Cooking is fun. Eating is funner. I cook, photograph and write these recipes.
Everything I post on this blog I make from scratch using fresh wholesome ingredients.. I've been cooking since I was a little kid.

My recipes are based on trial and error, along with studying cookbooks, family recipes, blogs and cooking shows.

Some of the veggies and herbs I use are grown in my garden. Yay sustainability!
I'm working on making my yard into an edible landscape. It's really fun to go out in the garden and pick your veggies for dinner!
I'm helping as many people as I can to plant edible gardens in their yards too. It's hard work but it's really fun!



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    Jalapeño Kale Hash with Sunny Side Up

    This was our delicious lunch today. We had a leftover baked potato from dinner the other night, and peppers and Tuscan kale growing in the yard. So I decided to make a “free” lunch. This was spicy, smokey, very cheap and easy. You could serve this for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner, make the hash as a side with any kind of grilled fish or meat, or just serve with eggs like I did.

    I’ve been keeping the kale growing healthy through the drought by spraying the leaves thoroughly each time I water. It washes away any aphids or what not, and also seems to keep the leaves tender & hydrated. I harvest the new leaves at the top of the plant for cooking, and remove and compost the bottom leaves, which get big and tough in the heat as they get larger. The drought sucks. Most of my yard is hibernating right now. I only water plants that are established and have deeper roots. I’m also watering tomatoes, basil and other summer crops because they’re valuable and so delicious. I hope to see our garden spring  back to life soon with lots of rain this fall and winter. Fingers crossed and wishing on my Good Luck Charm.

    Here’s how to make this easy, inexpensive & yummy lunch:

    In a cast iron skillet, add 1 tblsp olive oil and a little bit of butter, or a lot, depending on if you worry about such things. My husband called me “Skinny” today as a nickname, I’m not. But I now have a false sense of skinniness, so I’m having a little butter. Chop 1 leftover baked potato, 1 shallot and 1/2 jalapeño pepper. Sear in the skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook for a minute or two on each side. You only need to get them hot and caramelized because the potato is already cooked. If you start with raw potatoes, cook for about 10 to 15 minutes flipping and turning as you go. 

    Wash and chop any kind of kale or greens, and add to the pan. Cook until wilted. Scoot everything to the side, add a tiny bit more butter and cook an egg or two, over easy or sunny side up. You could poach the eggs to save additional calories. It’s faster to cook it in the same pan and saves on water from washing two pans. 

    Season with smoked paprika. Yum!

    Caprese Salad

    Here’s another delectable way to use all those garden tomatoes. In this photo: Isis Candy tomatoes on a plate that’s been rubbed with a garlic clove, add fresh Mozzarella, shredded Basil, salt, pepper, and Olive oil. Serve as a salad, or over pasta as Cecca, with toasted French bread as Bruschetta, or with any grilled fish or meat. You could also add a drizzle of Balsamic vinegar. This is very fresh and delicious!

    Cheesy Bruschetta Eggs

    This was our delicious breakfast from the garden today. We have five kinds of tomatoes growing; Cherokee Purple, Sun Gold, Patio, Sweetie, and Isis Candy. They’re all delicious. I never get sick of home grown tomatoes cooked with a little garlic, fresh basil and melted cheese. Yum! Here’s how to make this easy and healthy dish.

    Heat oven to 400. Chop tomatoes into a small casserole dish. Add a little minced garlic, salt and pepper, basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake until bubbly. Remove from the oven, add shredded cheese and bake a few minutes more until the cheese melts.

    Meanwhile: In a skillet, saute 1 chopped shallot in a little butter or olive oil. Cook until it starts to caramelize. Add chopped fresh spinach and basil leaves, or any greens and herbs you have growing in your garden. Season with celery salt and pepper.

    Scramble a few eggs. Scoot the wilted greens aside and cook the scrambled eggs. Combine the greens with the eggs. Toast some bread. 

    Serve the spinach eggs with the melted tomato compote, toast, and garnish with a few chopped olives, or not. Some people in my family hate olives. I love them. This was my plate. Yum.

    My hubby is on Drunk History tonight! Starring the hilarious Patton Oswald and Johnny Knoxville. Please watch and / or set your DVR. This show is the funniest, I love it. I can’t believe my Husband is on my favorite show! 

    I’m re-blogging this post I made for the Master Chef at Home Mystery Box challenge. This was so delicious, I love the challenge of cooking with new ingredients! Thanks Master Chef!


    Smoked Bacon Wrapped Salmon on Herbed Rice with Black Bean Relish and Creamy Basil Dressing

    Submitted to MasterChef by delishytown

    The ingredients in the MasterChef at Home Mystery Box this week were: Salmon filets, bacon, black beans, balsamic vinegar, rice, fresh basil, fresh mint, and Plain Greek yogurt. I knew that the salmon had to be the star of the show, but I definitely wanted to use the bacon. I decided to break out the electric smoker for this dish, & wrap the Salmon in bacon. I finished it under the broiler to crisp up the bacon. It was soooo good! Every bite was heavenly and smoky and fresh. This was one of the best dishes I’ve ever made.

