Archives for category: Recipes

Trader Joes makes sesame honey cashews that are SO addicting! So instead of buying a bag, I thought I’d try to make my own 😀 The original recipe is from Two Dancing Buckeyes, but I tweaked it a lil.

Sesame Honey Cashews
2 cups raw cashews
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
Sesame seeds (as much or little as you like)

• Spread the cashews evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and roast them in a 250° oven for about 8-10 minutes, until they just start to brown. Move them around a bit halfway through to make sure that they don’t burn.

• Meanwhile, melt the butter and honey together. As soon as you pull the cashews from the oven, toss them in the honey-butter mixture so that they are evenly coated.

•Then sprinkle the sugar, salt, and sesame seeds and toss them again – I like mine like the Trader Joes version – heavily coated with sesame seeds. It balances out the flavors, I find. Dan made a good point and said that shaking them in a baggie with the sesame seeds might coat them more evenly.

• Put them back in the oven for 8-10 more minutes and watch them to make sure they don’t burn. When they come out, toss them once again to pick up any stray sesame seeds, then let them cool completely on the sheet.


On Thanksgiving I decided to try out a new recipe and it turned out really yummy! The original recipe is from Simply Recipes, but I tweaked it a bit.

Apple and Sausage Pie

1 basic pie dough recipe, rolled out and lining a 9 or 10-inch pie dish, or 8×8 baking dish, chilled (or one frozen pie crust)
2 large tart Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about half a cup)
1 teaspoon sugar
3 Tbsp butter
3/4 lb sweet Italian sausage (bulk, or removed from casings)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups shredded Italian cheese mix
1 cup cottage cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten

• Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake pie crust for 8 minutes, or until browned. Remove from oven and let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

• Melt butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the apples, onions, and sugar, cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. In the last 30 seconds or so, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Transfer mixture to a separate bowl. Increase the heat to medium high and in the same skillet add the Italian sausage. Cook, stirring only infrequently, until sausage is browned on all sides and is cooked through. Remove from heat. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to a dish lined with paper towels to absorb the excess fat.

• In medium sized bowl, mix together the cheeses and beaten eggs.

•Place sausage on bottom of pre-baked pie crust. Add the cooked apple onion mixture over the sausage. Pour the cheese egg mixture over the apple mixture and spread it so it evenly covers the pie.

•Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Usually when I make a dish I like to follow some sort of recipe as a guide. I’m not too good with figuring out what favors compliment each other, or what ratios to do, so I like to browse at a few recipes just to get an idea. When I make a new dish, especially if someone else will be eating it too, I want to make sure it’ll taste good.

But last Tuesday I stepped out of my comfort zone and threw stuff in the crockpot that I thought would go well together. We had some pork and not much else, and luckily what I came up with turned out well! It’s a little spicy, a little sweet, a little creamy, and a lot of yummy 😉

Spicy Cranberry Mushroom Pork

1 pound Pork loin
1/4 brown sugar
1 onion, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can jellied cranberry sauce
A few heaping spoonfuls of chili sauce

1. Place the chopped onion evenly on the bottom of the crockpot. Lay the pork on top, and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly on top of the pork and onions.

2. Mix together the cream of mushroom soup (condensed), cranberry sauce, and chili sauce. Pour on top of pork and onions.

3. Cook on high for 6 hours.

There are so many inspirations for this smoothie, I’m not sure where to start. All I know is that it’s yummy and I knew that Dan would love it too – and he did!! 😀

Oh, and this makes a warm smoothie. Sounds kinda weird but it’s so good. If you want it cold, add a few ice cubes (about a cup).

Nutty Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

1/3 Cup dry oatmeal, cooked
1 Banana
3/4 Cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (or one individual-sized cup)
2 Tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
Milk to liquify everything*

Blend and serve.

* When I’ve used regular yogurt I’ve noticed that I don’t have to add much milk. It also depends on how thick you cook your oatmeal, so just eye it.

