Category Archives: food


Spicy strawberry jam (no funny business)


Well when you have 12 lbs of strawberries it becomes very clear that eating them all fresh probably isn’t a possibility. I put out a bowl for my small group and took some over to a barbecue with friends, but I still had a whole other box. I felt compelled to make something before they all went bad and then I remembered a jam or a jelly or a preserve (I can’t explain the difference without googling it) that my dad had raved about that had strawberries and hot peppers.

Apparently this sweet and spicy combo is no secret, but I was looking for a recipe that wouldn’t require me to buy pectin. A little mixing and matching later, I was surprised by the perfect pairing of jalapenos, serranos and strawberries.


{start with fresh strawberries}


{fresh lemon juice, serrano/jalapeno mix, fresh strawberries}












{can can can}


based on this recipe

{Start with}

  • 2 lbs. Strawberries
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 small serrano peppers

I decided not to stick to serrano peppers like the recipe calls for. I had seen a few recipes with jalapenos so I decided to mix the two and it definitely works. I’m also thinking about trying this with lime instead of lemon juice next time. I basically followed the directions in the original recipe, but I decided that the fruit to jelly ratio might be better if I pureed about 1 cup of the mixture after all the ingredients were combined. I tossed it into the magic bullet and then reincorporated it back into the pot. This step is totally optional. I did also add some cornstarch with the hopes of a more jelled jam, but I didn’t think that it made much of a difference.

ALSO. I’ve been waiting for an excuse to use this fantastic site that lets you create jam labels for free. I printed off a few and adhered them to the jars with milk. (Yes milk! Google it.) With a better printer and paper these could definitely be what takes homemade gifts to the next level (and there’s a beerlabelizer too!)



Have you seen this? Do you remember this?

Hilarious. And the whole time I was strawberry picking yesterday I was saying “Strawburry” in my head and remembering how funny this video was.

That’s right, I went strawberry picking yesterday. And what’s better than a strawberry patch on a clear and sunny day? And outlet mall within 5 minutes. And Culver’s. And of course a best friend.

{loved the signage}

{strawberry lane}

{berry beautiful}

Balsamic roasted tomatoes and garlic


OMG guys.

{balsamic roasted tomatoes and garlic)

Have you seen this recipe? Tomatoes. yum. garlic. yum. This was amazing. I’m sitting here debating finishing this post or finishing up the left overs. But this is for posterity. {True confession: I promptly went and ate the rest after writing this}

So tonight I set out to try this with a few modifications. The original recipe calls for a drizzle of olive oil at the end, but I wanted to make sure that the tomatoes didn’t burn. So I cut the tomatoes and tossed them with some olive oil.


Stuffed in some garlic.

{stuffed tomatoes}

Then I realized, what goes with tomatoes and garlic. Cheese. But that doesn’t work so well. Balsamic vinegar. I love me some balsamic vinegar. So once they were all set up in the skillet, I drizzled some over the tomatoes and garlic.

{vinegar bath}

A little oregano (other spices would be good too).

{all dressed up}

Pop that in the oven.

{keeping that glass clean is so hard}

Now I also didn’t want to crush everything per the original recipe. I wanted little tomatoes stuffed with garlic that I could pick up individually. So I didn’t know how long this was going to take.

15 mins.

{just the beginning}

30 mins.

45 mins.

1 hour

1 hour 15 mins. and I say done. Most of the liquid had cooked off and things were starting to get a little brown (which isn’t a bad thing)

Toasted some bread on the panini press.

{love bread}

Loaded it up.

{come to momma}

Devoured it.

Seriously this is absolutely worth making.  I can’t describe how delicious this was. The flavors were so concentrated I didn’t even need cheese. bam. Do yourself a favor and make these.

Recipe (adapted slightly from here)


  • 1 pt. tomatoes (cherry or another small variety)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • oregano
  • sea salt
  • 2-3 splashes good quality olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut a X into the top of each tomato.
  3. Toss tomatoes with olive oil.
  4. cut the garlic cloves to fit into the tomatoes (I cut most in half).
  5. stuff the garlic into the tomatoes.
  6. Fill a cast iron skillet with the garlic-stuffed tomatoes, slit side up.
  7. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes.
  8. Sprinkle on oregano (or other spices).
  9. Roast tomatoes until most of the liquid is evaporated.
  10. Smash on bread, crackers and probably a lot of other things.

Yo Momma Cookies


{Yo momma cookies}

This is not a fancy recipe. But they could be. These cookies are delicious and oh-so customizable.

I got this recipe from one of my best friends after her mom sent us  her a tin of them. And we ate them all. So they’re really Molly’s Momma’s cookies, but I just call them Yo Mommas.

{perfect little puffs!}

The original recipe calls for yellow cake mix. I’m using white cake mix here because it was on clearance at Target and that’s how I roll. You can add anything to these cookies which is why they’re so great. Chocolate chips, nuts, bacon, cheese, etc. Ok I haven’t tried the bacon or cheese, but I feel like that’s very foodie of me to suggest.

{dough is also delicious}

Recipe (courtesy of Karen):

  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 eggs

Instructions: Heat oven to 350. Mix ingredients together. Scoop* onto cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 9 mins. Enjoy!

I like a little more sugar on my sugar, so I dab a little bit of this on.

