Browsing Tag


Savory Cheddar & Cornmeal Waffles With Green Tomato Salsa

November 3, 2014


November. November. November. No matter how many times I say it, I am having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that it is already November. Instead of rambling on in an attempt at trying to catch you up on everything that has been going on lately over here with me, I decided to take the time to sit down and edit all the photos I’ve accumulated over the last 2 months; I decided it would be more interesting to tell you through these photos. It’s been a whirlwind of freelancing, road tripping, hiking, completing another issue of our magazine, and continually trying to find myself through it all. Here are a few glimpses from the more scenic moments of the last two months:

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Cornbread Waffles with Roasted Vegetables & Chimichurri Ramps

May 1, 2013

My daily posts have turned more into weekly posts as thing have become a bit hectic around here. There are so many things I’ve wanted to share without over sharing on a food blog…which then usually just turn into not sharing them at all. So, instead, I’m just going to give off a short list of excuses that have been both tearing me from this blog and keeping me occupied in my “real” life:

1. I got a new day job / promotion. I was promoted from indie-rock-princess to indie-rock-queen. Hah, no. But I did go from a glorified secretary to being in charge of over 200 of our music client accounts. So, needless to say, I’ve been working 9+ hours a day trying to figure out everything that goes along with this new job.

2. It’s spring! And I’ve been putting most of my free time energy into prepping my garden. What good is a food blogger who can’t even grow her own produce to write recipes with?

3. My grandma passed away. I realize that this is a normal occurrence for people over the age of 80 but that does not make it any less unsettling. I don’t care how old you are – it’s very upsetting to watch a wonderful person have everything ripped away from them.

4. My boyfriend is obsessed with the X-Files. And not only is he obsessed but he is determined to watch EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. So starting at season one in Februaray, he has constantly had that on the TV…which has been…very distracting. Do you know how many episodes of the X-Files there are? HUNDREDS. There are NINE seasons. Do you realize how many hours have been wasting getting sucked in by that when I could have been cleaning my stove-top or seasoning my cast iron or making butterscotch cookies?!

5. Remember that Lemon Thyme Butter I posted about last week? OH MY! I’ve discovered that it’s pretty much amazing on everything. Melt it over pasta or spaetzle and thank me later. You’re welcome.

Okay, enough about me. Let’s talk about YOU! I have an ice cream recipe for YOU. Yup, that is right – homemade ice cream. And it’s filled with the most delicious…well I can’t tell you. But it’s sweet and savory and creamy and Middle Eastern. And it’s going to be posted on VV soon…how soon? I can’t tell you that either (can’t ruin the fun now!) – you’ll just have to check back.



Now back to ramps. Yes, that is right. I am posting ANOTHER ramps recipes. Two in a row, really? Well if we compare it to how many pizza or tofu recipes I’ve posted then it’s really not that bad. Ramps are new to me…and I’m pretty obsessed. I know they are going to start disappearing from the Farmer’s Market just as quickly as they appeared. This means, I’ve been cooking them up like crazy while I can!



Cornbread Waffles with Roasted Veggies & Chimichurri Ramps

Makes 2 generous servings

Cheddar Cornbread Waffles:

  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cups milk
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Roasted Vegetables:

  • An assortment of your favorite vegetables to roast (I used 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 diced onion, 1/2 diced small sweet potato, 2 chopped carrots)
  • 2 springs of fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper


  • 1 bunch of ramps (about 10 stalks)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 red pepper flakes
  • dash of pepper


To roast the vegetables: Preheat oven to 400 and toss the veggies with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Lay in a even layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until the vegetables have softened and just started to brown.

To make the chimichurri: Rinse the ramps and cut off the roots and any rough tips.  Slice into big chunks. Blend all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) until a smooth paste forms.

To make the waffles: Preheat your waffle maker. Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yokes, milk, and butter. Fold the dried ingredients into the liquid until incorporated. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer until stiff but not dry peaks form. Fold the egg whites and grated cheese into the batter.

Ladle 1/2 cup (more or less depending on how big your waffle maker is) of the batter onto your preheated waffle iron and cook according to manufacture’s instructions (mine usually takes around 3 minutes).

