Category Archives: In the Kitchen

Holy Guacamole

There are a few Texas staples that cannot be overlooked: the word “y’all”, which can be used in practically any and every sentence appropriately South of the Red River.  Cowboy boots–a fashion statement and a practical work boot, all in one. And, any and all things that have the addition of avocado; tacos, migas, and most common: guacamole. Now, I actually do not (at all) care for avocado, the texture and consistency is a little much for me….but guacamole is something I am coming around to (commence Texas-sized celebration). The addition of tomato and onion for texture and a generous dose of lime and cilantro for a kick of flavor makes avocados a much more appealing concept, while still remaining chalk-full of health benefits (hello, there, omega-3 fatty acids!). There is no recipe that we adhere to for guacamole, but we try to get as creative as possible for added texture and flavor. Basic ingredients include avocado, lime, tomato, onion, cilantro and salt to taste…you also cannot go wrong with garlic. Ever. For my gauc, I like to go heavy on lime and cilantro, and also add something with a little more spice (cayenne pepper, perhaps?). Add some tortilla chips and a Shiner and you have yourself a Texas-approved appetizer!

*Note: If you want the BEST (yes, high-claim) guacamole around, go ask my sister for her recipe. It’s unbeatable.


Enchiladas Con Pollo

Sometimes life calls for Mexican food. And I tend to answer that call…with my mom’s enchilada recipe from one of her favorite cookbooks. Hello, Deliciousness.

twoThis recipe is easy, and the great thing about it is that it can be multiplied to accommodate a larger party–something I took advantage of when I made it this time around. Also, this recipe is basic, but depending on who I make it for, I like to add jalapenos, onion, or cilantro for an extra kick of flavor. Continue reading

Sweet Potato Bisque


I love soup. And considering the Dallas weather is getting more mild by the day, I am taking advantage of as many cozy soup recipes as I can before the season dictates cookouts and corn on the cob (which, by the way, I am not complaining about!).

But anyway. Back to this recipe that, yes, I did find on my fave food blog. I really need to branch out…

But could you really resist a recipe that basically calls for cinnamon toast croutons? Um, yeah. I don’t think so. This recipe was easy, and other than one colossal mistake, went off without a hitch and turned out deliciously! Continue reading

Grilled Cheese {With a Twist}

Raise your hand if you like brussels sprouts. {I have two in the air}

Wait. Don’t check out just yet. These sandwiches are good. Like, really good. And easy. And, at the end of a very long day, who doesn’t want a scrumptious yet simple meal? Um, yes please!

I got the original recipe here, and the only adaptation I made was to substitute manchego for havarti cheese. And if we are being honest here, the only reason I did not use havarti is because while shopping at the store on the phone—oh my goodness, never a good idea!—I could not find havarti, nor could I easily ask for it, soooo I improvised. And it turned out splendidly. But don’t take my word for it, Abbie agreed! Continue reading

Add a little Spice

Today I am going to talk about broccoli. Whaaaaat?!

But it’s Tuesday. And aren’t Tuesdays supposed to miserable? Except that this recipe is NOT. In fact, it is so easy it can hardly be called a recipe…so let’s just call it delicious. A la Abbie.

Basically, here is what you do:

Preheat the oven to 425. Take some fresh broccoli; wash and cut it up, put it on foil on a pan, and add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste. Then add red pepper flakes (which I actually did not have, so I added cayenne pepper), and parmesan cheese over the top–generously, in my opinion.

Pop the concoction in the oven for 15-20 minutes and you’re DONE. It could not be any easier. Or more delicious. Seriously. Spicy, healthy broccoli? Tuesday just got a little better, didn’t it?

Comfort Food

You know those days? Those days when all you need is your comfort food, a couch, and a (insert favorite TV show) marathon? Yes. I have them, too. But, luckily, for me, my favorite comfort foods is equally therapeutic to bake. Introducing: Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.SONY DSC

Yep, that’s it. These cookies, from a recipe I am sure everyone has made, are my ultimate comfort food. Add a tall glass of milk and I am one happy camper. There are only three little changes I make to this classic recipe: I go heavy on the salt (yes, I’m that girl who prefers salty to sweet), heavy on the Vanilla Extract (because, let’s face it, it is the best ingredient ever!), and light on the chocolate chips. I am weird, but they are soooo good. Continue reading

Recipe Review {Party Edition}

In addition to a weekend full of mountain biking and helping Abbie with her move in to her new apartment in Dallas (hooray!), Brian and I co-hosted an engagement party for our friends in our home. We were so excited to share in their celebration, and loved being able to open our home for the party.

