Mayo Free Potato Salad

I know, I know. Can it really be called potato salad if it does not have mayonnaise in it? Can I even serve it in the south without mayo?

I don’t really have a good answer for those questions but I do know good eats when it’s on the table and this my friend, is good eats.

The original recipe calls for it to be eaten warm, which incidentally is how I prefer my good ol’ fashioned potato salad, but this one tastes even better to me cold after the flavors have had time to mix and mingle and pronounce their intentions.

My husband loves this and it has become our barbecue side of choice.

Two things before I share the recipe:
Firstly, the first few times I made it I didn’t have the white wine and it was still good enough to make it onto the make-it-again list. But the white wine takes a homerun and knocks it out of the park in a grand slam kinda way.
Secondly, the last time I made it the grocery store was running a bogo on bags of fingerling potatoes so I used them and not only did they up the pretty factor the creamy texture and flavor were spot on! (Of course the time that I made this and took pictures was not this time 😦 )

What you’ll need:
2 lbs potatoes of choice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, (you may add more if potatoes look a little dry)
1 TBSP Dijon style mustard
1/4 cup dry white wine, (Cooking wine will do but as they say, if you won’t drink it why would you cook with it?)
1/2 cup minced onion
Kosher salt, to taste
Coarse ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley

What you’ll do:
Quarter or halve potatoes into about 1 inch chunks and boil* until tender
While potatoes cook mix the remaining ingredients together
Add warm potatoes to dressing and gently toss until potatoes are well coated
Serve right away or allow to chill

Seriously, it is delicious either way so enjoy!

*Chicken broth and salt. I never boil anything in plain water because I like the extra boost of flavor I get from the broth.




Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese.

So basic and simple…noodles and cheese. Not complicated is it? But boy, oh boy, it is the good stuff, don’t you think?

I wouldn’t call myself a connoisseur or anything but I am comfortable saying I know a good macaroni and cheese when I eat one and let me tell you, I cannot make it any other way now. You might have other mac and cheese recipes. They might even be good mac and cheese recipes. Maybe even really good ones. But you ought to try this one. Just because, umm, it is delicious!

I do have a cheat shortcut that makes this even easier to make and I think a little bit cheaper. Instead of buying various blocks of cheese I came across this nifty little cheese blend that is supposedly for salads. Since it has the three main cheeses my people like this was a no brainer for me. Besides being cheaper it also saves me some time because I am not having to grate the cheese. Total win.


What you’ll need:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup of milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups shredded cheese of choice
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1 box ridged jumbo elbow noodles, cooked

What you’ll do:
Cook pasta according to directions and set aside.
In a large pot melt butter.
Whisk in flour and cook for one minute.
Reduce heat and add all the other ingredients but the cheese.
Continue to stir until it starts bubble.
Reduce heat to low and add in cheese.
Stir until the cheese is completely melted.
Add the noodles and stir until everything is nicely incorporated.

Enjoy!




Fruit Nachos

Such a delicious and perfectly simple summer snack! This one is a crowd pleaser and such an easy way to get your kids in the kitchen and happy about eating a little healthier.

What you’ll need:
Flour tortillas
Melted butter
Cinnamon and sugar
Assorted fruit, chopped (We like strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi)
Redi whip
Chocolate syrup


What you’ll do:

Using a pizza cutter slice tortillas into triangles
Brush with melted butter
Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar
Broil on top rack of oven for two to three minutes (Do NOT walk away because they will burn fast)
Allow to cool for five minutes before arranging on your serving tray
Sprinkle with chopped fruit
Add dollops of whipped cream
Drizzle with chocolate
Gobble them up and enjoy!


By no means is this THE healthiest snack around but it is better than cookies and cake. It is also fun and different so a total win win.




Sourdough Lemon Blueberry Muffins

These muffins were so much fun to bake but honestly, I think it was because I might have geeked out a little bit photographing the process. Maybe. Okay, I definitely did. But the light was so pretty and the colors were too and bonus, they taste delicious!

A small disclaimer here at the beginning…notice the name of the muffins? Yeah, you gotta have some sourdough starter on hand to make them. I have some starter that was given to me a couple of years ago and this is the first time I have ventured outside of regular loaves of bread and cinnamon rolls. I am by no means a sourdough guru however but a quick pinterest search pulls up a bajillion recipes. Here is a picture of the start of a starter that is like the one I use. It is made with instant potato flakes and if I have kept it alive all this time you can too! (If you guys are interested I will be happy to share my bread recipe that I make from my starter.)

Now back to the lemon blueberry muffins! I think I should share a picture now, don’t you?


