and my oven has been working overtime with holiday baking. Now we just need to get those Christmas lights up. *wink wink* husband dearest. 😉

In honor of the holiday season I have some exciting things happening. Next week I am kicking off my first ever Christmas Cookie Week! I will be posting one cookie recipe a day, all next week. That’s right! FIVE new cookie recipes! These will all be my tried and true Christmas cookie recipes that I have been making for years! They are friend, family, and Santa approved. Make sure you head to the store and stock up on all the baking essentials because you are gonna want to preheat the oven as soon as they hit your inbox.

Cherry Chip Shortbread

Also, from now through 9:00 pm on Wednesday, December 2, you can get 15% off your entire purchase totaling $25 or more from my Etsy shop! I have added some amazing holiday items that make great gifts. I have the most amazing coffee mugs, towels, oven mitts, and more! Make sure to check it out and save yo self some money! Happy shopping!

Gnome Mug

Reindeer Oven Mitt

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry Towel

I Tried Koozie

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Individual Pumpkin Pie Mousse Cups

Pumpkin Pie Mousse Cups

As soon as the summer heat starts to die down and mornings become cooler, my body literally craves pumpkin spice. Yes, I am a pumpkin spice loving, leggings, Ugg, scarf, and sweater wearing, momma. I can’t help it! There is just something about indulging in all things pumpkin that allows me to fully transition into fall.

While I absolutely love a homemade pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, I don’t always have the time, energy, or space in my oven, to make anything besides the turkey and all the fixings. I absolutely love this dessert because it is quick, easy, and no bake! You get all the flavors of pumpkin pie with the pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice but it is a creamy, light, and fluffy mousse! Plus, you can make it a day or two in advance so you have one less thing to deal with on the big T-Day.

If you are making dessert and then going somewhere one of the most cumbersome tasks is transporting a pie. It slides everywhere and I hate covering pies with foil because it never fails, when you go to uncover it, your crust becomes a crumbly mess and never looks as good as when it came out of the oven. These are great because you can assemble them in mason jars, leave a little air space at the top, and just screw on the lid. Easiest dessert for traveling ever! If you are making these to be served in your home, they look super cute in wine glasses too.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 c graham crackers
4 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 c granulated sugar, divided
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

STEPS

  • Prepare the crust by stirring together the graham crackers, melted butter, and 1/4 c of the granulated sugar in a small mixing bowl until well combined.
  • Set aside 1/4 cup of the graham cracker crumb mixture to serve as your garnish.
  • Distribute the remaining graham cracker crumbs evenly among 6–8 individual serving dishes.
  • Using the back of a spoon, gently press the graham crackers down into the bottom of the dishes.
  • Combine the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until the whip cream thickens up.
  • In another mixing bowl blend together the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated until well-integrated.
  • Fold in 1 cup of the whip cream into the pumpkin mixture.
  • Evenly distribute the pumpkin mousse into each of the dishes.
  • Garnish each cup with the remaining whip cream and top with the graham crackers crumbs you previously set aside.
Uncategorized

Diva is Going Live with Another FREE Cooking Demo!

Hey everyone! With weather finally cooling down and Thanksgiving just around the corner, is everyone finally feeling those fall vibes? I know I am! You may recall that over the summer I partnered up with UNIQUE Programs and did an Instagram Live cooking demo. Apparently it went well because they have asked me back to do another! So with that said, I am excited to announce that coming up on this Wednesday, November 18 at 12:00 pm PST I will be going live once again and this time making a fall feast! This will be a completely FREE virtual event where you can tune in on Zoom and learn how to make my Apple Pie Pork Chop and Individual Pumpkin Pie Mousse Cups. That’s right, essentially a completely free one-hour cooking class! 

You can tune in via Zoom using this link (https://csus.zoom.us/j/86190043772) our you can enter the Zoom ID from the graphic below. There is no need to sign up or create an account.

Fall Cooking Demo

There will be no cooking show foolery here, I will be cooking in real time so you can make both these dishes right along with me! I have provided a list of the ingredients below for both dishes if you want to make sure you have everything on hand. If you are at work or unable to cook live with me that is absolutely okay too! Just tune in, say hi, be entertained, and get some tips for when you want to make these awesome dishes another time!

The pork chop recipe I will be making has all the staples of a tasty fall dish. It is a pan seared herb crusted pork chop topped with apple pie filling and stuffing and finished off in the oven to give the stuffing just a little bit of crunchiness. I use a little bit of cinnamon and rosemary to bring in some bold flavors. It’s like having apple pie with a side of pork for diner. What’s not to love!?! I have been making this recipe for years! Not only is it delicious but it is super affordable.

My pumpkin pie mousse cups aren’t even on the blog yet so you are going to be the first to get the recipe. (Don’t worry, it will be posted soon!) This dessert is so easy to make and has all the flavors from a traditional pumpkin pie. I love it though because it is light and fluffy and doesn’t require any baking.