Pile high with roasted veggies and chimichurri.



Winter Bruschetta

January 16, 2013


Oh man, I have been hit with spring fever. Between planning a March getaway trip and drooling over spring fashion, I am ready to be on a warm beach with a beergarita! And let me tell you – this is the worst possible time to be struck with this spring fever. Not only is vacation still 2 months away but it’s also been in the 20s here all week (and plans to stay that way).

So how in the world do I cope with this spring fever without quitting my day job and moving down to Austin, Texas where the sun always shines (that is a bit of an exaggeration but you know what I mean)? Well, let’s figure this out. What do I miss? Fresh Bruschetta, high-waisted shorts, laying in the grass with our tape player, and lake days. I can’t really think of a way to imitate laying in the grass…unless, of course, if I wanted to snuggle my hair into our huge cacti collection that resides in the kitchen (OUCH!). But I can drag Wyatt on winter lake picnics with warm soup and Mexican hot cocoa. And I can layer up with some tights and knee high socks under my shorts. Done and done. Now, onto the bruschetta? Gahhh…could you imagine traditional bruschetta in January? So filmy and flavorless…yuck. But what if we used winter vegetables? Like sweet potatoes and onions? And still stuck it on a warmed and buttered baguette? Now we are talking!




Winter Bruschetta

  • 1 fresh baguette, sliced into 1 inch thick pieces
  • 1 large sweet potato or small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, cut into large chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (omit to make vegan)
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped + divided
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large oven safe pan, toss together the sweet potato or squash, onion, garlic cloves, half the sage, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoon olive oil. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the squash/potato can be pierced nicely with a fork (but does not become mushy). Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the bread.

To prepare the baguette: Brush the remaining olive oil on the baguette slices and top with cheddar cheese. Place under the broiler for a minute or two or until the cheese / bread is toasted. Top the bread with the potato/squash mixture and serve warm. Garnish with leftover age or, for a sweeter version, drizzle with honey.


Let’s get through the winter with Mikal Cronin:


Cheddar Corn Biscuits

December 5, 2012

How has your week been going? Mine has been fine but I know it’s been a little quite around here. I’ve done a bit of traveling this week and have more to go which is a nice change of pace but can also be exhausting. It’s the type of exhausting that makes me want to just curl up on the couch with my leftover chili and watch Veronica Mars (corniest 90s show ever but we are addicted) all night. Sorry VV, you take up too much energy for me right now.

But I promised and I usually like to be a girl of my word. So here I am! And as I promised, here is the buttery and addictive biscuit recipe that complaints that healthy Black Bean & Wheatberry Chili recipe perfectly. If you missed the chili recipe, it’s featured on The Kitchn today so hop on over and check it out!

We even used leftover biscuits to make biscuits and gravy with Wyatt’s favorite Sage Gravy! Mmmmm. And I have a feeling that breakfast sandwiches are in our very VERY near future. Breakfast for dinner? Well hello evening plans!



Cheddar Corn Biscuits

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup frozen corn (or fresh!)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cubed
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I made my own out of the milk I had on hand)

Grease a baking sheet (it may take 2 sheets depending on how thick you make the biscuits). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, black pepper, baking powder, and baking soda. Next, add in the butter and use your hands to incorporate the butter into the dough until it resembles a coarse meal.

Next, fold in the cheese, onions, and corn. Finally, add the buttermilk and mix until just combined (don’t over mix or the dough will become tough).

Transfer dough to a slightly floured surface and roll out to about an inch thick (more or less depending on how you like your biscuits) and use a cookie cutter or glass to circle cut outs. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Stick the cookie sheet (with the prepared dough) into the fridge and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Let the biscuits chill while it is preheating because the cold butter will help to make the biscuits flakier.

Bake for about 25 minutes (mine took 30 but my oven ALWAYS takes longer than what a recipe recommends so check often).

Serve warm with soup or gravy or by themselves with a little butter!