What you’ll need:

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup milk, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp lemon zest*
1/4 cup sourdough starter
1 1/4 cup fresh blueberries

What you’ll do:

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the blueberries.
Mix until well combined but be careful to not overmix as it can dry out your muffins.
Gently fold in blueberries.
Scoop mixture into a well greased or paper lined muffin tin.
(Batter makes up about six nice sized muffins.)
You can add a few more blueberries on top and a little bit of sugar.
We topped ours with a little sugar and some lemon zest.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, testing for doneness.
Conitune baking until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly and serve!


*I would definitely use more lemon zest and probably squeeze some fresh juice into the batter next time. I like a good twang when I’m eating anything lemony.

One other note, you can make this dairy free by using almond milk.

I think I will try them again with cranberry and orange adn see how they turn out. That is another favorite flavor combination!

Let me know how you like them if you try the recipe!



Better Than Oreos

I’m just going to be very upfront about this dessert, y’all.

There is nothing subtle or elegant about it.

It is a sugar bomb waiting to explode deliciously on your tastebuds and will not just linger on your hips but will probably plant a flag and stake a claim.

It is like a drunken frat boy took the pantry challenge and all he found were oreos, sweetened condensed milk, and a cake mix. And then he also remembered he had a container of cool whip and some butter in the fridge and said, “Gnarly dude, I am going to make a dessert!”

But somehow it works into this it tastes so good I hate myself for eating it but I can’t stop guilty pleasure.

What you’ll need:

1 package of Oreos
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 8oz tube of cool whip
1 chocolate fudge cake mix
1 1/2 sticks of butter, thinly sliced

What you’ll do:

Layer the cookies in the bottom of a 9×13 pan
Evenly pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cookies
Spread the cool whip on top of the cookies and milk layers
Sprinkle chocolate cake mix over the cool whip
Place thin slices of butter on top of the cake mix until covered
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes*
Take out of the oven and allow to cool and serve

*The original video recipe I saw on Facebook says 45 minutes. If I make this again (and I probably will for the right party) I will reduce the time to 30 minutes and check to see how jiggly it is. In the video it is a gooey glob of sweetness being spooned up but mine turned out more like some kind of crazy yummy bars that struck the perfect balance of chewy and gooey.

I would love to know if you try this and how it turns out!

Chocolate Oat Bar Bites

This is some deliciously tasty and pretty healthy snacking right here. Sweetened with honey these are already pretty low in sugar content but we also chose to use sugar free chocolate chips in ours.

Uncomplicated and yummy so they make for a great recipe to keep on hand when you know you are going to want a little something something but you are also trying to be health conscious.

Did I mention they are also no bake? Yep, they are.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup of nut butter of choice (we used almond butter)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup of butter or coconut oil (we used butter)
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup flaked coconut (unsweetened but it turns out all we had on hand was sweetened)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

What you’ll do:

Put the first three ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and heat until melted
Pour in the oats and stir until thoroughly combined
Add in coconuts and chips, mixing well
Pour into a parchment or aluminum foil lined 8×8 pan
Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes
Lift out of pan and cut into squares
Keep refrigerated and enjoy!


English Muffin Bread

This is one of the first types of bread that I learned to make and it is practically foolproof. In my younger, somewhat immature days, I was dismissive of bread making. I could never get it to turn out right and it seemed to me to be somewhat mystifying…a sort of hold your tongue this way, point the wooden spoon to the north and hope the humidity is just right voodoo magic.

But then this bread happened. It was probably one of the earliest recipes I found on Pinterest and for whatever reason I felt as if even I could surely make this one.

And I promise you can too! It really is a mix and go kind of thing and is simply delicious.

It makes three to four loaves depending on your pan size and is literally the best toast you will ever enjoy.

What you’ll need:
3 packets of rapid rise yeast
3 TBS of sugar
2 TBS of salt
11 cups of flour (I use all purpose but bread flour is also an option)
5 1/2 cups of warm water

What you’ll do:
Mix all of your ingredients together in a large bowl
(It is going to be a big sticky mess)
Separate it into your greased bread pans
Place inside a cold oven and turn it to your absolute lowest setting (mine is 170 degrees)
When the oven signals that it has reached that temperature turn it off and allow the dough to continue to rise until even with the top of the pan
When it has risen turn the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35 minutes
Brush the tops of the bread with melted butter and continue baking for another 5 to 10 minutes until a nice crispy golden brown.

Allow it to cool for a few minutes before flipping out of the pan.

(Pay no attention to the uneven sized loaves in my picture. I didn’t do such a good job dividing my dough.)

Slather some butter on a slice and enjoy! Or, you know, show some restraint and wait until you have served up that tomato soup.