*I use a 1 1/2 Tbsp cookie scoop

christmas bucket


{I can't find the recipe for these and I'm mad about it}

What would the holidays been without treats tempting you from every direction? Not the holidays. That’s the correct answer.

Every year I make a bucket of treats to take to my family and the hubs family, but I can rarely remember what I made the year before. So just for the record, here’s what’s up this year:

  • sugared pecans (by the way can someone explain to me why I had to spend $12.59 for a bag of pecans?)
  • candy cane macarons
  • Samoa bark (like the Girl Scout cookies)
  • ritz bits dipped in almond bark (that’s the whole recipe, fancy I know, but the hubs favorite)

Don’t worry I have a very stringent taste test policy so that all treats are safe and delicious.

Fresh Blueberry Basil Cornmeal Muffins



It’s been a while, no?

I have been cooking quite a bit lately, learning how to use my half of a CSA box in a week. (I don’t like beets, if you’d like some let me know) But after a bunch of other cooking last night (veggie burritos, bagels, quark) I decided that the blueberries sitting in the fridge MUST be used tonight. Although freezing them until I had enough for this delicious pie would have been smarter, muffins it was.

You see my two friends and I went blueberry picking last weekend. Yes this is what extremely cool 26-year-olds do for a girls weekend. Lesson: go pick blueberries in the morning, apparently the morning pickers don’t think to leave much for us afternooners. So anyway we picked all the blueberries we could find.

{cute blueberry pickers}

So they’ve been sitting around since then waiting for me to make up my mind.

I’ve made this recipe several times last year. They’re surprisingly moist and crumbly at the same time. And ever since the same girlfriends and I ate blueberry-basil cake balls at the Bleeding Heart Bakery last year, I’ve been trying to figure out how I could steal the blueberry-basil combination. Luckily the CSA brought a hearty share of basil this week and as much as I love it, I’m not even sure what else I’m going to use it for. And the idea was born.

I used the basic Martha Stewart Recipe with a few changes. I use close to 2 cups of blueberries, I really don’t think that 1 cup is enough for all that batter. Also I would NOT suggest frozen blueberries as you stir them in they freeze the dough and make it really difficult to stir. This usually results in muddled blueberries in frozen batter, which doesn’t bake well.

I also used a cup of whole wheat flour and 2 cups of all-purpose flour instead of the 3 cups of all purpose. (Get those whole grains)

I tried the whole parchment paper wrapper thing too, it’s a hassle.

And for this recipe I added probably 1/4 cup fresh basil to 1/2 of the dough. (I wasn’t sure if the hubs would be so into the blueberry-basil combo) If you want to use dried basil I’d suggest using half.

Because of the extra blueberries there was a enough for a little taste sample muffin, which we ate as soon as it cooled down. It’s definitely not the same flavor as the cake balls, but granted there is not that much sugar in the recipe either. It was actually a really nice savory twist on the original muffins. My blueberries weren’t overly sweet, so it was kind of a tart and savory mix that grows on you.

{butter.sugar.honey. a perfect start to any recipe}

{flours and cornmeal}

{blueberries 'n' batter}


{ready for some oven lovin'}

{done and done}



Admittedly a bad decision after steak and shake, but my weekend wouldn’t be complete without some baking to carry me through the week.

{chocolate chip cookies stuffed with double stuff oreos}

{all melty and stuff}

{swear I only ate half}

See recipe here.

oh and my 6 month absence? I really have no good excuse. Except life, which entails at this point 1 job, 4 masters courses, 1 husband, 2 dogs and as many friends as I can fit in. Can you blame me?

Food day 2


This time we took some kids (not ours) with us because there are just some things you get weird looks for doing at the fair with out kids. Like: petting zoo, giant slide, baby animals, little hands on the farm, etc.

But this is what we ate:

{pickle dawg}

Ok this may look a little icky, but it is in fact a delicious pickle covered in cream cheese and wrapped in pastrami. Pickle Dawg.


I like pickles


{Bauder's Peppermint Bar}

I can’t explain how delicious this is. I might have a slight bias considering my grandma used to make the ice cream at Bauder’s. We loved going to see her at work. My favorite was chocolate mint flake. This is cookie crumbs, fudge and peppermint ice cream. drool. (PS love you grandma!)

{fair square}

These were the newest food on a stick at the fair. Basically a rice krispie treat. Turns out they were actually very delicious.

{cheese curds}

Ok we almost forgot to get a picture of these because they as you can imagine are delicious. I’m sad to say that is all we ate at the fair this year.

State fair


I have a lot of affection for the Iowa State Fair. You might say I love it. A lot of it has to do with the food. I attempted to photographically document everything we ate. I failed on 2 accounts: Josh’s corndog upon arrival and the nut rolls I took home. Now this was not a normal year, we usually eat more because we go 3-4 times. We could only go twice this time and both visits were short. We did what we could.

{marinated turkey tenderloin with grilled onions}

This is one of my favorites and I believe it might be one of the more healthy things in the vicinity. But seriously where they heck do they get turkeys with tenderloins that big?!

{cup of cookies}

I must have at the fair. They have it down to a science so they’re not burning your mouth, but still warm and stacked as high as they can. (Side note: teenage Josh worked at this stand he said they paid like $1.50/hr)

{fried pickles}

I just like pickles. With a side of ranch.

This is really a pathetic showing for our first night there, but you get the idea.