Homemade Caramel Corn

October 25, 2012

When I was in middle school, I would sometimes go to work with my Ma in the mornings and then walk to school [since it was right down the street]. This meant that there was about an hour where I would just be hanging out around her office doing “homework” (which was actually just me distracting her or going through the stuff in her office). My favorite time of year to be around was after the holidays because she would have lots of edible gifts that she received from employees/clients. Chocolate bars were a popular choice but as a little kid, I was always drawn to the GIANT tin of popcorn that had a tiny paper divider splitting the caramel and cheese popcorn [when you are little - everything is cooler when it's in mass quantities]. I always liked taking the divider out and mixing the two flavors…which was probably my first introduction to the ‘sweet/salty’ combination. [and look at me now! 10 years later and I can't imagine eating caramel without some big hunks of sea salt on top!]

Anyhow, so fast forward to present [~ 10 years later]: We’ve been having weekly movie nights on Thursdays which has given me a chance to make some treats for guests. Popcorn seems like the likely suspect for a movie night so immediately I thought of my Ma’s caramel popcorn recipes (which was actually my Grandma’s). These stuff is amazing…I mean..melt-in-your-mouth, can’t-stop eating-until-it’s-gone amazing. I tweaked the recipe slightly to fit what I had in my pantry and used agave nectar instead of corn syrup (sorry, Ma) but it was just as fantastic as I remember.

The moment that the popcorn came out of the oven and the sweet caramel smell filled my kitchen, I started nibbling at it… like, uncontrollably nibbling at it. And then before I knew it…a large chunk of the popcorn was gone (and the guests had not even arrived). I started pondering if this amount of popcorn was going to be enough (don’t get me wrong…it makes a ton of popcorn…but this stuff was good and I didn’t want it to be gone before the movie even started). So I started brainstorming ways I could make it last longer and that is when I remember the old cheese/caramel mix. Boom! Perfect. I [sort of cheating...] ran down to the co-op and bought a bag of cheesy popcorn [I know, I SHOULD have made it from scratch...but to be fair...I could not find any recipes that could truly capture that cheesy, powdery texture that the store-bought has. least I went organic with it!]

And thus, the popcorn was a hit! It was [almost] gone before the movie started but lasted long enough for everyone to get their fill. The point of my story? Well 1. I like to ramble and 2. plan for the fact that you may eat half of it beforehand and 3. include the cheddar popcorn or just eat the caramel corn by itself…it will be irresistible regardless.



Homemade Caramel Corn

  • 2/3 cup corn kernels
  • vegetable or canola oil (amount depends on the size of your pot)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1/8 cup agave nectar
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • salt
  • store-bought cheddar cheese popcorn, optional

First, pop the popcorn! You can either use your favorite method or follow mine. In a large pot with a lid, pour oil until it just coats the bottom. Place two kernels into the pan and heat over medium (with the lid on) and wait until the kernels pop (this will let you know the oil is ready). Once they pop, immediately add the rest of the kernels and stick the top back on. Shake the pot back and forth across the burner (this will be loud and a workout for your arms – both are good for ya!) and continue to shake until all the popcorn has popped (shaking will keep the popcorn from burning). Remove from heat once all the popcorn has popped and set aside.

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, agave, and cream of tartar. Bring to a boil and boil for five minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda.

Pour the heated mixture over popcorn and stir until all the popcorn is coated. Transfer popcorn to two cake pans or 1 baking sheet (if using baking sheet, make sure not to spill it in the oven!). Cook for 2 hours and stir every 30 minutes.

Enjoy warm with all your friends!


Butternut Squash Galette with Sage and Cheddar

October 3, 2012


Do you guys all follow me on instagram [ username: shellywest – if you don’t, you should!] ? Well, if not then you missed this picture of these adorable mini-cucumbers that I posted the other day (don’t they look like tiny watermelons? how bizarre is that?!). Anyhow, we got a handful of these at the farmer’s market this week and they taste like a super crunchy cucumber and I bet would be perfect in salads.

