Almond Cake with Fruit Compote (gluten-free)

I’ve amassed a fairly impressive arsenal of gluten-free dessert recipes over the past few years, since my friends John & Bridgette went GF.  And one of the biggest things I usually look for in these recipes is that they’re naturally free of gluten, rather than using weird ingredients to try and approximate the texture and taste of wheat recipes.

Almond Cake with Fruit Compote done

That’s why I’ve developed quite an affinity for almond meal.  It’s super yummy, plus it has an awesome grainy texture—not perfect for every type of recipe, but helps provide a “crumb” to certain cakes and pastries.  It’s also pretty easy to work with and really forgiving.  I’ve kind of been on an almond cake kick lately for myself, because the flavor is perfect for this summer-to-fall transition time we’ve been in.

Almond Cake with Fruit Compote

Which brings us to the uber-moist flavor bomb we’re talking about today…

Almond Cake with Fruit Compote sliced

This recipe is from Cookie + Kate, and as soon as she posted it, I was dying to give it a try.  The almond cake is the star, and is taken up a level by the combination of orange zest and cinnamon in the batter, and the maple syrup makes it super moist.  It’s also literally the easiest batter to throw together.  Then the slightly-sticky cake is stopped with a roasted fruit compote, which provides additional juice dripping down into the cake.  I went with pears and raspberries, which in hindsight was way too much juice to deal with.  But you can use whatever strikes your fancy.  This is awesome as leftovers, particularly for breakfast.

Don’t judge. [Read more…]

Cheesy Sausage & Grit Casserole

Sorry, friends. There’s no way to make this dish look pretty in pictures. But it IS super yummy!

I’m always on the lookout for new breakfast casserole recipes for our Friday morning work breakfasts, particularly ones that don’t take a million different ingredients and a lot of assembly time (because let’s face it, I get home late).  This one is is simple, affordable, and comes together super quickly.

Sausage & Grit Breakfast Casserole

Funny story about this recipe though…the original recipe instructions just say “boil salted water, then add grits”.  Because my background is pasta, where you heavily salt the water (then, obviously, pour a lot of it out), I boiled the water and tossed a handful of salt in, and of course salted my sausage and added (salty) cheese.  The result?  So salty, it was almost inedible.  It WAS kind of inedible, in my opinion.  Lesson learned—follow the instructions on the package! [Read more…]

14 of My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is a BIG deal in my family.  I always fly home a day or two before, and stay through the weekend.  I have a big extended family, so my mom and sisters and I (and my aunts) spend the day before baking, cooking, and prepping.  The morning of Thanksgiving is always insane—my mom’s up super early with the turkey, then leaves around 10:30 to get down to my grandma’s.  I get up a little later, go for a run, finish up all the remaining dishes, and head down around noon.

We eat a huge lunch, then graze all afternoon and have leftovers for dinner.  We play football, watch football, play cards, and talk.  Chase the kids around.  We also usually get together Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday morning for brunch.  It is a LOT of cooking all weekend.

When you’re cooking for a big crowd (anywhere from 25 to 50 in past years; usually around 25-30 these days), there are some realities in the kinds of dishes that make sense.  Anything super time-intensive that doesn’t yield many servings is automatically out.  So these are some of my favorite dishes that I’ve contributed.  There’s no turkey or main dish here, because we always make a couple simple turkeys or turkey breasts.  Nothing fancy, because it’s all about the sides, breads, and desserts.  Hope you enjoy and everyone has a safe, happy (American) Thanksgiving with family and friends!

14 Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes [Read more…]

Bourbon Vanilla Banana Bread with Candied Walnuts

I’ve long been on the record as “meh” on banana bread.

Bourbon Vanilla Banana Bread with Candied Walnuts

As my two-year-old niece would say, it’s not…offensive. It’s just not something that calls to me on any level.

Bourbon Vanilla Banana Bread with Candied Walnuts nuts

But let me tell you…bourbon sure does take this up a level! And candied walnuts don’t hurt either. What I’m saying is, this banana bread is AWESOME.

bourbon vanilla banana bread with candied walnuts ready to bake

This recipe is also super easy and fast. It’s taking one of the most basic recipes many of us remember from our childhood and just taking it up a few notches. Vanilla bean paste instead of just extract. A subtle deep, almost caramel flavor from the bourbon. Beautiful sugar-crusted nuts for texture. If that isn’t an impressive dessert (okay fine, breakfast), I don’t know what is! [Read more…]

Rigatoni with Chicken, Goat Cheese, & Grilled Fairytale Eggplant

This is one of those really random, accidental recipes that turned out SO. GOOD.

Chicken Pasta with Grilled Baby Eggplant & Goat Cheese

One weekend this summer I was at the farmer’s market and found the most adorable tiny, lavender-colored eggplant I’d ever seen—fairytale eggplant.

