Am I pretentious for liking cheese straws more than Cheez-It’s?

I recently purchased a pack of cheese straws at Food Lion after a long sabbatical without them, even though I have loved them since I worked at World Market in 2010 and would sample (read: steal) the fancy, international snacks offered at the back of the store. I have since become more and more invested in my health, most likely due to maturity and old age (I’m 33 and my body is falling apart 😫), so I swore off chips, and anything similar.

However, I noticed that this particular package of cheese straws boasted only 150 calories for 6 pieces. My new thing is 100 calorie snacks; if each snack I eat is 100 calories, I may actually make my daily intake low enough to lose weight. I’m not starving myself, and I try to consider the nutritional value for most things I eat. But, cheese straws!

Anyway, I brought them home, my husband asked what a cheese straw was, and I described it as a ‘fancy Cheez-It.’ I suppose it could also be considered the ‘adult Cheez-It.’ The side of the box suggests pairing your cheese straw with a glass of wine, prosciutto or apple slices. Cheez-Its are probably more likely to address their younger clientele. Even so, it’s essentially the same thing right? So why do I not like Cheez-Its but love cheese straws?

I’ll admit I like the finer things in life. As much as my husband hates it, I love the restaurants that create wildly inventive plates with ingredients you’ve never heard of. Farm to table, small plates, seasonal menu; these are all favorite things of mine but are also considered to be snobby, hipster shit. I’d rather have a little bit of something nice than a lot of whatever. Nick likes diner menus, and I’ll enjoy it once in awhile, but there’s usually no health benefits there. I’m not the kind of person to order a salad everywhere I go, especially because diner salads are usually shit.

I think, in the end, I like to feel fancy. And maybe the form of Cheez-Its vs cheese straws is different, and those differences matter to me. Maybe eating fancy, in a silly way, makes me think I’m eating better too. And even though I know the realities of drinking a glass of wine at lunch, the romantic ideal of it lingers in my mind. I want grapes and Prosecco, cheese straws, thin slices of Havarti, tiny pickles and a beautiful outdoor setting to enjoy it.

…What do you know, I guess I am a white, upper middle class woman.



Freeze Your Food

No not Lean Cuisine or Digiorno’s (though I’ve got both in the freezer right now, sometimes a girl needs a break), I’m talking homemade food. It is my new favorite thing to freeze food I’ve made. Generally a recipe yields more than me and my man will eat at one time, and gone are the days of forcing yourself to eat the same thing 4 days in a row!
Here’s what you could make & freeze right now:

Pulled pork– unsauced, measure 1 cup into each bag. BTW, I use sandwich bags. Probably not great super long term but it’ll be fine for a month or two. I’ve never posted a recipe because it’s so damn easy. Pork shoulder or butt in the crockpot, add liquid (chicken broth, Dr. Pepper, beer, etc.), then on Low for 8-10 hours. Then shred and remove fat and bone. So yum!

Biscuits– I have made biscuits for years (my recipe post from 2012!) but it didn’t occur to me until recently to freeze the dough! I would leave it in the fridge, it would get gross, and I would be sad. No more! Replace milk with buttermilk in that recipe for buttermilk biscuits. 😀 Anyway, once you roll it out, just cut out biscuits and place them on a tray covered with wax paper and place into freezer until solid, then throw them into a bag. Ahh biscuits for LIFE. (Bake 5 min longer if from frozen)

Gnocchi– Yes, I just posted this here, and I still have some left over! I already made one dinner with it and it was arguably better because after I boiled the gnocchi until it floated, I threw it in with the tomato sauce pot and it soaked up the sauce so wonderfully. Maybe I just really love tomato sauce…

Pierogis– My love, my ultimate comfort food, the pierogi 💕  I used to gorge myself on Mrs. T’s Pierogis as a youngun, and then I grew up and found a recipe that is now my New Year’s Day tradition (little purses!). I’ve never posted my recipe until now!  Time consuming but so worth it.



Smores Bar 2.0

Ok first, I am the least like a real food blogger anymore, since blogging a meal I’ve made within that week is no longer a reality. Or even blogging more than once a year. 😉 But the food’s good and I gotta share it, ya dig?

So SMORES BAR. So delicious, and previously mentioned here as my first commissioned (!!) baked good. Buttery graham cracker crust, smooth chocolate and topped with a thick layer of toasted meringue. Ooey gooey but I always felt a little too sweet.

So I tweaked the recipe and now here we are. A smores bar so great there’s only 1 picture of it because we gobbled it up every chance we got.


2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. melted butter
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

2 c. chocolate chips
2 c. cream

1 c. sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt
2  egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tarter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

350*. Line a square baking dish (8×8 or 9×9) with foil or parchment. Mix ingredients of crust together and press into baking dish. Bake 10 minutes.

Measure chocolate and cream with same measuring device (weigh 16 oz or use 2-cup measurement), placing chocolate in a heatsafe bowl and cream into a saucepan. Heat cream over medium until bubbles form on sides and you see steam.  Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for 10 minutes. When time is up, whisk quickly until chocolate and cream combine; mixture should be smooth and uniform in color. Pour over cooled crust and let sit in fridge for 1 hour.

