Sparkling Strawberries

A friend of mine had a few friends over recently.  Several of us haven’t seen each other since before Early December so there was much need to celebrate and catch up!  Since there were New Years resolutions and health conscious goals, I tried to find something to bring that was celebratory without being super rich like chocolate cake.  I found a recipe for Champagne Strawberries and adapted it a little.

This is an easy recipe but it’s not quick.  Allow at least a day to prepare.  I started with a basket of strawberries, roughly two dozen.  I washed them, dried them and put them into jars.



Here’s the hardest part…I opened a bottle of sparkling wine and poured it over each jar of strawberries to fully cover them.  Try not to drink any until you’ve covered all of your strawberries.  (I ended up using the whole bottle for my three jars.)



I put them in the refrigerator and soaked them for about 24 hours.


The next day, I took the strawberries out of the jar and patted them dry.  I made a simple glaze.  I didn’t love it but it was ok for this time.  I just did powdered sugar, couple of teaspoons of milk and some vanilla extract. The recipe called for frosting in a can which I’m not a fan of.  I made the glaze just to drizzle over the berries.  It didn’t look as pretty as the frosting pics but it tasted good.

I tried one of the strawberries immediately from the jar and determined that if you can serve these immediately they would be best cause they retain some of the fizziness so it’s a fun bite.  If you can’t, they still are tasty.

I drizzled the glaze over the berries and sprinkled with rainbow sprinkles.  Rainbow sprinkles cover a mulitude of imperfections such as the berries not being completely in season!  Since the berries were soaked in booze and covered in glaze, it didn’t matter that they weren’t the sweetest on their own.  Place each berry on a cupcake wrapper and ta-da!  Super easy and looks sort of fancy.

has sugar and sparkling wine so it’s not really in the healthy category, but I’ll say it’s a win cause it’s way healthier than something else I could have made.

Find yourself a reason to celebrate and make these boozy berries sometime soon.



Chicken Soup, It’s What the Doctor Ordered!

As you know, the family was sick through Christmas.  I managed to catch a minor cold this week, so chicken soup is on the menu.  It’s a simple and basic recipe that my mom taught me.  Hopefully you won’t get sick, but hopefully you’ll still try the soup to warm your bones on these chilly nights.

Start by bringing a package of chicken breasts, one onion and about three medium celery stalks to a boil in a large pot.  For this, I buy the whole chicken breasts with skin and bones.  You remove it later but it makes for a better chicken broth.  Cover the celery, chicken and onion with enough water to be about 2 inches above the chicken.  Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the chicken cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.  If you can pull the chicken easily apart and it’s not pink inside, good job!


Next, remove the chicken and vegetables from the broth.  Let the chicken cool down.


You can discard of the celery and onion.  I usually like to strain the broth after it cools a bit.  You can strain it through a kitchen towel to a bowl then put it back in your pot to cook the soup.


Cut up about three to four carrots and celery stalks.  For this, you’ll want to de-string your celery so you won’t get inedible celery strings in your soup.



You can add more or less vegetables.  Add them to the strained chicken broth.

After after the chicken has cooled enough for you to handle, shred it into bite size pieces.  Obviously remove the skin and the bone.


For this soup, I like to make a large pot.  I cook an egg noodle separately and add to each serving day because otherwise the noodles will get gummy and make the soup murky and thicker.  I prefer also adding salt to it to taste rather than putting it in when cooking.


As I usually make this when I’m under the weather, it makes sense to me to not season it heavily cause taste buds most likely want something simple.  It seems to work for me and makes me feel better, however I’m sure this can be a great simple base to add more vegetables and any savory seasoning that you like to change it up.


Hope y’all stay well through 2015!  Let’s all plan to have a healthy and happy New Year!

Let’s Roll!

My apologies for a lapse in the cooking and blog writing.  My family is a bit under the weather this holiday season.  I’m recovering from surgery.  I had a little cancer that had to be removed, so my doctor successfully removed my thyroid and some lymph nodes.  They say that I won’t even miss them!  It turned out to be a couple of types of cancer with one rare type called medullary.  My family and friends have been calling me an overachiever!  I’ll be just fine but have some healing to do, so I’ve been taking it easy.  Not an easy thing for me to do, but necessary.