You know what else I got at the Farmer’s market? A big, beautiful butternut squash. Yup, that’s right. Fall vegetables are in full bloom and they look like this…



Looks delicious…right? Oh and to the left of that is some sage from my sunroom. The sun room has been seriously lacking in the ‘sun’ part lately so most of the herbs are looking pretty sad. Luckily, sage is a tough little guy and has still been thriving. He (or it…or she) looks like this:



Seeee…isn’t she lookin’ good? I even have her in a self-watering plant so she can take care of herself. Oh, and there’s my maroon knee-high socks too…sorry but it is fall. And if there is anything I take seriously this time of year, it’s socks and sweaters. A girl needs the proper accessories [socks] to pull off her fall attire. OH! and while we are on the topic of my thriving sage [or did we already switch topics?] …



Look at that texture! Sage, you really know how to show off. oh…speaking of texture…

Haha. Sorry to all of you who are just trying to get to the recipe… I am making all of you go through half a dozen photos first! I promise I’m just trying to prep you for all the delicious things that will be going into this galette. But I’ll stop babbling about…socks and fall and texture so that we can get to why you are really here….

Butternut Squash Galette

adapted from Bust Magazine

For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seed, and cubed
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • salt/pepper, to taste

  • 1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water

Lets make the crust: Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Use your [clean] hands to massage the butter into the flour mixture until a coarse dough as formed (a few large chunks of butter leftover is a-okay). Next, slowly add in the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a thick ball.

Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead for five minutes or until the dough is completely combined and no longer sticky. Wrap in parchment paper and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

—-fast forward 30 minutes [or enjoy those 30 minutes by watching your dog try to get peanut butter of the top of his mouth, dance to your favorite vinyl, look up some David Bowie photos online, shave your legs, etc] —–

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough from fridge and roll out onto a floured surface. You want your dough to be as close to a circle as possible and about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Combine all the filling ingredients together in a bowl and spread in the center of the dough (leave about 2 inches around the edges). Fold the edges in over part of the filling.

Whisk together the water and egg wash and brush over the crust.

Cook for 40 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the crust has browned.

Serve warm with cider [or other fall paraphernalia - like a hot toddy]


Baked Mac n’ Cheese

March 3, 2012

I’m going to take a break from posting about our Seattle/Portland trip and post a recipe. This recipe was inspired by our Seattle trip since we picked up some yummy homemade pasta at Pike’s Place last weekend.The large stand we bought it from was totally overwhelming with dozens of flavors of homemade pasta laying out for you to choose from. They had everything ranging from chocolate pasta to southwestern pasta (aka some pieces tasted like corn, some like peppers, etc)- check out all the flavors here. We ended up purchasing the ‘Chive Garlic Sea Shells’ because Wyatt was sold on it the minute the guy said it worked great with homemade macaroni and cheese.

And to be completely honest, the guy was totally right. This bake was beyond perfect on a chilling Friday night. The mounds of gooey cheese paired perfectly with the garlic and chive flavor of the pasta. Not to mention, the crusty top made for a perfect crunch in every bite. It’s so funny because I always forget to make simple things like homemade mac n cheese since I’m always looking to try something new but it’s these comfort foods that always turn out the best. I realize that you can buy Kraft at the grocery store for 1.50 but this recipe is so spectacular that I feel a little guilty even giving it the same name as the boxed version.

Baked Mac N’ Cheese

Adapted from Simply Scratch

  • 8 ounces of noodles (traditionally it would be elbow but we used shells)
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup colby jack cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top

First, prepare the pasta according to it’s packaged directions. Preheat oven to 400.

Next, in a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the onions and saute until translucent (about five minutes). Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Then add in the flour and stir for one more minute. Turn heat up to medium-high and add in the cream and milk. Let the mixture come to a simmer and then turn it back down to medium. Add in the cream cheese, cheddar, colby, dried mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir until the cheese has melted and then remove from heat.

Add in the noodles and stir until everything is well combined. Pour into the remekins (I only had 2 little remekins so I also used a little baking dish for the extra) and cook for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

Let cool because this baby is hoooooot. And then munch down along with a small salad or french bread.

Breadmaker Jalpepeno Cheddar Bread

January 23, 2012

As a follow up to my Sandwich Sass post, here is the bread I used to for the veggie stackers and the bohemian BLT. I’m sure if you don’t own a bread maker than my constant bread posts are getting irritating but there is just nothing better than a warm loaf of bread to dip into sauces, wedge veggies between, and enjoy with your favorite jam lathered all over it. I swear, you need to jump on this bandwagon!

