Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Wishlist 2012

My last post got quite a bit of positive feedback.  Several of you expressed your pleasure with the "round-up" format I did earlier in the week so I decided to do one more similar post while people are still in shopping mode.  My last list was made up of things I own, love and can attest to their benefits.  This group is my Christmas Wish List.  I channeled my 7 year old self and made a long list of things I want Santa to bring me with zero regard for price, availability or practicality.  And since Santa no longer leaves this Momma gifts under the tree, this is pretty much just a list of amazing gift ideas for YOUR foodie friends and family.  Enjoy!

1.   I have recently been bitten by the Blue and White China/Pottery bug.  I want to collect bunches of beautiful pieces and group them on top of my kitchen cabinets.  This ginger jar is very pricey, but insanely beautiful.  If you keep your eye out, you can find similar pieces at antique shops and on Etsy that are much more inexpensive.

2.  Gift cards are boring, but the latest gift card offering from Cleaver & Co. is pure genius.  Here is the explanation from their website "Explore your way through the animal with the Cleaver & Co. whole animal card. With this card you can get a tour of every section of the animal, sampling a cut from each primal. Cards are available for beef and pork and function as a punch card as you explore your way through the animal, picking up your cuts when you want them and in the order you want."  Amazing, no?!?!  I really think this is the coolest thing ever.  A gift card that just keeps giving, and when the giving comes in the form of meat..... I am sold!

3.  I love the look of these antique dough bowls.  They are so pretty and organic and I would love to have one as an everyday center piece on my long rectangular breakfast table.  I would have a blast changing out what I put inside.  

4.  In the last post I expressed my love of fancy salts.  And fancy salts deserve an equally fancy receptacle.  I would love this olive wood salt keeper to place next to my stove for quick access during cooking.  And you can get this version monogrammed.  Be still my heart!  This Southern girl loves a good monogram.  Absolutely geourgeous!

5.  Although I love my cookbooks, probably 80% of the recipes I cook from these days are accessed on my iPad.  When I saw this accessory I was immediately in love.  Sturdy, eye-level and in the precise most convenient location. 

6.  So this isn't an item you can order online or purchase at a Brick & Mortar store.  This is one of those gifts that require time, dedication and love. I.E. someone has to make it (Forrest, wink wink!).  I really really want my own herb garden, but I want something simple and low maintenance.  How about unique and eye pleasing too?  I saw this tiny herb garden on Pinterest about six months ago and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.  So clever!

7.  One thing I would love to receive as a gift anytime of year is another set of my formal china.  I was lucky enough to amass ten place settings as wedding gifts, but I have a large family on both sides and would love to have enough place settings to use my china for nice adult gatherings.  Twelve place settings would be ideal for my needs.  I don't plan on letting these pretties sit in a cabinet.  I use them and want to continue to every chance I can.  I think a good source of gift ideas is someone's old wedding registry.  What part of their registry was never complete?  It is a sure fire way to ensure they will love their gift, since they asked for it after all ;-)

8.  I love this Le Crueset Utensil Crock.  In fact, I already own one.  But mine is red and it doesn't match my kitchen decor.  I want it in white so I can retire my useful but out of place fire engine red version. 

**Note: I have not been compensated by any of these brands for this post.  These are simply products that I think would make lovely Christmas gifts for your loved ones or for me ;-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Favorite Things 2012

One of my favorite features on some of my favorite blogs is when they do their "Favorite Things" round ups.  I don't have the opportunity to do that type of thing here since my blog is a recipe blog and I strive to stay true to that format.  However, I figured with the upcoming holidays that call for gift giving it would be a good opportunity for me to share some of my favorite kitchen/food related things from the last year.  This isn't a collection of my most used kitchen items (although I can do one of those too if you would like ;-).  These are some unique/specialty items that probably don't appear on a typical wedding registry, but have become very popular in my kitchen.  Any of these would be the perfect gift for the food enthusiast in your life and they span a range of price points too!

1. I have wanted this cookbook for so long and finally ordered it a few weeks ago online.  I am a huge fan of Donald Link's restaurants here in New Orleans and I couldn't wait to own his cookbook.  It is awesome! I can't wait to make the Cajun Chicken and Dumpling recipe, it looks to die for!

2. This is a tablet/notepad of paper place mats - genius!  I can't get enough of these things.  We are a big place mat family, but they get so dirty and yucky that it is embarrassing to have them on our table after a couple of uses and in between washes.  But these you can use once, crumble and throw away - and they are so cute too!

3.  Ok, so I know I am late to the game on this one.  I remember when these things first started to become popular.  It was several years ago and I just wasn't interested.  I got one as a Christmas gift last year and have never looked back.  I have always loved coffee, but was never a morning coffee drinker.  Since I got my Keurig I can't function without my first cup.  I love trying new K-Cup flavors and I also use it to make mugs of hot water for my tea addiction.

4.  Forrest and I love using fancy salts to enhance normal everyday dishes or as a finishing touch to something that is already very special.  If you haven't dabbled in the world of fine salts yet I highly recommend it, you will notice a difference immediately!  We have become quite the salt snobs in our household.  And I mean how cute is this trio?  This is my idea of the perfect stocking stuffer!

5. Paper Straws are the new party hat in my opinion - the must have party supply.  They are so cute bunched together and displayed in a mason jar or already doled out into individual champagne flutes waiting to greet freshly poured cocktails.  They come in a variety of colors and patterns and I never host a get together anymore without a coordinating set.