When we get vanilla protein powder I want to add a scoop and see how it tastes. It’ll probably be even better! 🙂

These balloons are on display at our local Fred Meyers, and I think it sums up our “Crocktober” pretty well. Dan’s daughter and her boyfriend have been crock-potting like crazy lately causing Dan to keep suggesting that I bring out our crock pot and make some yummy dishes too.

So I looked at a few recipes I had saved, bought some cheap meat, and started slow cookin’! 😉

We’ve made beef and broccoli, BBQ pulled beef sandwiches, salsa chicken, pot roast, and sloppy joes. I haven’t taken any pics, but all of the dishes were so yummy! I love BBQ anything, but my favorite might have been the sloppy joes so far (the BBQ pulled beef was a very close 2nd). And Dan seemed to like them too, he said that they were the best sloppy joes he’s had! This is a little spicy, so if you don’t like that much heat then cut back on the cayenne pepper and Siracha. 🙂

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

2 slices whole wheat bread
1/4 cup milk
1 lb ground hot Italian sausage*
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (24 oz) can pasta sauce
1 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Siracha
Choice of bread, buns, hoagies or rolls.

* We only had 1lb of sausage, but the original recipe called for 2lbs of ground beef. The ingredient ratios is what we used and it turned out super yummy, but feel free to use more meat and a different type if you’d like.

1. Mash together the bread and milk in a medium bowl. Using your hands, mix in the sausage until all ingredients are combined. This trick keeps the sausage moist as it cooks in the slow cooker. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet heat up the olive oil to medium high heat and cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cayenne pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the sausage mixture into the pan. As it cooks break up into small pieces. Cook until sausage is no longer pink.

4. Transfer sausage mixture to the slow cooker and stir in pasta sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and Siracha.

5. Cover and set the slow cooker to cook on low for 5-7 hours, or until sausage is tender. Your cooking time may vary! Serve on your choice of bread!

On this past Saturday, the Southwest Community Center was holding a bake sale in association with No Kid Hungry to help end child hunger in the United States.

According to their website, 1 out of 5 kids in the US are struggling with hunger. That’s approximately 16 million kids. Just in the US! Since I don’t have much extra money to donate, we decided to bake something for this fundraiser cus it’s the least we can do.

Dan suggested I make the coconut chocolate bars from Martha Stewart. I had made them before but I didn’t like the big chunks of chocolate chips, plus I felt like they were missing something.

So, I decided to add Heath bar bits and butterscotch chips, and chop them up so that once the bars cooled each bite was pretty consistent in taste (not one bite with a huge chocolate chip and another with a huge butterscotch chip). After letting them set overnight they were so yummy! Best of all, they were easy to make too.

There are many different ways that you can help out too – just click the link at the beginning of this post for more info.

Everything Bars

3 cups finely ground graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup walnut pieces
3/4 cup Heath Bar bits
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly splash a 15-by-10-inch rimmed baking sheet evenly with water, then line with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, stir together cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter until combined. Evenly press onto bottom and up sides of prepared baking sheet. Bake, rotating halfway through, until firm, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool, about 20 minutes.

3. Chop up walnuts, Heath Bar bits, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Sprinkle cooled crust evenly with the nuts, Heath Bar, chocolate, and butterscotch bits. Pour condensed milk over the top, spreading to cover completely (do not let it drip over the edges). Sprinkle with coconut.

4. Bake until coconut is toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely. Trim edges, if desired, and cut into equal-size bars.


There are so many yummy recipes on Pinterest! I saw this one over at For the Love of Cooking and knew that Dan would love it. Instead of pecans I used walnuts because Dan loves walnuts (and I like them better than pecans).

