Pancakes, Pancakes, Pancakes, and More Pancakes!

I can easily get carried away. I sometimes don’t know how to do things in moderation. I feel like I’m at an obsessive’s anonymous meeting. My name is Christine and I don’t know when enough is enough.

So, with that said and out in the open, I can get on with this post. In the past month I’ve been obsessed with pancakes. And just like when I was obsessed with BLT’S, I have to try them everywhere and make them every which way I know how. I present to you: the banana nut pancake, the choc chip pancake, the sour cream pancake, and the pancake topped with fresh strawberry jam, with a recipe link and rated based on its yummy-ness:

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Fettuccine Alfredo

It’s been 4 years since I lived it Italy and first became aware of my love of cooking. I mean, I’d always known I had the capacity to cook, but never knew I could enjoy myself doing it and feel so accomplished after making every meal. I still remember the first meal I made in Italy that I was really proud of. It was Valentines Day, and after a long day of classes, I just wanted to treat myself. On the way home I picked up a big block of Parmigiano Reggiano, a large loaf of Italian bread, and a bottle of Chianti. I had printed out a simple recipe for fettuccine alfredo, but was nervous to make, what had been for such a long time, one of my favorite meals.

My aunt Liz, who I praise endlessly on this site, would make certain foods only a few times a year. She knew we loved it and knew we relished the few times she would make that one special dish: like her amazing tiramisu, her delicious cheesecake, her perfect lasagna, or my personal favorite, her decadent fettuccine alfredo. Every time I went to visit I always asked the same question: “Did you make fettuccine alfredo?” and on those rare occasions when she said yes I was overjoyed!

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Sausage Rotini Stuffed Butternut Squash

I’ve been in a bit a bit of a food rut lately. I don’t know if it’s the change of season or the short days, but I’ve been reaching for the takeout menu more often than I’d like to admit. I’ve been trying to break out of the funk (baby steps…) and it started with this recipe (and ended with the most amazing apple crisp!!! But I’ll save that for another day…).

This recipe was destined to happen. Here’s why:

1. I love pasta tosses. If I had done this blog a year ago, It would have been called 1001 pasta tosses because it was almost all I cooked. It was all I liked to do. Mixin’ and matchin’ pastas, sauces, and etceteras- it was ridiculous. After the winter passed and I started getting over my pasta toss obsession I realized I really needed to expand my horizons. (That’s when I got obsessed with ridiculously packed salads… But that’s another story) And I did, but it’s the winter again… And I haven’t made a pasta toss in a while. It was only a matter of time…

2. Along with my pasta toss obsession last winter I was also obsessed with squash. All of them. I came home with at least 1 squash a week… Sometimes more. And I haven’t had one since last winter…

3. Finally, I had some leftover sausage from my biscuits and gravy recipe- (amazing!!!) and had to do something with it- I didn’t want it to go to waste.

So, you do the math. Squash + pasta toss + sausage = … Destiny.

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Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy

This is not a “light” breakfast. This is the absolute opposite of a “light” breakfast. This meal is completely filling, ridiculously decadent, and oh-so-bad for you.

It started innocently enough. After Thanksgiving, Maria insisted I take back the remaining carton of Buttermilk. I did not protest. But on the way home, I thought, what am I going to make with these? Steve gave me a few ideas: “buttermilk pancakes? buttermilk dredged chicken or onion rings? buttermilk biscuits?”. And that got me thinking. Biscuits might be a great idea- but what to have them with? Eggs and Bacon for breakfast? No- these biscuits needed something more special- something different. And I knew just the thing!

The first time I had these was when I went to visit my family in Charlotte. They boasted on our way to breakfast at Bob Evans- “Chris, you’re going to love these.” And They were right. I doubted them at first. The gravy looked so thick. And it was white. And you put it on the biscuits? No butter? No jam? But I gave it a try anyway. And wow. Just wow. I felt like I was in a country cabin, surrounded by woods and wildlife, sitting next to a roaring fire in my footie jammies, enjoying the most comforting breakfast ever. I was feeling very,very country.