My uncle had knee surgery, my aunt is not feeling well, my parents decided to get a bad cold…so needless to say we’re all not celebrating as usual this year.   We will all get together in the new year and have a redo on Christmas.  For now, we’re all going to focus on healing.

I learned last night that part of the healing process should include making cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve with my good friend Debi!  I unexpectedly decided to bring her lunch that afternoon and then stayed to help her make four types of cookies and cinnamon rolls.  She did most of it, but it was a great time hanging out as we listened to holiday tunes and chatted about how funny I was on drugs from the surgery.

Cinnamon rolls for her family is a holiday tradition.  The recipe comes from their church cookbook.

Disneyland Cinnamon Rolls (from Sarah Judkins)

1/2 cup warm water + 2 Tbsp. yeast (mix and set aside)


1 (One) 3 oz. package of instant vanilla pudding mix

2 (Two) cups milk (microwaved to take the chill off)

2 (Two) tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 (Two) eggs, slightly beaten

1 (One) tsp. salt

8 (Eight) cups flour

In a large bowl, mix the pudding with the milk.  (This pudding is going to be thicker than normal as we are not making it to the package specifications on the box)  Add butter, eggs and salt.  Mix well.  Add the yeast mixture.  Mix well.


Gradually add flour and knead until smooth.  image


Put in a large greased bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size.  Handy tip:  warm a wet kitchen towel in the microwave.  Cover the bowl with the towel and set in the microwave.  Do not turn your microwave on!


Punch down, cover and let rise until double in size for a second time.  The recipe calls to do this twice but we did this about four times and Debi says she usually does it more.  It can take 8 to 10 hours.  We did a faster version in about 5 hours last night.



Roll dough on a very large floured surface to a long rectangular shape, approximately 34″x21″.  We split the dough in half to do this.  It would have rolled out to the entire surface of the table if we didn’t split it!


Spread:  the recipe suggests the following

1(One) cup butter, melted

2 (Two) cups brown sugar

2 (Two) tbsp cinnamon

Brush on melted butter.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over top.

We did ours with a minor modification.  We mixed the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon to make a spreadable paste.



Roll into a jelly roll.  Measure every two inches and cut.  Handy tip:  use clean dental floss to slice!





Place in a greased pan, gently pack them so they stay together, and allow to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.  We placed our pans on top of the stove cause the oven was warm from baking cookies already.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Frost while still warm.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (One) 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 (One) tsp vanilla

3 (Three) cups powdered sugar

2 (Two) tsps milk

Mix well in a bowl until creamy and smooth.


Hope you enjoy your holiday with family, friends and warm cinnamon rolls!


Nice to Meat Ya!

We’re not Italian and can’t even pretend to be.  This meat sauce hails from a recipe from my grandma’s cookbook that was labeled “Hungarian goulash”?  Last I checked, we’re not Hungarian and this recipe doesn’t seem very Hungarian either?  In any case, it’s the meat sauce that I grew up with.

My mom has adapted that Hungarian goulash recipe over the years to this sort of Italian version and a casserole dish that’s really easy to make too.  We didn’t typically eat casseroles but this one was the only one that we would eat.  I’ll share that casserole later, but this is the meat base that is incorporated.

This sauce is untraditional but works well on rice or noodles so it fits our family.  We know this because my dad has to have rice with just about everything, even spaghetti!  I once asked him why he was having rice as a midnight snack and he said it was because he didn’t get his rice with the meal.  We knew after that to include rice with every meal without question even if it was some sort of casserole or spaghetti.  Dad eats his sauce with rice.  We eat it with noodles (however now, we all try a brown rice pasta or quinoa noodle).  It also works fine over vegetables like spaghetti squash or any variety if you like.


2 lbs ground beef


about 3 medium onions, finely chopped


1 whole garlic, which was about 8 to 10 pressed garlic cloves


2 large cans of crushed tomatoes, one can of water


1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce, half can of water


3 handfuls of Italian seasoning


This yields a big pot of sauce, so you can cut the ingredients in half if you don’t want to make as much.