GIVEAWAY ALERT! Also, UNIQUE Programs will be doing an awesome giveaway on Tuesday so make sure you go follow them and me on Instagram if you don’t already. You may just be able to get your hands on some kitchen products from my new online boutique! 😉

I really love connecting with my followers in a more personal way so I truly hope you will tune in on Wednesday to join me. At the very least pop in and say hello! I look forward to chatting with you all and answering any questions you may have as we spend an hour together! See you then!

Apple Pie Pork Chop

Pork Chop Recipe

  • boneless pork chops
  • garlic, minced
  • fresh rosemary, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • butter
  • Stove Top pork stuffing
  • olive oil
  • apple pie filling
  • cinnamon

Pumpkin Pie Mousse

Pumpkin Pie Mousse Cups

  • graham cracker crumbs
  • butter
  • sugar
  • heavy whipping cream
  • vanilla
  • powdered sugar
  • cream cheese
  • pumpkin puree
Brunch, Dinners

Recipe—Sausage & Cheddar Quiche

Sausage & Cheddar Quiche

I love breakfast! Yes, I do! I love breakfast! How about you!? 

I will say however, that breakfast is a meal I don’t get to really prepare and enjoy often enough. Monday–Friday usually consists of something quick and on the go so sometimes I make breakfast for dinner just to get that breakfast fix. One thing I love about quiche is it is really perfect for any meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Add some fruit and potatoes, you got breakfast. Add a green salad, now it’s lunch or dinner. 

This quiche is really as easy as they come, especially with a premade piecrust. I know quiche might seem intimidating to make but I promise there is no need to be scared! It really isn’t complicated and is well worth the effort it takes to make. Plus, sausage and cheddar are just a classic breakfast combo that you can’t beat.

Sausage & Cheddar Quiche

INGREDIENTS
1 sheet of refrigerated piecrust at room temperature
8 oz mild or spicy breakfast sausage
5 green onions, thinly sliced
2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 c half and half
6 large eggs
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground mustard

STEPS

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  • Unroll your piecrust and line a pie dish with a single sheet and set aside
  • In a non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, cook the sausage until no pink remains. 
  • Add the green onion to the skillet and cook for another minute. 
  • Drain excess fat from pan.
  • Spread half of the sausage mixture in the pie crust and sprinkle with half of the cheese. 
  • Spread the remaining sausage mixture over the cheese.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the half and half, eggs, salt, pepper, and ground mustard.  
  • Pour the egg mixture evenly over the sausage and sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese. 
  • Place the quiche into the oven and bake for 45–50 minutes or until the center is set when gently shaken. 
  • Remove the quiche from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before cutting into it and serving. 
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Strawberry Cream Crumb Bars

Recipe—Strawberry Cream Crumb Bars

It’s summertime and I have strawberries on my mind! I could eat strawberry anything but these Strawberry Cream Crumb Bars are really something else. Growing up I loved loved LOVED those strawberry shortcake frozen dessert bars that have the crumbly shortbread coating on the outside. Anyone else ever have those? This simple recipe is those embodied in a dessert bar. Crumbly buttery cookie exterior with a sweet and creamy center. These are a perfect summer treat that everyone will love!

Note: These are delicious with any flavor of pie filling so feel free to use your favorite! These cut great with a pizza cutter when cooled. 

INGREDIENTS
1 c brown sugar
3 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter, melted
1 c sour cream
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c strawberry pie filling

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Line a 9” x 13” baking dish with foil and spray with some nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Drizzle the melted butter over the dry ingredients and stir to combine. (The dough should be crumbly.)
  • Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the crumbly dough for the topping and press the remaining dough edge to edge into the bottom of the foil lined baking dish.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until evenly combined.
  • Spread the cream filling over the crust.
  • Place dollops of the strawberry pie filling over the cream.
  • Using a spoon, gently swirl the pie filling and the cream together making sure not to over mix.
  • Sprinkle the remaining dough crumbs over the top evenly.
  • Bake for 25–30 minutes or until the tops begin to brown and the center is set.
  • Allow the bars to cool completely in the baking dish.
  • Once the bars have cooled, lift the bars by the foil out of the baking dish, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into squares.
  • Store the bars in the fridge until ready to serve.
Brunch

Recipe—Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Chip Scone

I can’t remember if I have brought it up on this blog before or not, but one of my first jobs in high school was working at a little mom and pop owned coffee shop in my small town. I loved it! So much so, that I frequently ponder what it would be like to throw my career out the window and open my own little coffee shop. There was just something so touching about being part of someone’s morning. Pretty much everyone was a regular and I knew what they did for work every day, I knew their families, and almost 20 years later I still remember several of their orders. I kind of have a crazy memory like that. LOL

While I started out as a barista for the first couple of months, I actually got the opportunity to start baking on the weekends too. I loved it! I would go in at 5 am on Saturday and Sunday mornings, crank up the radio, and had the whole kitchen to myself. I would bake dozens of assorted muffins, croissants, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and some of my favorite items were the scones. Chocolate chip scones to be exact. You have not lived if you have not had a scone fresh out of the oven. If they are done right, they are crumbly on the outside and just a little doughy in the middle, have just the right amount of density, and are a little sweet, but not too sweet (unless they are savory scones).

