Maple Butterscotch Cookies

I feel like a recurring theme in this blog, and in my life, is things I hated as a kid that I love now.  Butterscotch is one of those things.  To me butterscotch evokes memories of that etched glass candy bowl that all grandmothers had in their living rooms with hard candies in them.  If you were lucky, your grandmother had lemon drops or Jolly Ranchers.  My Grandma Olga Mae kept plastic wrapped butterscotch candies.  😖  In MIssissippi, plastic wrapped meant the plastic was perma-stuck to the now sticky, overly sweet, weirdly savory tasting candy. Poor eight year old me.  Fast forward many, many (many) years to randomly hearing someone on TV say that the quick cheater caramel I’ve always made with brown sugar, butter, and cream is actually butterscotch?! 🤯  You mean butterscotch isn’t that sickly sweet little sticky disc Olga Mae kept in that bowl for years on end?  So when I saw a bag of Nestlé Butterscotch Morsels, I instantly wanted to try them!  And what better way then to add them to a cookie?  A rich Fall Maple Butterscotch cookie!!  No sticky plastic wrapping required. (Read more…)

Seared Salmon in Lemon Dill Cream Sauce

I don’t recall eating a lot of fish in my childhood.  I know I had fried catfish when I visited Grandma Olga Mae in Mississippi.  I remember my brother and I lying that we caught some rainbow trout in Yellowstone (we paid a guy five bucks for his) and our mom cooking it.  I also recall my mom catching a bucket full of sun perch in Canyon Lake, Texas when I was a kid, but I think I was too traumatized by her killing them by hitting their heads on a rock to remember  if I ate any.  So yeah, other than whatever fish they use in the Fish and Chips at Long John Silvers, I really don’t remember a lot of fish in my life.

And then I moved to Oregon and ate salmon.  Oh my, The Salmon.  My gateway fish.  The fish that opened the the flood gates for fish to enter my life.  And still my absolute favorite fish to cook and eat.  This recipe is kind of an homage to the Parmesan Baked Salmon  my oldest daughter loved from The Mesquitery in Hood River, Oregon.  It’s lightened up with lemon juice and fresh herbs, but I think she’ll like it.  I think you will too! (Read more…)

Mediterranean Grilled Shrimp

America.  We love our shrimp.  I read a statistic once that said the average American eats over 4 pounds of shrimp per year.  Per person.  Amateurs 🙄.  But I get it, shrimp has a lot of things going for it.  It’s a relatively inexpensive seafood that has a kind of luxury reputation.  It’s also high in iodine and protein, and has a ton of those fancy omega-3 fatty acids everyone is talking about, so it’s a bit of a nutritional show off!  From a culinary standpoint, shrimp has a great sweet flavor, is available year round and is easy to prepare.  It can be served hot or cold, poached, baked, fried, grilled… the choices are endless.  As Cady Heron said in Mean Girls, “The limit does not exist.” (Read more…)

Halloween Candy Cookies

When I was a kid, eating my Halloween candy was a science.  I divided my stash into groups: 1. Eat right away, 2. Not as good, eat anyway, and 3. Raisins.  Right?  Sometimes I’d have the wisdom to save one or two “eat right away” candies for the end, like dessert candy.  Not usually.  Sorting and eating usually took place within 12-24 hours max.  On the other hand, my big brother hoarded his candy, doling it out to himself so slowly that he would still have candy left THE NEXT HALLOWEEN 😱.  And he didn’t share.  He gleefully didn’t share 😠.  Anyway, I’m totally over that.  As I’ve matured 😉, I eat less candy and it lasts much longer.  Also, my kids are grown, we don’t get as many kids ringing our bell on Halloween, and I have too much candy leftover at the end of the night.  Enter my Halloween Candy Cookies.  Even the “not as good” candies are given a new and exciting life inside of a cookie!  (Read more…)

Sweet and Smoky Dry Rub Wings

In the chicken wing world, there are two distinct camps: dry rub or wet wings, or as I like to call them: Right or Wrong.  With the exception of Korean Fried Chicken, which is its own category that we will explore in depth in a future post, I am firmly on Team Dry Rub.  With wet wings you fry or bake your wings in advance and toss them in a sauce.  Big whoop 🎉  With Dry Rub Wings, you are curating a blend of seasonings and spices, with just enough heat and the perfect balance of sweet,  and cooking them into the wings with the intention of developing an exceptionally textured and flavorful wingsperience 🔥 Or you can, you know, flop your wings in some wet stuff.  Your choice (pick dry rub! pick dry rub!) (Read More)