Anyways, I am done defending myself and it’s time to get back to the point of this post. So this weekend we had an ice storm that basically had us locked in our house for the past two days. A positive to this is that I live with four friends so what do I need to even leave the house for? The negative to this was that we had a party last weekend and were lacking in alcohol (we made due with brass monkeys). the end, I spent alot of the weekend cooking, playing America trivia drinking games, and watching samurai movies. Overall, great way to escape from the ice and cold (if I do say so myself).

And to end the weekend I made this wonderful bread (AGAIN!) so that I can make some part 2 lunch sandwiches during the week. This is also an attempt to destress myself since I start my new position at the record label tomorrow (get my own desk and all!). Anyways, I’ve never had a “9-5″ job before (hey, I am only 22 and still in college) so this will hopefully make some lunch breaks less stressful by having the sandwiches already prepped.

Okay, too much talking and blabbing about my life in this post. Apologies. Please try this bread if you have a breadmaker. It’s super soft and the hint of spice from the jalapeno gives your sandwiches the perfect extra kick. And it has cheddar in it. Everyone knows that anything with cheese baked into it is going to be amazing. Come on, you know I am right.

Jalepeno Cheddar Bread

  • 1/4 cup jalapenos, chopped and from a jar (reserve the brine)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup of reserved brine juice
  • 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 packet of yeast (or 1 1/2 teaspoons)

Add into bread machine in the order listed. Press ‘Regular’ or ‘White’ mode and start.

Go off and play with your kitty, watch some Anthony Bourdain, or tend to your cactus collection for a few hours. When returning to your kitchen, there should be soft and warm homemade bread waiting for you to gobble up!

Oh and if you are looking for ideas to use the bread with, I suggest loading it up with every possible veggie you can find in your kitchen and topping it with some tangy honey mustard!

Sandwich Sass

January 20, 2012

I’ve been on a sandwich kick this week. It sparked last weekend when we ate lunch at our favorite sandwich spot in Bloomington and had a long talk about how amazing sandwiches are because of their versatility and fresh flavors. This conversation caused an immediate chain reaction to run out to the local co-op for sandwich goodies on the way home (sandwich goodies= fresh veggies, supplies for homemade bread, vegan fakin’ bakin, and sandwich sauce). We then proceeded to make some homemade jalapeno bread (recipe coming soon!) and created sandwich masterpieces for the rest of the week!

Here were my four favorites:

Veggie Stacker (top left): Lettuce, tomato, onion, green pepper, avocado, swiss, salt, pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, crushed garlic, roasted red pepper aoili on homemade jalapeno bread

Rich Girl’s PB&J (top right): Organic honey roasted almond butter, All Natural Strawberry Rhubarb jam on sprout bread

The Elegant Egg (Bottom left): Scrambled egg, pesto, swiss, salt, pepper on a homemade biscuit

Bohemian BLT (Bottom right): Lettuce, tomato, veganaise, Tempeh Bacon on homemade jalapeno bread

Glad to share my sandwich lust with you and hope to have some real recipes back up this weekend!

Homemade Beer Bread

January 16, 2012

Let me start off by warning you that I am currently enrolled in a photoshop class so I have been obsessed with photo editing lately and trying out new tricks. Also, I love everything vintage so this whole concept of making my food pictures vintage is blowing my mind and will probably be run into the ground. I guess what I am trying to say is be patient with me if you find all these “side note” photos obviously. Oh, and I am also saying that you should get excited because I am planning and am in the process of a major blog make over so stay tuned for lots of fun add ons! Oooooooh yeahh!

So, as I’ve mentioned loads of times before, we are obsessed with making homemade bread. I understand that women are suppose to crave chocolate but nah, give me a loaf of fresh and steaming bread instead! Hah, yeah. Anyways, so sometimes we crave bread but don’t feel like playing the 2 hour waiting game for it to rise and what not so that’s when we turn to our beer bread recipe. It’s seriously the simplest bread recipe to ever exist and no need for yeast or “resting time” or any of that jazz. Just let the beer do it’s natural yeast-fermenting-thing and pop it straight into the oven!