Scones are the perfect thing to make for special occasions, or even just on a lazy Sunday around the house. Making these for my family the other weekend brought back so many memories of that coffee shop. It is amazing how certain food can do that.

So, what food item do you associate with certain memories or a time in your life? Share in the comments below. I would love to hear from you. 😀

INGREDIENTS
2 1/4 c flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 c mini chocolate chips
3/4 c heavy cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  • Add the cubed butter to the mix and using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. (The mixture should become very crumbly with no large chunks of butter remaining.)
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • In a small separate bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, egg, and vanilla.
  • Add the wet ingredient to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Transfer the dough mix to a cutting board and using your hands form the dough into an 8-inch circle.
  • Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 evenly sized triangles.
  • Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream and then transfer to the parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 14–17 minutes or until the edges are a nice golden brown.
Brunch

Recipe—Strawberry Pop Tarts

Recipe—Strawberry Pop Tarts

Growing up, eating pop tarts was part of my morning school routine. They were quick and easy to throw in the toaster and chow down on as you were headed out the door. I thought they were the best! Now as a parent, I buy them for my son. Don’t go get all judgey on me here. He doesn’t eat them every day. I am a working parent with limited time in the morning and it is a child’s rite of passage to eat pop tarts. LOL

Recipe—Strawberry Pop Tarts

A couple of weeks ago I asked for a bite of his and I just have to say, they were not all that I had remembered them to be. Clearly my standards of quality food have changed over time. I started to think of what goes into a pop tart and realized I could easily make a copy cat version of my own. They were so simple and relatively quick to make. I literally just used refrigerated pie crust from the store and some strawberry jam and made a simple icing using powdered sugar mixed with a little water and vanilla. So basic and so easy!

It was fun to spend a lazy morning recreating something from my childhood and let me just tell you, they were so good, like way better than I would have ever imagined! Let’s be real, this is actually like eating pie for breakfast. The crust was so flaky and lite and the jam and frosting were the exact amount of sweet you would want for breakfast. Plus, they were just as good the next day and they looked super cute in my cake stand on the counter.

Next up, homemade toaster strudels!

Recipe—Strawberry Pop Tarts

Notes:

  • I was able to make a total of 8 finished pop tarts using the two pie crusts. I was able to cut out a total of 16 3” x 4” rectangles, 8 from each crust.
  • You can obviously use any flavor of jam you would like. I was a strawberry pop tart girl, so that’s what I went with. You do you.
  • The frosting will set on these within a couple of minutes of frosting so be sure and add sprinkles right after applying frosting to each..
  • Do not reheat your pop tarts by putting them in the toaster! They are delicious at room temperature, even the next day.

INGREDIENTS
1 package (2 sheets) of refrigerated piecrust at room temperature (I used Pillsbury)
flour (for dusting)
1 c seedless strawberry jam
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
water
sprinkles

STEPS

  • Cut out a rectangle template using cardstock or paper that is 3” x 4”. (You will use this as a template to cut out rectangles from the pie crust that are all the same shape and size.)
  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Dust a little flour over a large cutting board or work surface to help keep the pie crust from sticking when you are rolling it out.
  • Lay out one of your pie crusts on the floured surface and roll it out until it is 1/8” thick.
  • Place the cardstock rectangle template on the rolled-out pie crust and, using a knife, cut around the edges of it. Repeat this until you have gotten as many 3” x 4” rectangles as you can, transferring each one to the baking sheet as you finish them.
  • Take the scraps and roll them into a ball and roll that out to get more if you can. (I was able to get six initially and then rolled out the scraps to get two more, for a total of  eight.)
  • Place about 2 tablespoons of jam in the center of each rectangle and spread it out slightly leaving about 1/3” of clear space around all 4 edges. (If your jam is thick and hard to spread, warm it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and stir it.)
  • Roll out and cut the second pie crust in the same manner as you did the first placing the second batch of rectangles on top of the jam.
  • Use your fingers to gently press around the edges to help create a seal between the two layers of crust.
  • Next, use a fork to crimp around the outside edges and poke 3 sets of holes down the center. This will keep the jam from leaking out the edges.
  • Bake for 12–15 minutes until they are all a nice golden brown.
  • Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 3–5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool for another 10–15 minutes.
  • While the pop tarts are cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of water, and the vanilla. Add additional water a little bit at a time as needed until your frosting is slightly runny and whisk until there are no longer any clumps.
  • Spoon the frosting onto each pop tart and add sprinkles immediately. The frosting will set really quickly once put on the pop tart.
  • Serve and enjoy!