Category Archives: Recipe

Low Fat Waldorf Salad

Check out my original recipe for a Healthy, Lowfat, and Possibly Vegan Waldorf Salad, posted on my friend Johnnie’s blog Taste Every Season.  Or check out even more great recipes by Johnnie and her friends on the Taste Every Season website.

Peanut and Sweet Potato Soup (Vegan Friendly!)

My recipe is closely based on this one originally Pinned by Half Baked Harvest

I stumbled on this recipe while looking for something warm and cozy to make on a cold Sunday. It might be because I’m obsessed with anything peanut, but this is absolutely one of the best soups I’ve ever had.


What you’ll need to buy:

Peanut oil (about 2 Tbs)

3 tablespoons of Red Curry Paste

2 large or 3 small sweet potatoes

A small onion

1 Jalapeno (if you like it spicy)

Some minced garlic

2 cans of coconut milk (only use 1.5 cans)

3 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 cup of natural peanut butter (you can use the regular stuff, but it’s not as peanutty)

Cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper

For garnish: fresh cilantro and/or chopped roasted peanuts

Optional: Chicken (for those of us who are non-vegans, chicken can easily be added to this soup)



1)    Wash the sweet potatoes. Cut them into 2 inch slices and place them on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees F. When the sweet potatoes are cooked through, remove the skins and mash them up using a fork in a bowl (it doesn’t have to be perfect!).

2)    Heat one tablespoon of the peanut oil in a soup pot over medium heat. CAUTION!!! Peanut oil has a lower flash point than olive oil, so it does not need to be nearly as hot.  Dice the onion very small and add it to the pot.  Let the onion cook for a few minutes and then add the garlic and jalapeno for another minute or so.

Blending up the Peanut Soup

3)    Time to add in the juices. Start with the Red Curry Paste (sooo yummy) then add the broth and coconut milk and stir.

4)    Next add in the mashed sweet potato. Transfer the whole mess into either a blender or food processor or you can use an immersion blender right in the pot.  Blend to your desired lumpiness. Transfer back into the pot (heat still at medium).

5)    Finally, add in the peanut butter and cayenne (I ended up using about 1 tsp. but just add slowly and taste until it’s good for you).  Toss in salt and pepper to taste (will take quite a bit of salt due to the sweetness of the coconut milk, but will vary based on the type of peanut butter used).

This is also the time that you could add some cooked chicken. I did this by boiling a few pieces of dark meat chicken and shredding it with a fork. Make sure you add the chicken after blending!

6)    Garnish and serve!

Peanut Soup Collage

Happy Pinning!


Ms. PacMan Birthday Cake

Truth be told there are a lot of “Totally Rad” cake options for an 80’s party.  But for the birthday boy that our 80’s party was created for there is only one option: Ms. PacMan.  Inspiration for this cake came from a few places.  Serenity Now posted a neat Mr. PacMan cake as well as Claudia’s Cakes Mr. PacMan Cake (which totally out does mine, but let’s not forget that I’m an amateur!)  The only problem was that both of these cakes were Mr. PacMan and this birthday boy is all about MS. PacMan.  I might not have noticed and would have made the wrong cake, but luckily our friend Jason pointed out that the cake concept ideas we had we all Mr. PacMan.

using a toothpick to stencil in the lines on the Mrs. PacMan board.Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff… how did I do it?  Well I bought a sheet cake from a grocery store and had them ice it in chocolate.

If you’ve never used black icing or tried to dye icing black I highly recommend NOT trying it.  Plus the chocolate tastes better! And it gets the point across.  I used a printout of the Ms. PacMan Level I board as a template to stencil the main design of the board.  By using a toothpick and some eyeball measurements I was able to get a really great stencil.  Next I used orange icing and piped along all of the stenciled Orange Lines of Pacman Board Cakelines to make the game board.  Orange is the color of the boundaries for Level I of Ms. PacMan.  It was very important to be accurate to please these party guest (i.e. we’re all nerds).  I also left space at the top to write “Happy Birthday Adam”.  Since the stenciling went so well I used the toothpick to stencil this in as well.  For an icing tip I used a medium sized regular round tip.  I bought orange icing and whipped it up in my stand mixer to make it easier to spread.

