Iced Pumpkin Cookies Tantalize the Senses

Iced Pumpkin Cookies
Iced Pumpkin Cookies are filled with dried cranberries, granola, white chocolate chips and warm spices.

Isn’t it funny how powerful our senses can be? My family takes a trip to the Tennessee Mountains every fall and you can’t drive very far up there without seeing a pancake house. The smell alone puts me in a good mood.  On a cool mountain morning, who can pass up the scent of crispy bacon, cane syrup and stacks of buttery, fluffy and warm silver dollar pancakes?  Continue reading “Iced Pumpkin Cookies Tantalize the Senses”

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Episode 6 of SKG-TV: Perfect Sweet Tea Every Time

“Sweet tea should not be like drinking cane syrup. It is meant to be a refreshing, cold beverage that does not put you into a diabetic coma.” – Rebekah on Perfect Sweet Tea Every Time, Episode 6 of SKG-TV

Continue reading “Episode 6 of SKG-TV: Perfect Sweet Tea Every Time”

Episode 4 of SKG-TV: Grilled Panzanella Salad

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Grilled Panzanella is an Italian salad that celebrates summer’s garden bounty. 

Continue reading “Episode 4 of SKG-TV: Grilled Panzanella Salad”

Take-Along Sugar Berries with Fresh Mint

Breakfast during the work week is often compromised by too little time. The truth is, I often fall prey to the drive thru at my local coffee shop, ordering a blueberry scone and a $7 latte, then I’m off to the Office. Continue reading “Take-Along Sugar Berries with Fresh Mint”

What to Cook This Week: Italian Chicken in Red Wine

One of the skills I’m learning in culinary school is how to fabricate meats. What once was a very intimidating process, is now a proficient experience. I can honestly say I’m comfortable with butchering a whole chicken! Continue reading “What to Cook This Week: Italian Chicken in Red Wine”

5 Farmers’ Market Recipes to Make Right Now

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Poor Robin Gardens from Screven, County is one of my favorite vendors to purchase produce from at the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers’ Market. Meet Ricardo, the farmer!

The return of the Farmers’ Market for me each season is just about as exciting as Christmas Day. With fresh herbs and local produce on my mind, I love getting up on Saturday morning, throwing on my yoga pants, a tank top, a pair of favorite flip flops and my over-sized sunglasses and heading out the door. Sometimes, I even pack up my 11-pound Shih Tzu, Ewok, and we ride with the radio up and the windows down on the way.  Continue reading “5 Farmers’ Market Recipes to Make Right Now”

Wake Up Dinner with Chili-Lime Jalapeno Corn

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When certain fresh vegetables are not in season, frozen ones are the next best thing – and March just so happens to be National Frozen Food Month. Today, I’m taking this opportunity to share my favorite side dish: Chili-Lime Jalapeno Corn. Continue reading “Wake Up Dinner with Chili-Lime Jalapeno Corn”

The Waffle Iron Movement

Cinnamon Roll Waffles make a quick & surprising breakfast.
Cinnamon Roll “Waffles” make a quick & surprisingly good breakfast.

I’ve never been one to show a lot of interest in food trends or new kitchen gadgets, but there’s one craze on food TV lately that’s got my attention. For all intents and purposes, we’re going to call it The Waffle Iron Movement. Have you seen the chatter? Evidently, the waffle iron, that little machine we plug into the wall to make fluffy buttermilk waffles, is capable of so much more. I’d like to preface this post by saying today’s “recipe” requires zero cooking ability.

Enter canned cinnamon rolls.

Who knew this was possible?
Who knew this was possible?

The Food Network’s Sunny Anderson taught me this trick while I was watching The Kitchen earlier this week. As they say on the show, “I tried it, and I liked it!” Essentially, the waffle iron can cook cinnamon rolls in less than half the time it takes to cook them in the oven. And yes, the waffle iron cooks them all the way through.

Pop the cinnamon rolls on a greased waffle iron, and shut it. Simple.
Pop the cinnamon rolls on a greased waffle iron, and shut it. Simple.

When cooked, the cinnamon rolls take on a crunchy exterior and remain tender on the inside. It’s amazing how this works!