Brown the ground beef and drain any extra fat.  I browned a package at a time.  We prefer the meat to be fine and not chunky pieces.  Add the garlic and onion and mix thoroughly.  Mix in the cans of crushed tomatoes.  To rinse the cans, we used half of a can of water to each in order to get all of the can incorporated.  Add the tomato sauce and rinse can with the half can of water into the meat sauce as well.  Measure about 2 handfuls of Italian seasoning and sprinkle in.  (I know a handful is not a scientific measurement so it’s probably about 1/4 cup?)

Mom and I first used the wok to cook this sauce and realized that was a funny choice.  I think we are used to the wok and worked great for browning the meat but we transferred everything to a sauce pot when our ingredients were dangerously approaching the rim!  I also was cooking in a white blouse with no apron!  I deemed myself very brave (or stupid?)   You can be the judge, but there was no bleach needed in writing this blog…just sayin’.


We let this sauce come to a boil, then simmer for hours.  If it starts to dry out, add water.  You can add more Italian seasoning if you taste it and want more.  You can add a very little bit of sugar to counteract the acidity of all of the onion too.  It’s your choice to add salt and pepper to taste.  We usually let the eater add their own.


This sauce tends to be better the second day as well.  It may not be to everyone’s liking, but it’s really just a bunch of meat and tomatoes so you can’t go too wrong?!


Arrivederci…until next time!

Heat Wave Cooking

I don’t mean that I have some fancy schmancy “Heat Wave” or confectioner’s oven or anything.  I am referring to the unbearable heat that Southern California has been experiencing this Summer and into now October!  We’ve had record highs and unusual humid days like the South.  I can’t begin to know for sure how prayers work, but my affinity for the South might have been heard a bit too loudly?!

So in the middle of this heat, I was asked to co-host a baby shower for a dear friend. Three others and myself split up duties of décor, food, games, etc. We managed to plan the entire party via text, which was a first for all of us. Some days, you came back to your phone with 20 messages, but you got the gist of the conversation and knew it was all coming together.  I can’t take credit for anything but the crust-less quiches and having talented friends!  Thanks to my co-hosts Amy, Nancy and Sharon!

image image image

After some discussion, we decided on brunch menu items and I offered to make crust-less quiches. I asked my pal, Debi to help me. She often is the Ethel to my Lucy antics. (Although she has red hair, so we should really think of her as the Lucy!)

On a 100 degree night in Pasadena, we sweat and cooked up the party food in my small bungalow with a window air conditioning unit in the living room. I should add that Debi doesn’t even like eggs. I am really lucky to have friends like Debi in my life. She’s proven it on more than one occasion!


I decided to make four different quiche-ish dishes. 1. Carmelized onions, prosciutto, gruyere cheese 2. Veggies 3. Spinach, tomatoes, and 4. Meat lovers

Each crust-less quiche is made essentially the same, we used about 8 to 12 eggs depending on the size of the dish that we were baking it in. We whipped eggs with some milk to lighten the eggs and to make sure they were fluffy and well mixed.

IMG_2210We prepped the ingredients for each dish first by roasting the veggies, cooking the sausages and bacon. Nothing like frying up some bacon when your kitchen feels like 400 degrees.


Oven was set at about 375 degrees. To be honest, we probably didn’t even need to put the food in the oven. It probably would have cooked just fine in the kitchen air.


You can layer any ingredient of your liking in these quiches. I prefer to roast or cook the ingredients first. The flavor tends to come out more and not just get lost in the eggs plus it’s a good idea to make sure any meat is fully cooked before you bake the quiche.  We also prepped and chopped bite size ingredient pieces so that lady party goers wouldn’t have a long piece of spinach to chew or chomp on a giant piece of eggplant.


They bake about 15 to 20 mins depending on the size and the amount of layered ingredients. I always stick a fork or a skewer in the middle to make sure they come out clean.  Notice my special cooling racks…we had chairs and stools all over the place to hold dishes cause I don’t have adequate counter space in my 1920’s bungalow kitchen.


We baked these the night before the party and they definitely would have been better fresh right out of the oven and not re-heated. Nobody seemed to complain though, so let’s just call this a win especially for having not lost a friend in the process or spontaneously combusting from our own body heat.


Now!  Somebody else have a baby, get married or celebrate something special!  I’ve cooled off and I’m ready to get planning and cooking!


It’s a Wrap! Lettuce Wrap, that is.