6. I don't normally give pre-prepared packaged food items as gifts.  I like to cook and I know that freshly made goodies are always so much more delicious than the store-bought goods.  But if you aren't willing to spend time in the kitchen baking Christmas goodies and want to give an edible treat as a gift this year, these chocolate covered honey pecans are the way to go.  I first tasted these several years back when Forrest and I visited Pike's Place Market and I was instantly in love.  I still order them to this day for a special treat around our house.  The funny thing is that I don't really like chocolate OR pecans.  But it doesn't matter one bit, these are insanely delicious and would make anyone on the receiving end very happy.

7. The few people reading this that know me personally know that I am a HUGE champagne drinker.  Definitely my drink of choice.  The problem with being a champagne drinker is that lots of people aren't or only partake on celebratory occasions so I often don't have a partner to help me finish a bottle.  I love this little gadget and one little twist ensures a tight seal that will keep your bubbly bubbly.

8.  I love my Silpat baking mat and wish I had one for every cookie sheet I owned.  I normally bake in large batches and only having one makes me want to scream.  Cutting out parchment and trying to make it fit the pan is maddening.  This would be the perfect gift for the cook/baker in your life because even if they already own one, chances are they would love to have another one.

9. I never owned soup spoons until very recently.  I just didn't think to register for them and then once I realized I really needed them it was hard to find a good set.  I make soup a lot and was embarrassed to serve a bowl with a huge tablespoon.  I don't think my guest really minded, but I think eating soup with a proper soup spoon is so much more enjoyable and it irked me to not be able to provide that luxury to my guest.  Forrest and Rex gave me a proper set for Mother's Day this year and I couldn't have asked for anything better!

10. And last but not least is another local New Orleans cookbook.  Some of my most requested recipes have come from this book and once you read the premise it will be no surprise why.  "After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, thousands of people lost their keepsakes and family treasures forever. As residents started to rebuild their lives, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans became a post-hurricane swapping place for old recipes that were washed away in the storm. The newspaper has compiled 250 of these delicious, authentic recipes along with the stories about how they came to be and who created them."

**Note: I have not been compensated by any of these brands for this post.  These are simply products that I use frequently in my day to day life and happen to love. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Honey Do!

We have been suffering through a series of sore throats in our house. I have taken to hot tea and honey for relief.  The huge honey jar on my counter left me thinking of other honey uses.  And I know this really seems too easy to be considered a recipe, but it is a nice way to dress up some fresh bread.  I have been known to always balance out my sweet with salty, so enters the sea salt!  Give this one a try, you won't be disappointed.

Salted Honey Butter

  • 1 stick of Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of Grade A Honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1.  Whip the unsalted butter using an electric mixer for about 2 minutes until soft and fluffy.  Make sure the butter is already room temperature, this will help make the whipping process faster.

2.  Add Honey and Salt with the mixer running and whip for another 1 minute until all of the honey is fully incorporated.

 3.  Place whipped butter in a ramekin and top with a sprinkle of sea salt.  Serve at room temperature with fresh bread or cornbread.

Click Here for My Printable Recipe

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Make Me" Mushrooms

I know it seems a little late to be posting Thanksgiving recipe ideas, but this one is so easy it won't take much effort to pull off at the 11th hour.  And trust me, this is an amazing recipe.  Four ingredients and about four minutes of prep time to get this sensationally savory side dish (or appetizer, your choice) in the oven.  But if I am in fact too late to get this added to your menu for tomorrow, keep this recipe around - it is huge crowd pleaser!

Feta and Rosemary Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 1/4 cup of Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Rosemary, chopped fine
  • 4 medium Portabella mushrooms, sometimes called stuffing caps
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Non-Stick cooking spray


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Mix the Feta and Rosemary in a small bowl.

3.  Wipe mushrooms clean with a clean dry dish cloth.  Pull stem from each mushroom and use a spoon to scrape away the mushroom gills. Discard the caps and gills.

4.  Brush the inside and the outside of the caps with Worcestershire sauce using a pastry brush.

Sprinkle the inside of the caps with cracked black pepper.

5.  Divide the Feta and Rosemary mixture evenly among the mushrooms.  Packing the cheese tight inside the mushroom cavity.  Place the stuffed mushrooms on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

6.  Bake the mushrooms for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and begins to lightly brown.  Serve immediately.

Click Here for My Printable Recipe

Monday, November 12, 2012


*  Above Image Credit: MDA DairySpot

The MidAtlantic Dairy Association is hosting a 30 Days of Mac & Cheese roundup on their website this month.  I am honored to have my Golden Mac & Cheese (seen below) featured as Day 11.  Check out the link here to see the recipe along with some other very drool worth Mac & Cheese recipes.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Come out of the Candy Coma

Is everyone ready to detox from all the Halloween candy yet?  I couldn't wait for it to be out of my house.  There is just no need for a huge bucket of candy when two of three people in the household are either a toddler or a Type 1 diabetic!  So glad it is gone.

This is the perfect recipe for returning to healthy eating, not to mention probably the last thing your kids want to be served after eating candy for a week straight ;-)  I don't know why brussels sprouts get such a bad rap - these little guys are delicious, and cute too!  This recipe was very simple and used hardly any ingredients.  It was perfect for a weeknight side dish.  But I feel inclined to warn you, roasting these tiny green veggies will stink up your house.  Something awful!  So even though they are delicious, don't add them to your menu when you are having guest over that you need to impress.

Roasted Romano Brussels Sprouts
Adapted from Cooking Light November 2012



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 ounce pecorino Romano cheese, shaved (about 1/3 cup)



1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Combine olive oil, salt, black pepper, and Brussels sprouts in a medium bowl; toss well to coat.

Divide Brussels sprouts mixture evenly between 2 small roasting pans or jelly-roll pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are browned and crisp-tender, rotating pans after 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle Brussels sprouts evenly with cheese. Serve immediately.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe