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.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Glazed Lemon Cookies

We are on Day 4 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Glazed Lemon Cookies

We have the cutest little lemon bush in our back yard and it holds a special place in my heart as it was a housewarming gift from some of our friends when we built our house 6 years ago. Every year come December, it never fails, the lemons are ready for picking. For that reason, these glazed lemon cookies have become a staple in our holiday cookie rotation. They are so soft and light and I just love the zestiness the fresh lemon brings to them. While I love making these around the holidays they are also perfect for spring or summer.

Note: I recommend placing some paper towels or wax paper under the cooling rack before taking the cookies out of the oven. When you do the glazing you will get some drippage and the paper towels or wax paper will help to catch that excess sticky goodness that make cleanup so much easier.  

COOKIE INGREDIENTS
2 1/4 c flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c butter, softened
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
zest from 2 lemons
2 eggs
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

GLAZE INGREDIENTS
1 c powdered sugar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a large bowl beat together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla to the butter mixture and continue to beat until evenly incorporated.
  • Gradually add in the dry ingredients until combined.
  • Form small balls with the dough and place at least 2 inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until they just start to get a light golden color on the bottom.
  • Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  • Once the cookies have completely cooled, whisk together the powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice to make the glaze. (You want to be able to drizzle the glaze so add a tad bit more lemon juice or water if needed to thin it, or more powdered sugar if you need it thicker.)
  • Transfer the glaze to a transfer to a piping bag with a very small opening or a Ziploc bag. (If using a Ziplock bag, you will want to cut a small tip off one corner.)
  • Drizzle the glaze back and forth over the cookies.
  • Allow the cookies to rest for at least an hour so the glaze has time to set.
  • Enjoy!
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Cherry Chip Shortbread Cookies

We are on Day 3 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Cherry Chip Shortbread Cookies

If you have been following me for a while now, you know fruit and chocolate are kind of my thing. Bananas and chocolate, strawberries and chocolate, cherries and chocolate… you catch my drift. Add in the melt in your mouth buttery flavor of a shortbread cookie, and you have one of the best tasting cookies ever! Not only do they taste amazing but they are also so pretty! I love the pops of red that the cherries add.

If I will give you any advice about this recipe, it is to double the recipe. One batch for you, and one batch for sharing. They really are that good!

INGREDIENTS
1 c butter, softened
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 c maraschino cherries, chopped and patted dry
1 c chocolate chips

STEPS

  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
  • Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until it is all combined.
  • Gently fold in the cherries and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  • Lay out a long strip of plastic wrap and form the dough into a log in the middle of it. I try and make my log about 2” in diameter.
  • Wrap the log up in the saran wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350º.
  • Once the log has firmed up, remove it from the saran wrap and cut it into approximately 1/3” slices.
  • Place the slices about 1” apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for about 10–12 minutes or until they just start to turn golden around the edges.
  • Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Butter Pecan Thumbprint Cookies with a White Chocolate Carmel Center

We are on Day 2 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Butter Pecan Thumbprint Cookies with a White Chocolate Carmel Center

This is probably my most requested holiday cookies and definitely one of my faves. If this cookie is in my house, I will eat it. All self control goes out the window. This is a little more advanced than some of my other cookie recipes just because of the number of steps, but they are so worth it! The primary cookie part is not overly sweet, it has a delicious buttery roasted pecan flavor and where the real sweetness comes in is that creamy white chocolate caramel center. These cookies are a total show stopper. They look so pretty and are perfect for the holiday season!

Note: For this recipe I recommend you put the white chocolate caramel sauce into the center of the cookies using a piping bag or Ziploc. I usually just use a quart size Ziploc and cut the corner of the bag off once I have the sauce in it. I find this to be easiest for me and then I can just toss the sticky bag when I am done. However, you can also use a spoon to fill the cookies with the sauce if that is easier for you. The sauce will be very hot on your hands when it comes off the stove which is why I let mine sit to cool for a few minutes before transferring it to the bag. The sauce will harden up as it cools.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/4 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c pecans, chopped
2/3 c powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 c flour
3/4 c caramel sauce (the kind you would put on ice cream sundaes)
1 1/2 c white chocolate chips

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Stir together the chopped pecans and 1/4 cup of the butter.
  • Spread the nut and butter mixture evenly on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the pecans for 10–15 minutes making sure to stir them around half way through.
  • Remove the roasted pecans from the oven and allow them to cool.
  • While the pecans are cooling, using an electric mixer, beat together the remaining 1 cup of butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until nice and smooth.
  • Mix together the flour and roasted butter pecans.
  • Gradually add the flour and pecan mixture to the butter and sugar mixture until well combined.
  • Roll the dough into 1 1/2″ balls and place about 2” apart on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 minutes and remove from oven.
  • Using your thumb, or something of a similar size (I use the end of a cocktail muddler but the back of a teaspoon would work too) make a deep indentation into the center of the cookie.
  • Place the cookies back into the oven to continue baking for another 6­–8 minutes.
  • Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool.
  • In a small sauce pan, heat the caramel sauce over medium low heat.
  • Gradually add the white chocolate chips while stirring with a small whisk or fork allowing them to fully melt. Make sure you do not burn the sauce!
  • Once the chips are fully melted and your sauce is a nice smooth consistency, remove the pan from the heat.
  • Allow the sauce to cool for 5-8 minutes and transfer to a piping bag or Ziploc bag. (If using a Ziplock bag, you will want to cut a small tip off one corner.)
  • Pipe the white chocolate caramel sauce into the center of each cookie making sure not to overfill them.
  • Allow the cookies to rest for an hour so that the filling will fully set.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here we go! We are on Day 1 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every year I pick one day in December and spend the entire day just baking up a storm and listening to Christmas music. I typically bake 4–7 different types of cookies and then make assorted platters to share with coworkers and friends. This is a tradition I picked up from my mom who was also big on spreading holiday cheer in the form of baked goods.

I love these mint chocolate chip cookies for many reasons but the top reason is because they are like eating my favorite type of ice cream (mint chip) in a cookie form. There is just something about the combination of mint and chocolate that does it for me. Plus, mint and Christmas just go hand in hand, do they not? I also love that these add a nice little pop of color to my assorted cookie platters. This recipe is very straight forward and easy to make, so what’s not to love?

Note: If you don’t have Andes chocolate mints you can absolutely substitute chocolate chips in this recipe. You will get enough of the mint flavor just from the extract alone. I personally just love the way the Andes look in the cookies.  

INGREDIENTS
2 3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp mint extract
10–15 drops green food coloring
4.67 oz pack of Andes mints (unwrapped and chopped)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  • Add the egg and mint extract to the butter mixture.
  • Gradually start to fold in the dry ingredients.
  • Add green food coloring five drops at a time and mix until it has reached your desired shade of green.
  • Fold in the chopped Andes.
  • Form small balls with the dough and place at least 2 inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until they just start to get a light golden color on the bottom.
  • Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cutting board or cooling rack.
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.