big day. little clogs.

A little bit ago I made a big purchase. I got Danskos. Standing for hours in the kitchen is no good on one's back and well, I like to stand for hours in the kitchen. Now that I've been going to Pilates more often I'm even more conscious of my posture and real excited for the new digs. It felt like a really big day in my culinary life when I bought them. And I mean- they could be worn with a dress or skirt- when I'm doing a cooking class, or cooking. A really great investment I must say and something that makes me feel like I'm taking baby steps in the right direction like others who have followed their dreams with these here shoes. Oh little clogs, where will you take me?

I wanted to also highlight this apron Annemarie so graciously gifted me with awhile ago (from etsy of course). I told her how roosters are in kitchen design because they're supposed to be good luck. With the Good Spoon, she wanted to encourage me and encourage me she did. I'm not sure she's seen me in it, so I had to snap a pic when I wore it the other day. Thanks, AP!

montana: guns & beer

So I'm back in Montana this week. We got to enjoy some more of Missoula and saw Ben Folds play there which was really exciting. His tunes took me back to high school. It was fun to watch and listen to him and sing along. Thanks Benny. Missoula is a cute place. Funny enough two people from my hometown, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, now live there which is pretty random. After walking around a bit, I can see why. We went to Kettle House and enjoyed a pumpkin ale, and then we walked over to the local bread store to get a loaf for the week.

Back in Great Falls highlights would probably be contained in the all star day we had yesterday. Eric and Benjamin suggested we go shooting. I have never held a gun for more than 2 minutes so likewise, shooting it, even the thought, gave me a nervous rush. We went out to who knows where and I did in fact pull the trigger and shoot a gun. I was pretty glad that after the first couple shots I was less giggly and nervous, and could at least know how to load it and shoot. Next time we can work on skill. Today, I have a bit of a bruise on my arm. Oh well. It was worth it.

After shooting we headed back to grill steaks and brew beer. Being someone who enjoys good brews, it was fun to see what goes into the making of a beer. I must say, it's pretty worth it to make your own beer. Once you have the kit, the ingredients aren't much and it just takes a bit of time. We started a bit later and were up too late waiting for the brew to get down to 70 degrees so we could pitch the yeast. I'm not sure we waited long enough because it doesn't seem to be fermenting yet. Apparently, we can get more yeast and pitch it again. The smell in the house was like that of a brewery and the boys loved the hops, grains, and malty aroma. What a day.

Today, I'm enjoying the scenery and am going to get myself out for a walk shortly to move around a bit. The barn and canoe and horses are all right here in his backyard. I'm a little bit in love with the different color pails in the barn. Would make for an awesome picture or painting I think. Well, a couple more days here then back to life in SB!

pumpkin cookies

Tonight, tomorrow, this weekend. Sometime soon you need to make these. Of course I'm biased, but then again, I'll tell you if a recipe isn't the best, needs more spice, etc. Well, this recipe has been a good base. I didn't use raisins or nuts like it originally said I could, and I added more spice and modified that for you in the recipe below. The icing is great (can you go wrong with butter and sugar?) and these are the type of cake-like pumpkin cookies you and your friends have been wanting all season. (All 3 weeks of the season...)


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cooked, pureed pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached allpurpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir into butter mixture until well blended. Drop by teaspoonful onto parchment covered baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake about 15 minutes, or until golden. Cool.

Icing: Cream confectioners' sugar and butter. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.

I think the best compliment I received on these was by two people who said, "these taste like the pumpkin scones at Starbucks!" Now, I'm not one for their baked goods usually, but the pumpkin scone is pretty wonderful. Thanks friends.

sweet and sour chicken with couscous

Perhaps this will be your dinner tonight? This is yet another one pot-ish wonder. I love recipes like this because they're pretty easy and extremely satisfying. This recipe also happen to be healthy and packs in some flavors you, and guests, are most likely to love. The sweetness and kick is subtle, but not forgotten. It's a great dish that will get you out of a slump of perhaps going back to the same recipes again and again.