Once again, I take you back with me to a Palm Springs trip.  This particular recipe was used for our Palm Springs Memorial Day 2015.  There were about 8 of us on this trip.  It was a great house with a round pool and a round living room, very Palm Springs.  It seemed like miles to get from one end of the house to the other.  I’d say it was a successful house for the group but we never stay in the same house twice.

For lunch one day, I made a lettuce wrap.  I found the recipe on pinterest which was a post from and it seemed easy, so I attempted it.

My only problem was that I should have made double the amount and fed them with lots of other items like egg rolls, potstickers, and rice to make it complete meal for them.  I was thinking this was a light lunch item.  It was a bit too light.  The group loved the flavor of this but it wasn’t enough food and I made it too late in the day so I think they were starving and starting to get restless!  I think each person only got about one lettuce wrap, so you can see why they all weren’t that happy that afternoon.  Nobody complained, but you can tell I needed to serve more when they were grazing for whatever snacks they could find. (That might have also been the reason why some don’t remember ordering their food for dinner cause there was not a lot soaking up any of the Margarita-drink of the day.)

Here’s the menu board that I usually set up each morning in Palm Springs.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken (I used turkey – would be ok to use chicken, turkey or beef)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce (I bought mine from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste
  • 1 (8-ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 head butter lettuce

Instructions from

  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground chicken and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks; drain excess fat.
  • Stir in garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chestnuts and green onions until tender, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, taco-style.


Notes – I think I left the Sriracha out of the recipe and let everyone spice up their individual servings.  AND Make sure you know your audience before you plan the meal.  Don’t want them to get hungry on you!

We’re on our way back next week for a Palm Springs vacation, so I’m planning on much more food!  Stay tuned for more recipes.


Please Sir, May I Have S’more?

I went camping this year.  I even have witnesses.  It’s not a regular occurrence for me, but occasionally I like it.  To be clear, I like the outdoors – the scenery, most of the smells, trees and stuff.  I’m not an avid camper though, so I have no equipment to make camping easy.  I have a sleeping bag that my brother gave me that he wasn’t using.  If you asked him to go camping, he’ll respond, “Why would you do that when there is a perfectly good hotel not far away?”  He didn’t need his sleeping bag, so I took it.  I own nothing else to help myself to live outdoors even for a night.

Growing up, I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to go camping.  I can count on one hand all of my camping experiences including the one this past year.  My first camping experience was to Camp Happily Appley with my brownie troupe.  There, I was forced to drink water that tasted like dirty armpits, pretty much got bucked off of a horse and was traumatized changing clothes in the outdoors without any doors anywhere, but people everywhere.  (I was a modest 9 year old).  Let’s not talk about the dreaded out houses where there could be a rattle snake waiting for you?  This trip took me out of my comfort zone.

I’m in the back row, third from the right.

My next camping trip came in high school when my youth group was going to McGrath State Beach.  This beach camping trip sounded great in theory as it was 5 minutes from my house and I really loved the beach.  I used to go really frequently to the beach back then.  For this trip, I had nothing with me except a blanket.  Everything was fine and taken care of by our leader such as food and campfires etc, until it came time to sleep.  Without a tent or a sleeping bag, I slept with my blanket in the youth group van by myself.  You might think this would be alright but I was a frozen popsicle by morning.  I have no recollection of the trip after that but I think I got picked up and defrosted at home?

So after that, I went camping one or two more times and if there was a rock, inevitably my head would find an uncomfortable pillow.  I also managed to position myself sleeping downhill?  I’m not the most coordinated person, so I associated well with Lucy in the movie Forever Darling.

Needless to say, I eagerly signed myself up for camping with friends this past Spring!  I warned them all of my lack of camping knowledge and basically told them to take care of me.  Thankfully, they did.  We also rented an RV, so there was no chance of a rock pillow or downhill sleeping arrangement.  My reference for RV camping was also Lucy in a movie called, The Long Long Trailer.  I’ve obviously watched more movies than camp.

IMG_0706My lack of experience lends itself to romanticizing and associating camping with classic things like…singing around a campfire, lots of flannel, star gazing, and of course S’mores.  My friend Lucas found a recipe on pinterest for home made marshmallows which I was certain would make us the most popular campsite for miles around.  He said he’d make them, so I didn’t argue!  We thought they’d be perfect around the campfire.  He made dozens of fluffy white yummy marshmallows.