For flüff, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt in a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer over medium high. Boil together until reaches 240*.  Before mixture reaches temperature, beat egg whites with cream of tarter in mixer until soft peaks form.

When syrup is ready, slowly drizzle in as egg whites beat on low. When all is added, turn mixer to medium high and beat until thick and glossy. Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.  Spread over cooled chocolate and broil or torch until toasty brown.

Baby it’s worth it.
yum yum yum yum yum yum


This is THE Fall Salad

  It’s got glazed pecans. Apple chips. Garlic balsamic vinaigrette. Gorgonzola cheese. Red onion. Oh my, it’s amazing. And you are going to make it all!
I was searching online for Fall salads and this one boasted to be the copycat recipe for the Panera Fuji Apple Salad. OMG yes, am I right?? I was on board. This is the recipe for the salad and dressing. But what about the apple chips? The glazed pecans? Are we home cooks or are we HOME COOKS??   
 I have already posted a lovely recipe for apple chips previously in this blog, and you can view it here. Word of warning: don’t add the sugar and cinnamon like I did! It adds too much sweetness to the salad.  
Finally, what about those glazed pecans? They are easy, and they are fabulous! Here’s the recipe:

Glazed Pecans

2 T. firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp butter
2 tsp light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup pecan halves

Add all ingredients except pecans to skillet and stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Add pecans and stir until well coated, 5-7 minutes. Spread pecans in a single layer onto parchment paper and let cool.

As for the sheer volume of tasks for this salad, spread it out! It’s what we do at the bakery I work at. Make the apple chips on Monday, the glazed pecans on Tuesday, and cook the chicken and serve the salad Wednesday. And your loved ones will be AH-MAZED!!


Spotlight On: The Pastry Blender

If you love making homemade food like me, chances are you could use a pastry blender. Anytime you’re making a dough that requires cutting butter or lard into flour (like biscuits, pie crust, or tortillas), it’s a great time and energy saver. I was using forks frustratedly until I ventured out to my local grocery store and bought one for $3-$4. Using it also makes me feel like a real chef in the kitchen! 🙂
Maybe one day I’ll replace my wine bottle with an actual rolling pin and truly be professional, but for now, spend a few bucks and invest in a pastry blender!


Merry Christmas!

Christmas! is here and gone. Today I woke up at 3:45 to get to my parent’s house by 8 a.m., then drove back to Richmond around 4. Sunrise to NoVa, sunset to Rva. It worked out beautifully though, as I got to spend time with my mom, stepdad, brother, sister, niece and my sister’s doll-like infant in the morning and my boyfriend’s family in the evening. How am I not crashing right now?? Wine, my loves, huge sips of wine.
To anyone in earshot this season, I informed them I was making my family’s presents this year. Brittle for my stepdad, cake pops for my brother, chocolate covered strawberries for my sister, and chocolate macarons for my mother featuring raspberry, lemon or orange buttercream filling. It mostly worked out; it stressed me out to no end to have to wait until the last minute and the macarons were not picture perfect by far. Who cares? My mama loved them– they all did! I can’t say I’m not proud.




Stamp it

Hey, so I know this is primarily a food blog, but occasionally I stumble upon a bit of knowledge that I must share despite it being inedible, whether its an easy Halloween costume for work or a yummy way to scent the house.
Yesterday, I did a demonstration on block printing at my work (art supply store), which required more “homework” than I was expecting.  I wanted to have a certain number of blocks prepared that people could play with, or at the very least view the prints I had made with that block.  Having not used linoleum block since college, I wanted to do something detailed and well drawn with the 4×5 block, and had the idea to transfer an image printed from the computer.
I originally had thought you could transfer the image via a warm iron, but that ended up being for the Speedball “Speedy Cut” rubber block (which was bullshit anyway).  Looking online, people suggested using a damp sponge.  Nope.  Some guy said pouring white vinegar over the drawing on the block would transfer the image.  NOPE.  I mentioned to my boss how I needed carbon paper to transfer the image, and she gave me this excellent alternative.

You will need a piece of thin paper (regular printer paper or drawing paper would work fine) and a pencil, preferably one sized higher in the B’s (2B, 4B, 6B, etc).  I imagine a regular pencil would work, but I can’t attest to that (a regular pencil is usually size HB).  Okay, this is what I did:  Fold your paper around the area you plan to transfer the image to, so that you have clear sides.  (Or outline the area onto the paper.)  Now cover the area with pencil.

Tape the paper with the pencil side down onto the area the image will be transferred to.  Grab the image you want to trace and center it, then tape it to the paper.
*Remember that when using it to make a print on paper, the image will be reversed.

Go over the lines of the image firmly.  I did this with a pencil, which is fine, but in hindsight I wish I had used a pen.  All you want is a stiff point, and I kept having to sharpen the pencil, which makes it shorter and shorter…:)  Once you have drawn over every line, remove the paper.

Voila!  An awesome laser printed image has been transferred for carving a stamp.  Of course, carving takes a bit of talent I suppose 😉 but its nice not to be required to draw a perfect picture to get a perfect stamp.
This worked great for the linoleum block, and I’m sure it would work great for a number of other things too.  Homemade carbon paper, as easy as mindless pencil shading.

Create a free website or blog at