Ingredients & Recipe thanks to Martha

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 8 jarred peperoncini, drained
  • 1/2 cup couscous or orzo


  1. Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and cook until soft and translucent, 10 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until soft, 2 minutes. Add chicken, orange juice, vinegar, currants if you have them (I couldn't find them!), sugar, and peperoncini. Bring to a simmer; cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add couscous, and cook until al dente. Drain. Serve chicken with sauce over couscous.
The recipe calls for skinless bone in chicken. Good luck finding that. I got a package of skinless breasts and was able to have 4 servings from this dish. I couldn't find currants at my stores, but raisins would work as well. Also, you could use Israeli couscous or orzo to make it a bit prettier and more presentable for guests if you'd like. For me and my friend, this dish was just fine.

cincinnati turkey chili

When my mom was in town we went through a lot of magazines and decided to make this Cincinnati Chili and also the corn muffins that were paired with it in the magazine. The chili was a hit. I like chili's where you add a little chocolate in at the end. If you haven't tried this out, you should. It gives it a bit of a mole sweeter sense, without it being too sweet of course. I just used some chocolate chips and it works out quite well. I've frozen some of this which I also like when it comes to chili. If you're not making it for a crowd, chances are you don't want to eat heavier chili for the next 5 days. Freeze a couple cups and there ya go- meals when you want them.

So- the thing with Cincinnati Chili is you eat it over pasta. Well, it was fine but I don't think you need it. I like my chili just how it is, with cheese in there. That said, it's worth trying this out and knowing it's a variation you can make!


  • 4 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 8 ounces lean ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 cups prechopped onion, divided
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese


1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add turkey; cook 3 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add 1 cup onion, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in chili powder and next 5 ingredients (through allspice); cook 1 minute. Add broth, beans, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate and salt. Serve chili over spaghetti; top with remaining 1/2 cup onion and cheese.

i'm cooking.

Probably over a year ago audrey and I got overly excited about jamie oliver's cheeky monkey mugs. We would look online and calculate how much money it would be to get a gem shipped from the uk after we figured in the conversation rate and cost of shipping. It would cost a lot of money to get a mug over to us. Well, I happen to walk into a big chain bookstore the other day which I try to avoid just so I can spend time in Chaucers, and right in front of my face on sale with 30% off were jamie's cheeky mugs. I picked up 3- kept one for myself and gifted the others. I kept for myself... "I'm cooking. You're washing up." If you know me, you know I love to cook, and also love help cleaning up- or when people do it all together.

honey chili butternut squash bisque

I discovered this recipe while flipping through the cookbook "Small Parties" so appropriately given to me by my last roommate Hilary. Our place was tiny and well, all we could have was "small" parties. I made this soup and Danielle said it was her favorite creation from the garden. Since there have been many, I think that's proof enough you should try this.

2 butternut squash
4 tb. butter
1 large leek
2-3 carrots
6 cups chicken broth (or water)
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup honey
kosher salt

Cut the butternut squash into 1 inch cubes. In a dutch oven melt the butter, saute the leek and carrots for 3 minutes. Add the squash, broth, ginger, chili powder, honey, and salt. Simmer for 30 minutes until squash is tender. Use your handy dandy immersion blender and get it nice and mixed up. Delicious.

buttermilk pancakes

the weather, and the economy sure have people staying in more these days. it seems as though all the 'rage' on foodie sites and magazines is telling home cooks what they can make at home- and how much less expensive that is than eating out. well, consider me a member of that train and consider this a recipe for buttermilk pancakes you should make this weekend, instead of going out and dropping $15 on breakfast.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons golden brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Mix the above until combined and sizzle up your griddle. If you really want to feel like you're out, add some butter to the pan. You'll notice the difference. Let them start bubbling then flip. Some real maple syrup and these are a winner.

curried vegetable soup

I really enjoy a good curry. I used to love a good curry then I went to Sri Lanka and ate curry for a month straight and my love waned a bit. I'm still a fan of the flavours though, and I'd say it's something I don't eat often enough. I was intrigued by a curried veg soup recipe I saw in Better Homes and Gardens. My mom's Better Homes and Gardens. I made some variations to the recipe and added more veg. I could of and should of added more spice. Live and learn.


  • 1 head cauliflower- cut up into florets
  • 1 14-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 14-oz. can vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 cups frozen baby peas-vegetable blend
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 pasilla pepper
  • 2 celery stalks


1. Heat broiler. In Dutch oven heat some olive oil then cook the leek, carrot, celery until translucent. about 10 min at lower heat. combine cauliflower, coconut milk, broth, and curry powder. Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

2. Once the soup had been cooking a bit, I took my immersion blender and got the cauliflower a bit blended. I didn't want the whole soup to blend, but I did want some texture to come from the florets. Once it was at the consistency I liked, I added frozen peas and got it all hot again. Make sure you season the soup and taste it as you're cooking to make sure it's just right.