Everyone knows that both Mr. and Ms. PacMan LOVE EATING DOTS!!!  The obvious option for making dots would be to just pipe icing.

Dots materialPlaceing Dots - Full View



I however thought this seemed tedious and potentially aggravating  so I bought a few candy decorating items to help get the job done.  I used the small white dots as the normal PacMan food and the larger white dots as the special corner foods.  Then the interesting part… How do you place about 100 tiny white dots so that they line up and look nice?  Well I had an idea to try to use a plastic bristle paint brush to pick up and place these tiny white dots.

Placing Dots -Close Up It worked like magic!  I used a tiny bit of water to get the bristles wet and was able to quickly and very precisely place all of the dots!

I know what you’re thinking… “Is this cake/PacMan board really accurate down to the last dot?”  Although I was striving to get it 100%, there is one flaw.  But even the birthday boy couldn’t tell so I’ll let it go.  The finishing touches were to make the ghosts (I used colored icing and a

flat tip to pipe out a little rectangle and added eyes), the text at the top, and a border.  I think it’s important to mention that NO FONDANT WAS USED making this cake.  Honestly it tastes gross, it’s kind of cheating, and is hard to deal with.  You can do anything with icing it you put your mind to it!  Well that’s about it.  Let me know if you have questions and as always…

Adding ghosts to a Mrs. PacMan Birthday Cake

 Happy Pinning!

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa

Originally Pinned by Mom, What’s For Dinner?  Check out the original Pin and full recipe for Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa here!

So here’s the thing, if you’re looking to make the most delicious recipe ever to impress guests, this isn’t it.  However, if you’re looking for a quick and healthy meal to add to your cookbook this Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa definitely fits the bill.  It only takes about 4 ingredients (unless you count salt and pepper, but common let’s be serious).

Cooking quinoa can be tricky.  If you don’t cook it long enough the little beads crack in your teeth Partially Cooked Quinoawhich is unappetizing.  But if you cook it too long you get a mushy goo.  This recipe instructs the chef to more or less steam the quinoa in chicken broth with the broccoli.  I found that this is a great way to ensure the correct done-ness of the quinoa.

The quinoa on this form is about half-cooked.  You can tell by the way the grains look.  The centers are still opaque and the little curly things haven’t separated fully.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about you will after your first experience with quinoa.

Definitely an easy recipe to make and inexpensive.  I did have to add a little bit extra chicken broth but I think I also over measured the quinoa so that solves that mystery.  Next time I think I’ll add some chicken…

Happy Pinning!

Penne Rosa with Shrimp (Chicken)

Original Recipe by Back To Her Roots

See the whole recipe here

First things first, instead of shrimp I made this one with chicken. I was very excited to try this recipe because creamy tomato sauce is one of my favorite things but I hate the guilty feeling knowing that there’s so much fat in the heavy cream. This recipe solves that issue by substituting the cream with plain greek yogurt (genius). Aside from the meat substitution I followed this recipe to the T. It was easy, fast, and delicious.

I highly highly recommend giving this one a try.
Happy Pinning!

Rice Cooker Mushroom Rice

Originally Pinned By 80 Breakfasts
See Full Recipe Here

If you search “mushroom rice” in Pinterest you will find this recipe is by far the most pinned. Although it’s a popular re-pin I have doubts that many people have tried it. The author of this recipe lives in the Philippines. Because of this there are a few unusual ingredients listed; Chinese sausage and mirin (a Japanese ingredient that’s a mix between sweet rice wine and sake). In an attempt to make this recipe as a normal American could I chose to substitute Chinese sausage for chicken sausage and left out the mirin entirely.

I also substituted the dried mushrooms for fresh. If you were making this on a tropical island dried mushrooms would make sense, but I opted for fresh instead. Just saute the mushrooms in a pan with the sesame oil and for extra flavor add a cup of chicken broth.

Throw the uncooked rice, soy sauce mixture (soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and I used some pepper), sausage, mushrooms and about 2-3 cups of water into the rice cooker and set to the cook setting. Mine took about 40 minutes to cook and yielded about 3 full servings.

The best thing about this recipe was that it taught me that the rice cooker could be used for more than just rice. The only caution I will mention is to be light on the soy sauce cause this can get too salty very easily.

Happy Pinning!