But whatever you do, on the next day do yourself a favor and toast a slice and eat it with some jam or lemon curd. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Man, I haven’t shared a recipe in a hot minute, have I? Fingers crossed that I can be consistent moving forward but for now let’s just go ahead and jump into this recipe for a delicious bowl of soup that is perfect for these winter nights.

And when I say delicious, I mean delicious. Like we are a house full of people that don’t eat tomatoes but we all love this soup delicious. Pair it with some good crusty bread* and you can’t go wrong.

What you’ll need:

4 lbs vine ripe tomatoes, quartered and seeded
1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled**
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 quart chicken broth (Vegetable broth is fine too)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Olive Oil

What you’ll do:
Layer tomatoes and garlic on a parchment covered baking sheet
Toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper
Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour until they are tender and beginning to caramelize

When the tomatoes are almost done heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot and sauté the onions
Add the basil, oregano, and thyme and sauté one or two minutes longer
Add the balsamic vinegar and deglaze the pot before pouring in the chicken broth
Once it comes to a boil turn heat down to medium low and allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes
Remove tomatoes & garlic from the oven if you have not already done so and drop them into the broth mixture
Pour in 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
With an immersion blender*** blend the ingredients together until you reach your desired consistency adding more broth or cream as need
Ladle into bowls and serve with a side of fresh bread and a salad.

Enjoy!

I have a friend that likes to add some crumbled blue cheese to her bowl of tomato soup or you can just add a couple of fresh basil leaves as garnish. Being completely honest I will let you know that I have a tendency to sorta eyeball the seasonings rather than measure them out. I probably use way more basil than what the recipe calls for because I know we love it.

*I have a really simple but delicious English muffin bread recipe I hope to share in a couple of days that goes really well with this hearty goodness.

**I cheat and buy the bag of already peeled and separated garlic cloves and I don’t feel bad about it at all.

***I got an immersion blender last month for my birthday and love it for this soup. However, if you don’t have one I think it would be simple enough to use a blender and do it in batches. Totally worth the little bit of extra time.








Chai Spiced Coffee

I came across this recipe a year or so ago and making it is like having a session of aromatherapy. It just smells so good!

My husband would never go for a spiced coffee so I didn’t use my coffee pot. I mixed the spices with the ground coffee and then used my Keurig cups to make individual cups of coffee. Some comments left on the original pin mentioned problems with the spices actually making it through the filter. Other people were just mad that someone was blending a tea with coffee.

All I know is that it smells good and it tastes good.

What you’ll need:

1 cup ground coffee

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp ginger

What you’ll do:

Thoroughly mix the coffee and spices together.

Make your k-cup (or measure out the regular amount of coffee for your pot) and brew!

Full disclosure: when I mixed it and had the first cup the smell was nice but I expected the more flavor. I doubled the amount of spices the next time and still think I could go a little stronger and add more.

I enjoy coffee with just a bit of half and half. The addition of the spices added some lovely flavor without adding sugar and that makes me happy.

This is a wonderful cup to enjoy about mid morning when I have already had my regular coffee and just want a little something extra.

An Autumn Favorite ~ Applesauce

I will go ahead and confess right here at the beginning that I do not like applesauce. Not the kind you buy in the store anyway. But this homemade applesauce I can totally get behind! It is super easy and full of lovely fall flavor. I originally found the recipe on the back of a Juicy Juice bottle seven or eight years ago and I usually forget about it and then every couple of years remember it and dust it off and make a batch or two.

The absolute best side benefit? Your house will same utterly amazing when you cook it.

What you’ll need

6 baking apples chopped into pieces (best apples recommended for baking are Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and the Pink Lady)

1 1/2 cups apple juice

1/2 cup dried cranberries 

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon 

What You’ll do:

Combine all ingredients into a large pot. 

Cook on high heat for about 30 minutes or until your apples are tender.

Yep, that’s it! But a couple of things to note…I don’t like super chunky applesauce so I use my potato masher to break down the larger apple pieces.

Also, I don’t exactly measure out my cranberries~I just add what looks like a good cranberry to apple ratio.

And as long as I am admitting that I don’t follow directions exactly my brown sugar probably isn’t packed down and if measured out is probably a little closer to 3/4 a cup. And if I am being completely honest I may or may not measure out the cinnamon and just sorta sprinkle it on until it looks and smells like I have added enough 🙂

Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

**Update: I made a batch this morning with a variety of apples…granny smith, tango, and red delicious. I also added 4 TBS of butter to the chopped apples and cooked them a few minutes before adding the other ingredients. Letting it simmer on lowest heat also helped give it time to thicken nicely.