Chicken Pasta with Grilled Baby Eggplant & Goat Cheese done

I had to buy a pound of them, but then try and figure out what to do. After looking up some recipes, I decided that grilling them would be the yummiest. And it was…I’m not a huge eggplant fan, but these were soft and smoky and salty, and just awesome.

chicken pasta with grilled baby eggplant & goat cheese fairytale eggplant

Of course, if I’m heating up the grill then why not grill some herbed chicken as well? I also picked up some of the last juicy tomatoes of summer, and a bunch of massively fragrant herbs. Because those two things make everything better.

chicken pasta with grilled baby eggplant & goat cheese fairytale eggplant grilled closeup

And of course, every pasta needs a sauce. Some goat cheese and some pasta water, and boom—instant tangy deliciousness. It was a bunch of random ingredients, but they somehow all came together into an easy, perfect late summer dish.  [Read more…]

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Why, you ask?  It’s cinnamon swirl bread, which is a total no-brainer.  Gooey, cinnamony goodness spiraling through a tender, crumby loaf.  And it is.  But for some reason when I made it a few months ago, I wasn’t totally in love with it.  The filling was awesome, but the bread was just…fine.  The texture was good, but the outside was crustier than I wanted and the bread’s flavor (it tasted like…bread) was a disconnect from the sweet filling.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread done

But I’ve come to see the error of my ways, because you deserve cinnamon swirl bread in YOUR life too.  I’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe to make the bread and filling feel like they’re part of the same recipe, including adding a teaspoon of cinnamon and a little extra sugar to the dough.  The filling was perfect just as it was.   [Read more…]

Strawberry Chia Jam (no pectin)

It’s really only been three weeks, but it feels like it’s been a year since I posted! It’s not that I don’t have anything TO post…on the contrary, I have quite the backlog. But crazy workload plus travel has kept me away.

Strawberry Chia Jam

I’m easing back in with this no-fuss strawberry jam recipe. Why jam, you ask?



Well, I just got back from spending a week and a half in the Scottish highlands and a number of the islands, plus a day in Edinburgh, which meant tons of pub food, breakfast fry-ups, and sticky toffee pudding. But one of my absolute favorite things when traveling in the U.K. is a plain scone with butter and strawberry jam. Their scones have an unreal crumb…my mission in life is to somehow recreate it. And it’s perfect with just some simple butter and jam. Boy, I ate a ton of these!

strawberry chia jam strawberries

This jam isn’t quite the same (for that, you can use my super easy balsamic strawberry jam recipe, also no pectin). But it’s got the interesting addition of chia seeds for texture and thickening, it’s a little less sweet (I barely put any sweetener in), and it’s super easy. You can get it started and then focus on making dinner or baking something, just stopping to give the jam a quick stir every so often. [Read more…]

Healthy Lemon Almond Chicken Salad

So, I had this post all written and ready to publish, then it mysteriously disappeared. Like, hit save and *poof*—everything was gone. So you’ll have to take my word that it was probably the most interesting, witty piece of food writing known to man.

Healthy Lemon Almond Chicken Salad

Or probably not. Guys, my brain is totally fried. Looooong hours, too much on my plate, getting ready for travel, not sleeping well. I know from experience that the way I’m living right now is a no-fail recipe for gaining weight (I have last fall to prove it). I’ve had absolutely no time or energy to cook, but I knew that if I didn’t make something I’d end up having a Farm Burger #4 chicken burger every day for lunch. Which…hello, 15 pounds.

Healthy Lemon Almond Chicken Salad done

So this caught my eye a few weeks ago. I’m a sucker for chicken salad. All of it. All the kinds. But I tend to be lazy about making it, because it takes a number of ingredients and then I eat it so fast. Plus, it’s not always the healthiest.

lemon almond chicken salad green onions lemon

lemon almond chicken salad lemon zest

The ingredients for this chicken salad were super simple. And more importantly, healthy. I didn’t even cook my own chicken breasts. Just saute up cooked chicken with some spices, zest the lemon, slice the scallions, and you’re rockin’ and rollin’. It’s light and fresh and perfect for August in Georgia (and a healthy work lunch). [Read more…]

Dutch Baby (or German Pancake)

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted last! Things have been nuts with work, and some travel as well. While I haven’t cooked much, I actually have a backlog of recipes that I just haven’t been able to find the time to put together and post.

Dutch Baby

July has been a whirlwind. My mom came for a visit, which was great. We cooked an awesome dinner one night, but I also talked her into getting burgers, Thai, and Chinese takeout. Which was bomb. Then last week I was up in New York for work, then spent a long weekend in L.A. with a bestie hiking the Hollywood Hills and drinking copious quantities of wine. On top of insane work hours, what few minutes of free time I can squeeze out are taken up by the last stages of planning for our Scotland trip right now (!!).

Dutch Baby Pancake

But I realized last night that I’d never posted this dutch baby recipe, which is practically criminal. These things are awesome. These aren’t something I grew up with, but it was the recipe for apple pie german pancakes that gave me the idea. I had some leftover batter, and so I looked up what to do with it. I effectively made one of these, and have been hooked ever since. They’re easy, fast, incredibly versatile, and delish! [Read more…]

Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

These pancakes look like Cookie Monster.

Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

Once you see it, you can’t un-see it….

strawberry cornmeal griddle cakes strawberries closeup

Last weekend after my insane 4th of July (which involved accidentally hiking over 15 miles and burning a billion calories), I woke up the next morning feeling like an 80-year-old, kind of fell/rolled out of bed, and got my coffee made like usual. But as I sat on the couch my stomach demanded something more. After poking through Pinterest for a hot second, I had talked myself into this glorious breakfast.

Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes single

By all rights, I shouldn’t like these pancakes, because I have this weird hangup about hot and fruit. Fruit shouldn’t be hot. I take fruit crisp out of the oven and put it right in the freezer. Hot fruit is weird. But these were amazing. Fresh, summery strawberries in a golden crispy pancake, drenched in maple syrup. Practically perfect in every way. [Read more…]


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