The Christmas holidays are a special time for giving, but the best gifts don’t always come from a department store. Give the gift of food! Today, I’ve rounded up three gift ideas from my kitchen that can be prettily packaged + a spectacular book recommendation authored by my friend, meditation and wellness teacher, Cassandra Bodzack. These thoughtful presents are Some Kinda Good, and are sure to be well received. Continue reading “Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Foodie in Your Life”
I had lunch with a good friend the other day, and toward the end of our meal together, she asked, “What are you doing Sunday afternoon?” When I replied with “Not too much, what’s going on?” She said, “Would you like to come pick blueberries with me?” To anyone else, this may have seemed an arduous way to spend the Sabbath, but the wheels in my brain immediately started turning. Would you believe the only way I’ve ever purchased or eaten a blueberry has been from the pint-sized packages sold in the produce section of the grocery store? Pick blueberries, I thought? That sounds like a blast! Continue reading “Scratch Baking & Blueberry Picking in The Peach State”
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and with Valentine’s Day just a few days away, it’s time to get cookin’! All jokes aside, I don’t think there’s a better way to show you care than by cooking or baking for someone you love. I’ve got a special recipe to share today, and it’s exciting for two reasons: 1) It’s seriously Some Kinda Good (you get to bake with champagne!), and 2) It’s developed by a really inspirational person I had the privilege of meeting and competing with on ABC’s The Taste. Continue reading “Champagne Cupcakes: A Labor of Love”
It doesn’t get more traditional than good ol’ pumpkin pie. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it! Inspired by Paula Deen’s Maple-Buttermilk Pumpkin Pie in the magazine “Paula Deen’s Fall Baking,” this recipe is a slight variation of the original, but doesn’t deviate too far off the course. Have you ever heard of Buttermilk Whipped Cream? That is a new one on me, and boy am I glad I discovered it. Thank you, Paula! Whatever you do, resist the urge to eat this pie with standard Cool Whip. Take the extra 5-minute step to make Buttermilk Whipped Cream. You won’t regret it! I took the liberty of using Pumpkin Spice Syrup instead of maple, and added just a touch more sugar. Sweet and creamy, it’s mouth-watering served warm or cold. Enjoy a slice with a cup of hot coffee and a good friend. Add this dessert to your Thanksgiving table or Autumn baking list and your entire home will beckon the changing leaves!
Pumpkin Spice Pie
1 (15-Ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup of Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) pumpkin pie spice
One 9-inch store-bought frozen pie crust (I’m not above it!)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin and next 8 ingredients. Roll thawed pie crust over 9-inch pie plate, crimping edges with a fork. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake for 85 to 95 minutes or until center is set and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 1 hour before serving.
Buttermilk Whipped Cream
(Makes about two cups)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon good pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a large bowl, beat cream with a mixer at high-speed until soft peaks form. Add all remaining ingredients, and beat until stiff peaks form. Plop a big dollop on top of a slice of pie, then sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Then EAT!
“What kind of Thanksgiving dinner is this? Where’s the turkey, Chuck? Don’t you know anything about Thanksgiving dinners? Where’s the mashed potatoes? Where’s the cranberry sauce? Where’s the pumpkin pie?” ~ Peppermint Patty
Happy Independence Day! Over the years, I’ve baked many a festive treat to celebrate the Fourth of July, and I thought I’d share a few of my favorites. These baked goods are fun to create and will add a celebratory spirit to any table, tailgate party or firework fiesta. Continue reading “Festive Fourth of July Favorites”
In my family, Easter Sunday has always been a special time to gather around the kitchen table after celebrating the resurrection of Jesus at church. I can’t think of a better way to give praise than with a bounty of beautiful food. Whether you’re popping a spiral ham in the oven and pairing it with scalloped potatoes, or opting for a special mid-morning brunch after the Sunrise Service, I hope some of my favorite recipes will tempt your palate. I’ll share three that are menu must-haves including Vidalia Onion Quiche, Best Grape Salad and Spicy Cheddar Long Straws. Choose one, or make them all. Happy Easter, y’all!
Vidalia Onion Quiche
This recipe appears in the cookbook “Savannah Celebrations” by Martha Nesbit
- 4 Slices bacon, minced
- 1 Large Vidalia Onion, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 3 Eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 ready-to-roll pie crust
- ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Fry the bacon in a medium skillet until it is very crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Drain off all but one tablespoon of the bacon grease. Saute the onion in the grease until it is very tender and just beginning to turn brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the flour.In a quart measuring cup, measure the half-and-half. Add the eggs and whisk together. Add the salt, pepper, and thyme. Place the pie crust in a deep-dish glass pie dish. Crimp the edges. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust. Layer both cheeses in the bottom of the crust. Distribute the bacon pieces and sautéed onion over the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over all.
Place the pie dish on a cookie sheet for ease in handling and put in the center of heated oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes longer or until the center of the quiche is set. You may need to cover the outer edge of the crust with foil to prevent over-browning.
Best Grape Salad
Adapted from Food.com
Who doesn’t love cream cheese and graham crackers? Beware–the cold and juicy grapes in this crowd-pleaser are addictive. Thanks to my Aunt Susan for introducing me to such a fabulous recipe!