Lucas and Vito, Eagle Scouts, were on the trip.  They were more than capable of building a campfire but this Brownie criticized the fire for not being big enough because I compared it to others around us and “movie” campfires where they seem a bit more dramatic than ours?  They assured me our campfire was exactly right and appeased me a little with a few more flames to get that film quality that I envisioned.

IMG_0720Campfire was set, stars were in place and now those homemade marshmallows were going to be roasted.  There were four of us in on this campfire experiment.  We skewered our marshmallows while our salivary glands anticipated the sweet mouthwatering delicacy.  Each person had a different roasting method which pretty much garnered the same outcome.  Marshmallows were melting quickly and falling off the skewer into the fire.  New plans were quickly derived to catch marshmallows in graham crackers before falling.

IMG_0721It was a messy endeavor but when you finally got a marshmallow in your mouth, it was a confectionary delight.  We tried to eat more than one but it wasn’t easy, even for a sweet tooth connoisseur.  They had to have been the best marshmallows that I’ve ever had but a bit more richer than the average store bought brand.

Mere marshmallow handsIngredients for marshmallows:

About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)

To follow the full recipe for Springy, Fluffy Marshmallows from, click here.

The next encounter with THE marshmallows were at a Palm Springs trip.  As you know we frequently make a visit to Palm Springs as it’s close and relatively inexpensive for a group of us to go.  This time I found a recipe for Skillet S’mores which I thought would be better because it eliminated the game of twirling the skewer to keep your marshmallow on it.  The idea is that the chocolate and the marshmallows are in a skillet where you can dip your graham cracker or spoon the concoction on your graham cracker.

Ingredients for the skillet s’mores:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 8 large marshmallows or fill the skillet
  • graham crackers for dipping

To follow the full recipe for Indoor S’mores from, click here.

In the future, I would make an adjustment to this recipe though.   I suggest melting your chocolate and adding some cream and maybe some butter in a double boiler first to make loose viscous texture then pour into a skillet and bake the marshmallows on top.  Nobody found fault in the way that I served this per the recipe but I think it would have made for easier dipping and less chance of burning the chocolate before you put the marshmallows on top to bake.

IMG_1435I’m usually up for most adventures.  I probably would have slept on a rock on a hill as long as there was promise of these treats again but I’m certainly glad there was a moderately comfortable bed for this princess and the pea.  I hope you have sweet dreams if you take this recipe with you on your next camping trip or just at home watching movies.




Glutton for Southernment

I recently traveled to Tennessee to visit extended family for the funeral services of Mary Ann.  On the last day, we wanted to eat brunch before we left our separate ways and tried to determine where to go for a Southern experience.  There was a good  discussion of Midlands vs. Cracker Barrel vs. Waffle House and the general consensus was the need for waffles, so Waffle House seemed the natural choice.

As I have been to several areas of the South, I was familiar with the building but haven’t stepped inside a Waffle House to try the cuisine yet.  The Southerners assured we were in for a true greasy spoon experience.  I wasn’t quite sure if I would appreciate that or be completely disgusted but I was game for trying!

MenuThis small diner wasn’t equipped to handle a group of eight seated together, so we chose two booths and got comfortable for the parade of food that was to come.  It had a counter and several small tables for 2 or four and a jukebox for customizing your personal soundtrack for the meal.

My table of four quickly began negotiating an array of food so we would sample as much as possible and share favorites.  The next table’s approach was to order “smothered” items as they were pros and knew what they liked!  I’m not even sure I’ve seen the word “smothered” in a menu in California?


Food began to arrive and I wasn’t sure there would be enough room on the table.  There were cheesy eggs, bacon, raisin toast, grilled biscuits, grits and of course waffles.  We ate and shared, and ate and shared and I think we all enjoyed the cheesy eggs and felt the waffles were a good standard waffle.  No complaints.  My breakfast was pretty much all carbs but I was going to just eat and deal with the consequences of that later.

Table 2The smothered food, well…looked smothered and yummy in a “don’t think about what that is going to do to you” kinda way.

Smothered 2This was a meal that I don’t have to do every time I go to the South but I’m glad we took the time and made this the choice.  The staff didn’t know what hit them when we all walked in, but they did well and we didn’t overwhelm them too much.  There were plenty of locals in the diner which contributed to the ambiance for me.