Crispy, cinnamon roll "waffle" goodness.
In less than two minutes, you have crispy, cinnamon roll “waffle” goodness.

How’s that for breakfast on-the-go? Golden brown with great texture, you don’t even have to worry about the dough oozing out from the sides of the waffle iron. Clean up is easy!

Allow the icing to serve as your syrup.
Allow the icing to serve as your syrup.

They look and taste like real waffles. Ideal for college students in a dorm room, or apartment dwellers with galley kitchens, this trick is super fun. Plus, using an appliance to create something it wasn’t designed for makes me feel like a true rebel. I’m living on the edge these days.

Some Kinda Good approved!
Some Kinda Good approved!

Now, I’m not saying this idea trumps the good ol’ cinnamon roll every time. There’s not too much that can replace the soft, ooey-gooey pleasure that a properly cooked cinnamon roll elicits. But, if you’re in a hurry (and who isn’t in the mornings?), this trick is worth the minimal effort. Are you likely to try it?


While that waffle iron is hot, you may want to try Bobby Flay’s Peanut Butter French Toast “Waffles” with Mixed Berry Sauce, or The Pioneer Woman’s Waffle Maker Quesadilla.

Have you used your waffle iron or another kitchen appliance for something inventive lately? Let me know in the comments below!

Three Thanksgiving Side Dishes For Your Family Table

With the biggest food holiday of the year just days away, I’ve got three side dishes to enliven your family feast. Each recipe offers something unique: 1) a family tradition, 2) a restaurant-inspired side dish and 3) an original. From sweet to savory, I’ve got you covered! Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving at home or traveling, cook up one of these Southern sides, and you’ll have everyone chowing down with gratitude. Continue reading “Three Thanksgiving Side Dishes For Your Family Table”

Holiday Cheese Ball with Sweet Heat

imageThe cheese ball. What a great concept…a ball of cheese. Who wouldn’t want to eat that?

It’s one of those appetizers that’s always present at family gatherings in the South, especially around the holidays. I’ve seen savory cheese balls and sweet cheese balls. There’s a variety of different recipes out there, but this one comes from Mama with a few of my own touches. I contributed this cheese ball to my office Christmas party and it was a hit! It has pops of red and green color for the holidays, and it’s versatile. You can add or take away whatever flavors you like. Spreadable and creamy, this cheese ball has crunch and sweet heat. It’s cold and satisfying.

The cheese ball comes together quickly and is edible right away, but has a more firm texture when chilled. I recommend making it a day ahead and letting it set up in the fridge overnight. If you’re short on time, 30 minutes to an hour will do.

Ingredients

  • 1 8-oz block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup of pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • A few jarred jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • A tablespoon of jarred jalapeno pepper juice
  • A handful of maraschino cherries, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/2 of a green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion (I used purple for the color, but a sweet Vidalia onion would be great too)
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Braswell’s Green Pepper Jelly
  • 1/4 cup of pepitas (Pumpkin seeds)
  • Seasoned salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Georgia pecans, toasted and chopped

Directions
Dry roast pecans in a saute pan over medium heat, flipping occasionally until fragrant and golden (5-10 minutes). Set aside. Using a hand mixer, blend the cheeses together until incorporated. Add in remaining ingredients, reserving the pecans for the outside, and season with seasoned salt and pepper. Blend on low-speed until everything is incorporated. Turn the mixture out onto plastic wrap and form it into a ball. Remove the plastic wrap and roll the ball in the chopped pecans until covered. Let chill. Serve with buttery crackers, like Ritz, toasted bread or even Scoops tortilla chips.

Note: If you’re using a food processor to chop your onion and bell pepper, be sure to drain any natural water from the vegetables before adding them to the mixture. Additional water will make your cheese ball runny, and you wouldn’t want that.  

Presentation
Serve the cheese ball on a round dish if you have one! It enhances the natural shape of the appetizer and is fun to surround with crackers. Presentation is everything! I served the cheese ball with snowflake-shaped crackers for a little Christmas cheer, but this recipe is wonderful year around with whatever kind of crackers you like. Enjoy!

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