    Here’s how I made this delicious Smoked Salmon:

    Rinse 1 cup of rice a few times until the water runs clear. Add to a pot with 4 cups water and a pinch of salt. Simmer until al dente, drain and add back to the pot. Add 1 tsp chopped basil, 1/2 tsp chopped mint, sprinkle of celery salt, a grind of black pepper and a pinch of dried dill. Toss together with a fork, then cover and set aside to steam.

    Drain and rinse black beans. Add to a bowl with 1 small chopped Persian cucumber, 2 tblsp balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp fresh chopped basil and 1/2 tsp chopped mint, and season with celery salt and pepper.

    Turn the smoker to about 180 to 200 degrees. Soak apple and mesquite chips in water. Remove any bones from the salmon. Rinse and pat dry. Drizzle the salmon with some of the balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with a little brown sugar, season with salt and pepper. Smash and chop 1 large garlic clove, (reserve 1/4 tsp of this garlic for the dressing) spread the rest of the garlic on the fish. Slice a lemon very thin, you need about 4 thin slices of lemon depending on the size of the filets. Place basil leaves on the fish, top with the lemon slices, wrap with the bacon. Crisp up the remaining bacon for garnish. Place the fish in a shallow foil pan and into the smoker. Smoke the fish about 25 - 35 minutes. When it comes out, it should be most of the way cooked. Turn the broiler to high, sprinkle a little more balsamic vinegar and a pinch of brown sugar on top. Broil a few minutes until the sugar bubbles and the bacon crisps up.

    While your Salmon is in the smoker, make the creamy basil dressing. In a small bowl add 10 - 15 basil leaves, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, celery salt and pepper, 1/4 tsp smashed & minced garlic, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tblsp balsamic vinegar, and a tiny pinch of brown sugar. Blend with a stick blender.

    Serve the Smoked Salmon on a bed of Herbed Rice with the Creamy Basil dressing and a side of Black Bean and Cucumber Relish with Crispy Bacon Crumbles. Yum!

    White Chocolate Strawberry Buttercream Cake

    I made cake. Does anybody want some cake? This came out amazingly delicious, and it was quick and easy because it’s doctored up cake mix with melted butter and white chocolate chips added to both the cake batter, and the buttercream frosting. Buy extra strawberries for the garnish, and white chocolate chips when you buy the cake mix. You’ll also need butter, powdered sugar and eggs.  

    The first thing I did was make the layer of strawberry jam for the middle. You can use store bought jam to make this even faster, but I had a lot of berries I wanted to use up. In a saucepan, combine 1 to 2 cups cut up strawberries, juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp fruit pectin, (optional, but I had it, and it does help it to jell up.) Simmer for about 20 minutes then put it in the fridge to cool.

    For the cake layers: I used a small box of vanilla cake mix from Trader Joe’s. Pre heat oven to 350. Let 2 sticks of butter come to room temp.

    Melt 1/2 cup white chocolate chips with 1/2 cup butter in the microwave for 20 seconds. (Add another few seconds if it didn’t melt all the way, but don’t over cook it.) Mix it around with a fork and let cool for a few minutes. Now add the cake mix, 2 eggs, and 1 cup cold milk. Mix just until smooth. Pour into prepared cake pans. I cut a circle of parchment on the bottom of each pan, and buttered the edges for easy removal.

    Bake the cakes for about 20 minutes (or more if you use a different brand of cake mix with a bigger box, the TJ’s box isn’t that big, so these cooked fast) until it springs back when you touch it and a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool. 

    For the White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: Melt 1/2 cup white chocolate chips in the microwave for 20 seconds, let cool. Add 1/2 cup room temperature butter. Beat with a mixer until creamy. Add 2-3 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 tblsp cold milk. Beat until super creamy and amazing. Lick the beaters, share one with your husband.

    To assemble, chop up a bunch of strawberries. I used the reddest ones on the outside, cut in half. Put one cake on a serving plate, add frosting, top with the fresh strawberry jam and chopped berries. Add the second cake. Frost the whole thing and decorate with strawberries and leftover white chocolate chips. Yum!

    Brown Sugar Bacon BLT with Avocado

    This is my favorite summertime sandwich. The heirloom tomatoes growing in our garden are sweet, tangy and so good! The recipe is easy, the difference with this is brown sugar bacon, which cooks in the oven and is much easier than standing over a splattering pan. It’s also completely delicious. I buy the nitrate free stuff, to pretend like it’s healthy.

    To make brown sugar bacon: Line a cookie sheet with foil, add the bacon to the cookie sheet with the fat side touching the pan, and the meatier side overlapping on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Turn the oven to 400. Add the pan to the un-preheated oven, this way it renders slowly. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, turn it around if it needs it, to cook evenly. Drain on paper towels with the sugar side up, or you get tiny bits of paper towel on your sweet bacon. I found this out by noshing on tiny bits of sugar coated, bacony paper towel one time. Please don’t tell anyone.

    Layer all the ingredients on toasted sourdough with mayo, avocado, heirloom tomato, lettuce, celery salt and pepper. Yum!

    Enjoy your Sunday Tumblrs!

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