We like to use our beer bread for a nutritious and exotic dinner consisting of grilled cheese and tomato soup. Our favorite version beer bread + mustard + grilled onions + cheddar +swiss. Oh damn. But of course, you can sandwich this bread with loads of healthy toppings too like sprouts, lettuce, carrots, veganaise, cucumber, hummus, etc etc etc…I think you get the point.

Oh and one last point. You should use cheap beer. The flavor of the beer honestly does not affect the final project so use that crappy beer you’ve been avoiding in your fridge for months now.

Homemade Beer Bread

  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 oz bottle of beer
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted

Grease a bread pan and preheat oven for 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Then make a well in the center of the bowl and pour the beer in the middle. Fold the dry ingredients into the beer until well incorporated.

Put the batter in the greased bread tin and top with melted butter.

Cook for 40 minutes (or until a tooth pick comes out clear).

Let cool for 10 minutes and then make whatever you’ve like out of it! Or just top with butter and serve warm. Mmmmmmm


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Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

January 9, 2012

Wyatt and I usually devote Saturday afternoons to thrifting. We do this because 1) we love wearing vintage clothing 2)we are big consumers but poor college students so thrifting is a fun way to save money 3)we have an etsy store for all the clothes we find that are too amazing to not buy but just don’t fit us (CactusCaravan).

We decided to try out a new Flea Market in the neighboring town on Saturday and came out empty handed. I fell in love with a huge vintage vinyl player cabinet (it had pointy legs and huge 50s speakers) but was sadly already sold and Wyatt found a great deal on a VHS player (why he collects VHS tapes, I have no idea) but that too was sold.

Needless to say, after a long day of sorting through gems, junk, and crap we were in need of some serious grub. I made these muffins to dip into my Black Bean Chili and they were fantastic! I usually stick to my traditional vegan cornbread recipe that I’ve used for years but I was cravin’ some cheddar so I decided to stray and play around with this recipe. The straying was well worth it and I was not only pleased at the way they tasted but they were also really damn cute!

Anyways, I’d recommend cutting down on how many jalapeno’s you use if you don’t like things spicy (I only topped half the peppers with the pepper garnish because I’m a wimp).

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk but you can use regular)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar (plus more for topping the muffins)
  • 3 jalapenos, 2 diced and one sliced for garnish

Grease a 12 muffin tin with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper). In another bowl, stir together all wet ingredients (sour cream, oil, milk, and egg). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the wet ones. Fold the dry mixture into the wet with a spatula until well incorporated (don’t over mix! Just get it moist). Fold in the cheddar cheese and diced peppers.

Cook for 2o minutes. When five minutes are left, top them with more cheddar and the sliced peppers and put back into the oven for the remaining five minutes.

Let cool and serve with yummy, warm chili. Probably while snuggling under a blanket with your favorite person and a board game.

And lastly, unrelated to anything in this post, I am soooooo excited to start a new science project tonight!

Homemade Pierogies

January 6, 2012

My family is German…both sets of my Grandparents are German and their parent’s are German and so on. But for some reason, my mother and I make this Polish tradition every year. I’m not sure how it started but homemade, fresh pierogies are so amazing that we make sure to take time to whip these up during the holidays. I’m a student who has two jobs so I can’t say that I get home very much but when I go, I do make sure to make time for these guys.

We’ve tackled this recipe for so many years that we are able to whip several dozen of these out in less than two hours but you should plan on spending a few hours on this recipe (or do half the recipe and only make a few dozen which should just take over an hour). We always make the 4 dozen and freeze most of them for a later date.

Every August, a nearby town hosts ‘Pierogi Fest’ which is exactly what it sounds: a weekend long food festival dedicated to these tasty dumplings. They have dumplings filled with cheese, sauerkraut, veggies, blueberries, raspberries, and so on. Basically, it’s amazing. And is probably what originally inspired us so many years ago to start making these things.

I suggest you saute them in some olive oil with some onions and peppers. Or in butter with Swiss cheese and shallots. So the next time you have a relaxing, rainy (or snowy) Saturday, take the afternoon to make these with a friend or your Ma or your boyfriend. Whip up some mimosas, turn that vinyl player on, and enjoy the cooking process.