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I’m a Winner!!

What am I doing on here? Why am I writing a blog post? What’s wrong with me? Didn’t I get enough last month??

No! And, as a treat for being so good last month, I won a prize! You heard me- I won a prize for participating in NABloPoMo. Aren’t I lucky?

I won a handmade semi-precious stone earrings and necklace from Mim at Mim’s Muddle. I have the choice of these awesome prizes:

A) Moukaite jasper necklace with gold-plated beads, bead caps and toggle clasp. Length 49.5cm. With matching earrings.
Moukaite jasper necklaceMoukaite jasper earrings
Click on the photos for bigger images.

B) Snowflake obsidian and riverstone necklace with silver plated bead caps and sterling silver toggle clasp. Length ~49cm. With matching earrings.
Snowflake obsidian and riverstone necklaceSnowflake obsidian and riverstone earrings
Click on the photos for bigger images.

C) Sodalite and riverstone necklace with pewter beads and sterling silver toggle clasp. Length 52 cm. With matching earrings.
Sodalite and riverstone necklaceSodalite and riverstone earrings

So I thought about it all night and my final choice is: (A) The Moukaite jasper necklace with gold-plated beads, bead caps, and toggle clasp, with matching earrings. Mim made these from scratch which makes them ultra special and absolutely unique. Thanks for being so generous Mim!

30 Posts in 30 Days

I did it! 30 Posts in 30 days!

And don’t worry- even though I won’t be posting every day (because that was crazy!!!), this didn’t turn me off from blogging in general.

Blogging has really become a part of my life. I can’t wait to share more recipes and stories here as the days go on.

Stuffed Mushroom Caps

I built this dish around 1 ingredient- but it’s the least obvious ingredient in the dish. It wasn’t the mushrooms, even though they had been in my fridge for a week and would have stayed there longer had I not thought to make this. It wasn’t the parmesan, even though it was the last of it and the perfect way to finish up what I had left. It wasn’t even the scallions- those were thrown in because I was out of shallots. No, this entire dish was built around 1 thing: Parsley.

I’ve become insanely obsessed with parsley recently – constantly trying to throw it into any dish I can. Not because it makes the dish prettier or because I like to use fresh herbs (both of which are true), I just think it has a bad reputation and has so many awesome uses. I put it in my eggs, in my soups and in my pasta dishes- the possibilities are endless people. I remember being a kid (ok- I was like 19) and picking parsley out of my dishes- being absolutely annoyed that the chef would even add it to the dish on the side. Those days are long gone. And don’t get me wrong- the mushroom is the star in this dish, but the parsley plays a strong supporting role.

This is a quick snack, appetizer, or side dish. Instead of the usual, super heavy and dry stuffed mushrooms, this recipe is light and refreshing. The lemon juice gives it a real zip and the parsley gives it a great herby flavor.


Stuffed Mushroom Caps

(for about 8-10 small mushroom caps)

1 small package of small mushrooms (should include 10-12 mushrooms)
3 garlic cloves- minced
2 tbsp onions – finely chopped
2 tbsp scallions – chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp italian breadcrumbs
1 tbsp – freshly grated parmesan, more for topping
The juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper – to taste
About a 1/4 cup of parsely- or as much or little as you like

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400. Brush dirt off of the mushroom caps and carefully remove stems, making sure not to break the mushrooms. Heat 2 pans, 1 small and 1 medium, over medium heat with a tbsp of olive oil in each. Add the mushrooms to the first pan and allow to saute.

2. In the other pan, add the garlic, scallions, and onions and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and parsley and cook for another minute. Add the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and parmesan and mix well. Turn off the heat and set aside.

3. The mushrooms should be cooked at this point. Remove them from the pan and add them to a baking dish. Generously spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps and cover with a sprinkle of parmesan. Bake uncovered for about 10 minutes.

4. Remove from baking pan with spoon and serve immediately.

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