I also loved perusing my favorite food blog for recipe ideas, and, as always, she did not disappoint! I was able to snag two delicious recipes from the blog, and I am sure I will be making them both again in the near future.


Because of the craziness of preparing for this party after a work day, I was unable to snap any pics pre-party. This is the best I could do. The aftermath. We had Pirouline cookies, Popcorn Chocolate Crunch, Toasted Almond Parmesan Dip, Spinach Artichoke Dip (both served with pita chips), Bruschetta, Oreo Cake Balls and a Cherry Whiskey Smash cocktail. {I was going for equal parts cozy and festive with the menu}

Toasted Almond Parmesan Dip

Yields 1 1/2 cups (I doubled the recipe to accommodate our party, and it was a cinch)

  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 ounces mascarpone cheese (I used 8 ounces of cream cheese in lieu of macarpone…gotta work with what you have, people!)
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup sliced toasted almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (I was generous with this flavor-enhancing ingredient)
  • pinch of salt
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, mascarpone, salt, pepper, nutmeg, parmesan and 1/2 cup almonds. Mix with a spoon to combine, then press into a baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with remaining almonds. Serve with crackers and pita chips!

This was delicious and incredibly easy! Perfect for any party.

Florentine Artichoke Dip (courtesy of Karen’s Kitchen)

Yield: 4 cups

spinach artichoke dip

  • 1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 2 (6 ½  oz) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 ½ (8 oz) pkg. light  cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • 3 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Drain spinach; press between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture. (I just squeeze out the moisture through a colander or sieve). Combine spinach, artichoke hearts, and next 5 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well.  Spoon into a lightly greased 11” x 7” baking dish.  Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese if desired. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Serve with assorted crackers, bagel chips, or bread sticks.

karen's dip

This recipe is another Mahoney Family favorite, and will definitely make you think twice about ordering spinach artichoke dip off a restaurant menu in the future.



Unfortunately, this is a secret family recipe from Karen’s Kitchen…and I did not even get a chance to grab a picture of the finished product before it disappeared. But, come over anytime and I will make you this delicious hors d’oeuvre!

Oreo Cake Balls

oreo cake balls

These are just wow.

And could not be easier. Seriously.

melting chocolate

  • 1 package regular Oreos
  • 1-8oz block of cream cheese, softened
  • (Godiva dark chocolate–I accidentally picked up the peppermint crunch version–it was a hit!)


In a food processor, mix Oreos until they become crumbs. Add cream cheese in chunks and process until you have a dough. Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet. Set in the freezer or refrigerator to harden for 1-2 hours.

Once Oreo balls are set, dip in melted chocolate – chocolate, peanut butter, white chocolate, etc. Add any decoration on top.

Store in the freezer and serve cold.

cake balls

And finally, for the booze. We served beer, wine, champagne (of course!), and this cocktail. Again, going for a festive flavor, annnnd again, no pics.

But delish!

Cherry Whiskey Smash Cocktails

Yields one, is easily multiplied (you bet we did!)

1 ounce jack daniels
1 ounce cherry juice
1/2 ounce amaretto
1/2 ounce ginger brandy
2 ounces cherry cola
5 maraschino cherries

Add cherries to the bottom of the glass and muddle until smashed.Add ice.In a cocktail shaker add jack daniels, cherry juice, amaretto and brandy, shaking for 15 seconds – to combine.Pour over ice, then top off with cherry cola and stir.Serve with additional cherries if desired.

Super simple; super sweet.

All in all, it was a great hosting experience. I learned a lot (many “how-to’s” as well as many “what not to do’s”) for future entertaining; and I’ll be sure to share my discoveries in upcoming posts. Until then, cheers!