Buckeye Bark

Originally Pinned by Live Sigma Kappa. See the original recipe and instructions here.

Oh boy what can I say about these. First off they are delicious but kind of expensive. I found that buying so much chocolate and peanut butter adds up quickly. They taste exactly like Buckeyes (in ball form) and take slightly less time. While you save time rolling the balls you gain time waiting for each layer to harden in the fridge or freezer.

I LOVE dark chocolate so I opted for a slightly darker variation by using 3 parts semi-sweet and one part unsweetened. This substitution is definitely not for everyone and I might even recommend cutting the semi-sweet with sweetened or milk chocolate if you are making this for a mixed crowd or for kids.

I highly recommend using a double boiler to melt the chocolate instead of using the microwave. There is zero risk of burning that expensive chocolate and it will temper better during cooling. It also makes time management easier because you can keep the chocolate on the double boiler on low for a long time without ruining it in any way.

I use a small pot with a few inches of water and a metal bowl for my homemade double boiler.

I made the mistake of using a smaller cookie sheet to spread this mess onto. For some reason I doubted that I had enough for the large cookie sheet, but after finishing the top layer I realized that the small cookie sheet resulted is super thick bars, which are not only a challenge to cut they aren’t the easiest to eat.

BAKER TIP! If you don’t have one of these (see thingy below), please get one. It makes measuring out any liquid or solid in any unit imaginable so easy! I don’t know what they’re called but I do know that they’re awesome.

Mix up the peanut butter center and spread over top.

Let it cool and top with the second layer of chocolate and you’re almost done.

HUGE SUGGESTION: Before placing this in the freezer to harden, use a knife to score or cut through at least the top two layers. This is way easier than trying to cut it when it’s hard and will make your finished product much more visually appealing. (Note: I figured this out too late so mine weren’t as pretty as they could be if you use this suggestion)

I let mine sit over night in the refrigerator. Just break apart and serve!

Happy Pinning!

Roasted Parmesan Sweet Potatoes

Originally Pinned By Teenie Cakes

See full recipe here

There’s not much to say about this one (in a good way). It was easy to make, the recipe was spot on, and it tasted great!

I used two sweet potatoes and it made 3-4 servings.

The only change I made was mixing all of the ingredients on the pan instead of in a bowl and then transferring. This eliminated one dish to clean. Overall I was very impressed with this recipe and will definitely make it again!

Before the oven:

After the oven:

Happy Pinning!

Amie’s Triple Coconut Cake

Originally Pinned By Salad in a Jar. See the original recipe here.

I don’t know who Amie is, but I think her coconut coconut coconut cake is great! Especially after the few minor tweaks that I found really helped (and a few that didn’t work so well).

The original recipe makes this cake in a cake pan. I thought it would be fun to try cupcakes. Here’s the problem: in the recipe it instructs to poke holes in the finished cake and pour the creme of coconut over top. Well with cupcake wrappers when you pour the creme of coconut over most of it drips to the outside of the wrapper. This both defeats the purpose of adding the creme (since it won’t absorb through the wrapper) and it gets the wrapper all sticky (hence voiding the purpose of using a wrapper int he first place).

I think cupcake sizes would still work fine, but DO NOT use the wrappers.

A change that did work was switching from using “whipped topping” a.k.a. hydrogenated oil to fresh homemade whipped cream. It’s very easy to make if you have a stand mixer. Just add in the whipping creme and gradually add sugar while beating on medium/medium-high for about 4-5 minutes.

Top each cupcake with a little shredded coconut and voila!

Happy Pinning!

Mustard Crusted Pork Chop

Originally from

See Original Recipe

Although it would probably come out tasting the same I made quite a few modifications to this recipe. The most notable was a switch from using the oven to a panini grill. I found the panini grill to work amazingly and the pork chops only took about 5 minutes to cook (with lid closed) as opposed to 20+ minutes in the oven. Plus it’s a lot more energy-efficient.

To the marinade I also added some Worcestershire sauce, fresh parsley and a jalapeno. The marinade seemed to think and I think adding the Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce would work too) really helped the flavor. I only marinated for about 45 minutes and the pork chops were very juicy and flavorful.

Definitely an easy main course that can be made with whatever ingredients you can find in your kitchen. You could easily substitute for a tenderloin or even chicken.

Happy Pinning!