- 2 lbs green seedless grapes
- 2 lbs red seedless grapes
- 8 ounces sour cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, to tasteTopping Ingredients
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed, to taste
- 1 cup crushed pecans, to taste
- Graham Crackers, crumbled to taste
Wash and stem grapes. Set aside. Mix sour cream, cream cheese, white sugar and vanilla by hand until blended. Stir grapes into mixture, and pour in large serving bowl. For topping: Combine brown sugar, and crushed pecans. Sprinkle over top of grapes to cover completely. Chill overnight.
“Our best tip for successful cheese straws is to shred your own cheese. It’s stickier and blends better than pre-shredded cheese.” – Southern Living
I can testify to that! These cheese straws have become one of my go-to snacks for entertaining any time of the year. I think they’re especially great at brunch with a Bloody Maria. Their buttery texture crumbles and melts right in your mouth.
Spicy Cheddar Long Straws
- 1 (10-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons half-and-half
Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare dough, and turn out onto a well-floured surface; divide in half. Roll each half into a 12- x 8-inch rectangle (about 1/8 inch thick). Cut dough into 3/4-inch-wide strips using a sharp knife or fluted pastry wheel, dipping knife in flour after each cut to ensure clean cuts. Place strips on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until edges are well browned; cool on baking sheets on wire racks 30 minutes.
For more brunch inspiration, check out these photos (provided & styled by The Stylish Steed) from a brunch party I hosted at home. Some Kinda Good, good food and good company, that’s what it’s all about!
What are your favorite springtime dishes?
Food gifts are always welcomed gifts and each year on Christmas Eve, I like to bake something delicious to give to my friends and family. Continue reading “Give the Gift of Food: Double-Drizzle Pecan Cookies”
If you’ve ever been to the Cracker Barrel gift shop, you may have noticed the Gooseberry Patch line of cookbooks. This recipe for Pecan Sugar Cookies is taken from the Christmas in the Country edition and is one of the easiest and most tasty cookie recipes I’ve ever made. With only five ingredients, these cookies come together with pantry items a well-stocked kitchen typically has on-hand. With a little patience, even the most inexperienced baker could make these. I baked them for my recent office Christmas cookie exchange and they were a hit!
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
Garnish: red and green colored sugar, pecan halves
Start by blending the butter and sugar together, then add vanilla. Gradually mix in the flour, then chill the dough for 1 hour in the fridge. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, then roll them in the colored sugar. Arrange on ungreased baking sheets; flatten with a glass until about 1/2-inch thick. Press a pecan half into the center. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen.
Thanksgiving is just two short weeks away and I’ve got a dessert that’s sure to please! My recipe for Glazed Double-Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake starts with a boxed cake mix and is filled with classic fall spices. Black coffee adds depth of flavor and canned pumpkin gives the cake a delectably moist texture, making it a wonderful addition to any holiday celebration.
A recipe is only as good as the quality of its ingredients. For the batter, I used pure vanilla extract from Cozumel, Mexico, that I picked up on vacation earlier this year. I also baked the cake using Hunter Cattle Company’s pasture-raised chicken eggs.
- Devil’s Food Cake Mix
- 1 15 oz. Can of Pumpkin
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 teaspoon of Ground Cloves
- 1 tablespoon of good vanilla
- 2 tablespoons of brewed black coffee
- 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons of flour
Confectioners’ Sugar Glaze
- 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons of Half & Half
- 1 tablespoon of good vanilla
Grease and flour a standard bundt pan. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips and flour, together using a mixer until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix flour and chocolate chips. The flour will prevent the chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom of the cake. Add chocolate chips to the Devil’s Food Cake mixture. Pour ingredients into the bundt pan and smooth the top. Bake cake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. For the glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, half & half and vanilla. The consistency should coat the back of a spoon and not be too runny. Using a spoon, drizzle glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to run down and around the sides. You may not use the entire glaze; just add it until you’re satisfied with the presentation. Serve with coffee any time of day and enjoy!
Are you baking or cooking something Some Kinda Good this Thanksgiving? If so, and you’d like to share, I’d love to see your photos. Share them with me on social media using #SKGThanksgiving.
I love the tradition of carving pumpkins in October, and roasting the pumpkin seeds afterwards is just icing on the cake. Crunchy and a great snack with a seasonal beer, using the seeds is a special little take away from the festive and fun activity.
Eat the seeds alone or sprinkle on top of a salad for added texture. You can also toss them into homemade granola, garnish your soup with them or even use them in baking! Check out these 21 Delicious Things to Do with Pumpkin Seeds from BuzzFeed Life. You can also learn what’s new and beneficial about pumpkin seeds by visiting the World’s Healthiest Foods website.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- 2-3 tablespoons of Olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
Place pumpkin seeds in a colander and rinse off all pulp. Pat seeds dry with paper towels, then place them on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle seeds with salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to toss the seeds around until they’re evenly coated. Roast in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Best enjoyed with a festive beer.
Do you have a favorite way to enjoy pumpkin seeds? I’d love to hear about it!