an ode

On this wonderful rainy day in santa barbara, it seems appropriate that there be an ode to the cosmos. They have served me well and I fear the rain has been a bit much for them and they may be weighed down and not recover. We'll see tomorrow should the rain let up. It's okay though. I spent a lovely rainy day and night making iced pumpkin cookies and sweet and sour chicken. Candles. Rainy day tunes. Soaking it all in if you will. To bring a little sunshine into your life- check out this creation the Lord decided to have bloom in my backyard. The bushes got so tall they peaked through the window for our kitchen so it's been fun to look out and see their blooms.

arugula pesto

I got a couple pods of arugula seed and what do ya know? It grew. And so, I've had wild arugula in my garden and with the cooler weather coming, I decided it was time to use a lot of it and make some arugula pesto. I love arugula for it's bite and mustard-like taste. It's a great addition to many dishes and this pesto is a good one.

thanks, cooking light.

  • 1 tablespoon walnuts (or pine nuts)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 cups loosely packed arugula
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese

1. Cook pasta- as much as you want- according to directions. Drain the pasta but keep a little bit of the water. Pasta water is excellent to put back into the pasta, just a little bit, if you need to make it more saucy. If you don't use all the pesto- freeze it in ice cube trays for perfect personalized pasta sauce whenever you want it!

2. Place 1 tablespoon nuts and garlic in a food processor; process until minced. Add arugula and the next 5 ingredients (through black pepper), and process until well combined.

3. Add arugula mixture and reserved cooking liquid to serving bowl; toss well to coat. Serve with cheese.

corn soup with fresh tomatoes

Corn is still around. Maybe it's dried and you're picking it off the cob to have popcorn like some people I know, or maybe you still want to buy it and boil it or throw it on the grill. Hold on to summer. It's cheaper now maybe, and surely you're going to miss it when it's really out of season. Well, why not warm up with some soup. This soup, like many others you've "seen" me make is rather simple. The tomatoes and basil on top really make this, so be sure to add them.

Recipe- thanks Martha.


Makes 8 cups; Serves 12

  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, diced (2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 cups fresh corn kernels (from 8 large or 10 to 12 medium ears corn)
  • 4 to 5 cups water
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice (3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  1. Melt butter in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onions, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in corn and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
  2. Use your immersion blender to blend this to your liking. Thin with up to 1 cup water if desired. Reheat soup before serving. Toss together tomatoes, basil, and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish soup with tomato mixture, and drizzle with oil.

mystery melon

Sorry this post has something to do with summer, but think of the melon as orange and maybe your mind will come back to all things fall. Regardless, this summer I planted, "melon" and when anyone asked me what kind, and even as it was growing, I had no idea what it was. Mystery melon. Well, the other day I had at it and it was good. Really good. I'm going to go with cantaloup. I really don't like cantalope. It's one of the only fruits I don't really like and pick around in a fruit salad. But, melon from my garden ripened in the Santa Barbara sun? Oh, it was good. Very good.

kale chips

Really? Yes. This post maybe isn't that exciting to some of you. It may seem as though I've lived in California too long and now I'm making chips out of greens. True. I got some kale and had heard people at the market saying, "Oh I just love making kale chips." Now, I'm all about healthy eating, but the midwest in me, and the love of really good food and lacking a fear of butter, I was just chuckling. You don't really love kale chips. You can't. C'mon. SO. I'm probably not convincing you to make these, but here's my thing. Kale packs in a ton of nutrients. Think about eating this salty snack in it's more pure form than taking vitamins that maybe aren't processed in your body as well.

I digress. Jacques Pepin says this snack is "completely addictive" so maybe that'll get you excited. Take a head of kale and remove it from the rib. Tear it into pieces, sprinkle with 1 T olive oil and a little salt. Spread on wire wrack on a cookie sheet and bake at 250 for 20-25 minutes- removing when crisp but still green. I had this to accompany soup. Danielle and I couldn't figure out how we felt about it, but then again we did consume it all so let that be your judge. Lick your lips, and enjoy.

chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

hello comfort food season. It's a good time to make something people are going to want to get cozy with, along with their blanket and remote control to flip the channels this fall. My friend Jess made these at a dinner a couple weeks ago and I loved them so much I had to try them out for myself. I used crunchy peanut butter for the frosting and ended up making them for a friend to welcome her new roommate with. I'd say they were a winner. The cake is really wonderful and moist, and the frosting- well you really can't go wrong here. Make these and enjoy!

- thanks to Ina Garten

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended.
Divide the batter among the cupcake pans. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.