Mini Cast Iron Dutch Babies

I love breakfast.  I really, really do.  Sometimes I want something savory, like biscuits and gravy or anything with bacon.  Sometimes I want something sweet, like pancakes or waffles (and also bacon).  One problem:  when I wake up, I usually just want my cup of coffee and breakfast to magically materialize in front of me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook.  You know this about me.  But there are those mornings, you know the ones, where it would sure be awesome to have someone to take care of those little details for you.  Well, these fluffy Dutch babies are a compromise.   Dusted with powdered sugar and filled with citrus marinated fruit, they take only 10 minutes of hands-on time and bake up in a mere 20 minutes.  They’re also easy enough for someone else to make for you, and they take just enough time for you to drink enough coffee to make you… nice to be around.  (Read more…)

Mixed Fruit Buttermilk Bundt Cake

I have served my children cake for breakfast because I am a good parent and I am not a hypocrite.  Sometimes I’d be too tired to make breakfast in the morning, so I would eat cake.  And because I tried to raise my children to be honest and fair, I would let them eat cake too.  Because good parenting.  Judge me if you want, but cake is essentially eggs, wheat, and dairy, all of which are included in most balanced breakfasts, so fight me on this 💪 This cake also has fruit in it, so tell me that’s not breakfast! Go ahead!  Oh wait, you can’t.  Totally breakfast.  Also, cake is dessert, so I have also saved time and I am winning at life.  Two birds, one cake.  You, too, can win at life with this recipe. (Read more…)

Individual Tomato Tarts

I thought I hated tomatoes (I’m not crazy about red sauces either, except my mom’s spaghetti sauce and my own marinara 😋).  I’m not alone.  In fact, I hear variations of “I hate tomatoes” from a lot of people.  I think the actual problem is most people haven’t eaten fresh tomatoes.  The ones we get from the Mega Market don’t count.  Those are unripened tomatoes, shipped from who knows where, that are then force ripened using SCIENCE 👩🏻‍🔬🧪!   But I live in New Jersey!  Don’t laugh.  It’s called The Garden State for a reason and we are famous for our… wait for it… TOMATOES 🍅  At first I was skeptical.  I was as afraid of eating tomatoes someone had grown as I was to eat fish caught in the Hudson River.  But the difference between Mega Market tomatoes and home grown or farm fresh tomatoes is unbelievable.  Game changer.  And I use them with amazing results in these Individual Tomato Tarts.  But I’m still not eating Hudson River fish (Read more…)

Homemade Cracker Jacks

I remember my excitement as a kid when opening a box of Cracker jacks 🎉 I would usually pour all the caramel corn out into a bowl,  just to get to that prize at the bottom (might have done that with cereal too).  Either I’ve become jaded as I’ve gotten older, or the prizes just aren’t that good anymore, but now my excitement is all about that caramel corn!  Well, I’ve decided to bypass the purchasing of a tiny box of Cracker Jacks with its disappointing prize and go straight to making myself an enormous batch of my very own version.  I say “myself”, but I should probably share.  It’s the right thing to do after all.  Probably.  And I can buy my own prize.  I’m a grown up.  (Read more…)

Mixed Fruit and Basil Crumble

Have you ever opened the fruit drawer in your refrigerator and seen a sad assortment of fruit that has been left behind and forgotten in their little plastic containers?  A dozen raspberries, five or six strawberries (looking a little sad), a handful of cherries, or a slightly wrinkled peach? You could blitz it all together into a smoothie (which, I understand, some people enjoy 😖) or you could pull together this quick and easy Mixed Fruit Crumble!  The combination of the tart and jammy fruit filling with the buttery and crispy crumble topping is impossible to resist! With addition of basil in the fruit filling, and a final touch of vanilla ice cream, I’m gonna start purposely ‘forgetting’ I have fruit in the fridge all the time!  (Read more…)