It was a quick trip to Tennessee and I grow fonder of the area due to the warmness of the people and how different it is from home.  They say I am “Southern” too, as in Southern California.  After the Waffle House, I feel I had a right of passage and am officially a Glutton for Southernment.

When you visit the South, what’s your favorite place?  Leave your suggestions in the comments below!



Cornbread Comfort

For me, food and recipes connect me to family and friends.  Smells of chicken and garlic always transport me to my dad’s kitchen while just chopping broccoli gives me giggles reminding me of prepping for a Jackson party!

My best friend’s mom recently passed away and I will always think of the great times that we shared this past year especially at the Isle of Palms and Las Vegas where she made the craps table cheer everytime she was the shooter!  She gave us all some wonderful memories to hold in our hearts for the remainder of our days on earth until we reunite.

Mary Ann was the matriarch of this fun-loving, wacky family.  I went to visit this extended family in Tennessee in 2011 where we celebrated, partied and bonded with each other through tons of food and drink as Southerners have taught me.  We ended that wonderful trip with a family dinner at Mary Ann’s.  One of the ulterior motives of this dinner was to be able to watch “the master” make her cornbread.

  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2-3 teaspoons oil (heated in pan)

Mary Ann had a cornbread skillet, well used and seasoned after years of making the beloved recipe.  It had about eight wedges built into the skillet and was perfect for cornbread.  This California girl had never seen a skillet like this!


She had the skillet on the stove warming on a low heat and poured in well over the recommended amount of oil!  (Her daughter in law ended up removing some, so I suggest using the appropriate amount in the ingredients listed).

After combining the corn meal, egg and milk, you pour the mixture in the oiled skillet.  Set your oven to 400 degrees, place the skillet on the middle rack and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown.


If you don’t have a separated skillet like Mary Ann’s, you can use a standard skillet.  She would use a standard skillet and flip the cornbread through the baking to get both sides a beautiful golden brown all over.

This recipe is best baked in a skillet but if you don’t have one, a cake pan will work but it won’t get the lovely Southern fried golden crusting that happens in the skillet.  This is a simple recipe but the flavor comes from essentially frying in the oven.


It could be that this recipe was made with love each time and that was its main ingredient.  Thankfully we are blessed with indulging in memories of every bite and smell that comes from recipes like Mary Ann’s cornbread.  If kitchen walls could talk, they would divulge thousands of emotions, hundreds of calories and most of all, decades of love.  We can take comfort in cornbread today and continue traditions for tomorrow.

“She loved YOU best!”

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Cookie Monsters like Salt

Chocolate.  I like it but I’ve determined that I’m allergic.  That doesn’t stop me from making chocolate chip cookies for the gang!  I found a recipe on Pinterest again.  This time it was a recipe from the New York Times.  It seemed like a very standard recipe but it had one strange addition of mandatory sea salt.

So on a lovely hot night in Palm Springs, I decided to bake cookies!  Luckily my friends have had a few drinks, so there was a good chance that I could succeed no matter what came out of the oven.

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar (10 ounces)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate (at least 60% cacao)
  • Sea Salt

I followed the directions as they were written.  You basically mix the dry ingredients and set aside.   Then mix  the butter and sugars together and add an egg one at a time.  Once all of your wet ingredients are together, you slowly incorporate your dry ingredients.  When the cookie dough is combined, gently add your chocolate chip cookies.  I then put chocolate chip cookie dough in plastic wrap and formed a couple of cookie loaves to put in the refrigerator.  You should let this dough set for at least a day.  It honestly does make a difference in the flavor of the dough.

It made it easier that I had premade cookie dough for Palm Springs.  I just had to cut cookies, place them on a cookie sheet AND sprinkle with sea salt.  I wasn’t sure about this but the recipe insists not to skip this step so I just trusted and sprinkled away!

Out of the oven, I delivered them to the pool.  Comments of “Mmmmmm” and “is there salt on this?”  accompanied lip smacking and Cookie Monster munching and crunching.



I purposefully did not tell anyone that the cookies were sprinkled with sea salt.  They definitely noticed it and welcomed the additional flavor.  I almost forgot to take a pic of the cookies because they went so fast!  Make these and do not forget the sea salt!