When Dan first tasted it, he said it reminded him of something his mom made when he was a kid. 🙂 I don’t know why, but that made me so happy! All I could think of was that moment in Ratatouille when the cold-hearted chef tasted little buddy’s dish for the first time and he had a flashback from his childhood and instantly warmed up to everyone. Dan also said it was the best cake he’s ever had and that I can make it for his birthday if I wanted hahaha

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Walnut Frosting

Cake Ingredients:
1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal
3/4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1/4 cup butter
Frosting Ingredients:
3 tbsp melted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Mix the oatmeal with the boiling water, stir and cover.
2. Mix the remaining ingredients then stir in the oatmeal mixture.
3. Grease and flour a 9×9 pan. Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 for 23-25 minutes.
4. Combine all frosting ingredients and mix thoroughly. Carefully spread frosting over the top of the cake.
5. Broil until coconut is just brown. Watch very closely – it doesn’t take long.
6. Cool, slice and serve!


Here’s a little secret – I HATE zucchini. I don’t like the texture and how one bite can taste fine, yet the next can taste bitter. That being said, I like zucchini bread (the pieces of zucchini are so small you can’t really taste it lol). One of our neighbors down the street was giving away the excess veggies from her garden for free, so I decided I’d take a couple of zucchini and try out this bread.

Here’s another little secret – I’ve never made any type of bread before. So you can imagine that I was a bit anxious to see how the end product turned out. After finally waiting for it to cool a lil, I tried a piece and it was really good! Then I wrapped some up in foil for Dan to enjoy at work with his morning coffee, and, well, here’s the text he sent me:


Zucchini, Carrot, Walnut Bread
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts plus 1/2 cup for top
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup grated carrots

1. Mix dry ingredients (not the sugars) in a bowl and set aside, including 1 cup of walnuts.

2. In a separate bowl, beat egg and add sugars. Then add oil and vanilla and mix until smooth.

3. Stir in vegetables. Then mix in dry ingredients.

4. Pour into greased bread pan. Top with rest of walnuts. Bake 45 to 55 minutes at 350° F until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

* In the text above if you read my response I start to mention how I had some difficulty making it – I cooked it on 350° for 40 minutes, checked on it and it was all jiggly in the middle but the top was browning nicely. So I cooked it for another 10 min, checked on it and it wasn’t jiggly, but it was still gooey when I stuck a knife in it, and the top was still browning good. Too good. So I bumped down the oven to 325° and cooked it for another 10-15 minutes. It was perfect!


It has been a really long time since I’ve posted a recipe, so as an apology I’d like to share one for the blackberry crisp I made last night as a special dessert for Dan and I. Besides it sounding yummy, there are three other reasons for why I wanted to try this recipe out – it is super easy and quick to make, plus it’s nice that the main ingredient happens to be considered a weed around here! 🙂

Blackberry Crisp

2 cups fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1-1/2 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter
Vanilla ice cream

Place blackberries in a greased 1-qt. baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water and lemon juice until smooth. Pour over berries. Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over berries.

Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until filling is bubbly. Serve warm with ice cream. Yield: 2 servings.

* Dan and I really liked this, and next time we might double the oat/flour topping mixture to balance out the berries.

I completely forgot to take a picture of the finished product, but here’s a picture of it finished. 😉


So a few days ago I was looking for new recipes to try out and came across this one from Giada de Laurentiis. Besides it looking yummy, I wanted to try it for a couple of other reasons – I have a bunch of dry beans that I’ve been wanting to use, I love basil, and I also love Giada!! Seriously, watching her show is so uplifting for some reason.

Anyway, I made a few adjustments to the recipe, so here’s my version.

Corn and Black Bean Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

1 and 1/2 cup frozen corn
1 16oz bag dried black beans, cooked
1 mango, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 an onion, finely chopped

1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a medium bowl, mix together the corn, cooked and cooled black beans, mango and onion.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice, balsamic vinegar, basil, and cumin. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. Refrigerate for 1 hour, and toss again, before serving.

*The longer the salad sits in the refrigerator, the more the flavor will soak in.

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