Homemade Pierogies


  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs


  • 8 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Start by preparing the filling. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and peel and chop the potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Boil the potatoes until they are soft and a fork can easily pierce them. Drain and then mash the potatoes with a masher or hand mixer until smooth. Then fold in the cheddar and garlic until they are well incorporated. Set aside to cool while you prepare the dough.

Now it’s time to prep the dough! Doing it in two batches,  add all dough ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined.

If the dough is super sticky, add a bit more flour and if it’s too crumbly, add more milk.

Next, you are going to roll the dough on a floured surface. We take chunks of the dough (just like my Ma is doing in the picture below) and roll it in parts but feel free to do whatever works best for you. Also, you can definetely use a rolling pin to roll out the dough but we’ve discovered the amazing cooking secrets of the pasta maker. If you do use a pasta maker, I recommend keeping it on the 7 setting and just running it through two times to achieve a smooth texture.

Resist the cute begging dog (with the ridiculous joker collar. Poor guy- what are my parent’s thinking?)

Next, place the dough on a pierogi mold which looks like this:

Fill the pierogies with a tablespoon each of the filling and then place another thin layer of dough on top of the filling and roll a rolling pin over to seal the dumplings.

Repeat with the rest of the filling/dough. Should make around 4 dozen pierogies. Bring a large pot to a boil with salted water. Drop the dumpling in the water for about 3 minutes or until they are floating in the water.

Enjoyed boiled or saute them in butter with onions and bell peppers. Feel free to freeze a couple dozen of them for later use. And don’t forget to share with that begging puppy.

Broccoli Two Ways: Cheddar Broccoli Soup and Mashed Broccoli Potatoes

November 15, 2011

So the broccoli at the Farmer’s Market are currently pieces of art for which I decided I needed to own them in bulk. AKA now I have a buttload of broccoli that I need to use up fast fast fast!

I don’t cook with fresh broccoli being the main very often (it always accompanies other veggies in other curries or stews) but this time I wanted to make these green bundles of color the main star.

I decided to see what I could come up with if I featured it as a main dish one night and as a side the other. The products of this endeavor was not only colorful but absolutely scrumptious! I was sooo pleased with how easy both of these recipes were to create and how flavorful they turned out.

First, we will talk about the mashed broccoli potatoes. They were like a slightly healthier version of mashed potatoes (less potato, more broccoli) but also had all the full flavor additives of yummy homemade mashed potatoes (sour cream, butter, and more butter). They turned out creamy and were the most hassle-free potato dish I’ve ever made. By steaming the potatoes and broccoli, they ended up so soft that using a mixer to combine the ingredients would have just been wasteful.

Mashed Broccoli Potatoes

  • 3 cups finely chopped broccoli
  • 1 pound potatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper, to season

Steam the broccoli and potatoes until very tender (about 15 minutes). Then combine in a bowl and mash with the sour cream, butter, and salt/pepper.

Marvel at their greenness and then much down with a yummy main dish (like vegetarian chicken nuggets or Vegetarian Cranberry and Goat Cheese Chik’n Cutlets)

And for recipe part number two! This soup was ridiculously easy to make and I whipped it up in about 30 minutes! Probably one of the quickest (and yummiest) soup recipes I’ve ever made.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

  • I onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 pound potatoes, chopped (you can peel them but I like the skins and I’m lazy)
  • 1 pound sweet potato, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt/pepper, for seasoning
  • olive oil

Heat a tablespoon or two in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add oinions and celery and cook for about five minutes (or until softened. Make sure to stir them around during cooking!). NNext, add the vegetable broth, half and half, potatoes (both kinds), bay leaf, 2 cups of water, and salt and pepper to the pot. Bring it all to a boil! While this is happening, lightly steam the broccoli (keep them a little firm) in a steamer or in the microwave (if doing it in the microwave then cover them with plastic wrap and cook for about 4 minutes)

Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Next, remove the bay leaf and transfer the soup to a blender (this is the messiest part of the whole process- promise!). Puree the soup and return it to the pot. Bring the soup back to a simmer and then stir in the broccoli and cheese. Season with salt/pepper and stir until all the cheese is melted.

Serve with croutons (I just stuck some old bread chunks with the olive oil in the oven and broiled them for about 5 minutes) and slurp it all up.