Cake Batter Dip


There is a magical place in the panhandle of Texas.  It’s a small place, just right off a typical street, but it is where the sun is always shining  and happiness is abound.  Angels descend and brush their wings against the magical whisks and spoons of a dessert place.

One of my favorite places in town (besides my bed) is a pie bar where you basically get to eat a delicious reconstructed pie in a glass with crumbly crusts, whipped mouse fillings, and lots of toppings.  It’s magical.  It’s delicious.  I try to limit myself from walking through those doors as much as possible because once I am in, I cannot physically stop myself from chowing down.  Nor do I want to.

I have often pondered how they work their magic on that pie filling.  Now I have found a way, if purely by accident.  This cake dip is full of cake batter flavor, light, and decadent all at once.  You will fall in love with your first bite.

This dip is really as easy as it looks.  And as dangerous as it looks too- once you start, you will have a hard time stopping. Luckily, it is a little bit lighter with Greek yogurt. Plus, protein- so it’s basically a pretty good meal.

I am off to go make more of this now, please do the same.


Barely Adapted from Ari’s Menu

16 ounces Greek yogurt
12 ounces whipped cream (Cool Whip perfectly acceptable)
2 cups yellow cake mix
Sprinkles, for topping


In a bowl combine Greek yogurt, whipped cream, and cake mix.  Fold together until just combined.  Stir in sprinkles if desired.  Serve with pretzels, vanilla wafers, fruit, or Ritz crackers (my personal favorite).

Fig and Walnut Empanadas

2-17 Fig and Walnut Empanadas

Food cravings- I get them all the time. Sometimes I crave a salad, or some veggies, and that is great- my body thirsts for nutrition when I deprive it too long. And sometimes I just need some chocolate, red meat, or salty potato chips. Fine too, a little snacking and indulgence never hurt anyone. But the worst cravings are when I crave food I ate in another city. I’m looking at you, beaver tails

Well, practically every time I head home to Houston, I stop at this amazing empanada place. In fact, last trip, it was the first stop in town. I was grouchy and “witchy” after a long drive home, but all that grumpiness melted away as we stopped and I took my first bite into my empanada.

But what’s a girl to do when she is grumpy at home with no empanadas to listen the mood? Well, make her own! The emapanda dough I use is quick to whip up, only takes a little chill time the refrigerator, and is very easy to work with. Cheese and fig may seem weird, but think of it as a warm cheese plate wrapped in pastry dough. It just works. Then dollop some of your favorite fillings, bake, and devour.

Inspired by Marini’s Empanada House


For the Crust:

1/2 cup water
5 ounces butter
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of salt

For the Empanadas:
3/4 cup fig preserves
1/2 cup chopped walnits
3-5 ounces fresh mozzarella, shredded


For the Crust:

In a small saucepan combine water and butter. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted.

In a bowl combine flour and salt. Slowly pour in butter mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a wet, oily paste forms. Pour dough onto a sheet of cling wrap. Wrap cling wrap around dough, forming into a disk. Chill for at least 1 1/2 hours, preferably 2 hours.

For the Empanadas:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Divide the dough into 20-25 small equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 4-5 inch circle. Place about 2 teaspoons of fig preserves in the center of each piece of dough. Sprinkle walnuts and mozzarella cheese on top. Fold over the dough tightly, forming a half moon shape. Crimp closed with a fork.

Place on lined baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes. Bake for 18-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool slightly before eating.

**To reheat, I have found the empanadas still get a crispy shell when you bake as directed above, let cool and store at room temperature, and reheat for 5-7 minutes at 400°F.

Makes 20-25 empanadas.

Huevos Motuleños


I can get tired of eating the same food over and over. Not other people though it seems. My sister typically rotates between cooking 1-3 meals for herself, and my boyfriend literally asks to eat pizza for dinner every other day.

But I need variety in life. Except when it comes to Tex-Mex. I could eat chips and queso, enchiladas, nachos, and tacos all week long. Pair it with a frozen margarita and that’s even better. There is so much variety even within Tex Mex that I can be satisfied, but the familiar base of cheese, spicy sauces, and salsa is the best.

When I saw this recipe on The Chew, I knew I had to make it. Now, this is not a quick 30 minute dinner. It has several steps and involves frying, which means you got to clean up oil (Ugh. The worst). But the flavor is great- crunchy, spicy, creamy, and rich. It is a great homemade meal when you want to cook something special for your Tex-Mex.

Adapted from Mario Batali at The Chew


Olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1/4 pound Chorizo (not in casings)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 – 2 cups refried beans
1 plaintain & 1/2 cup light brown sugar, optional
6-8 small flour tortillas
Canola oil, for deep frying
3-4 eggs
Avocado, sliced
Cojita cheese, crumbled


Coat a large skillet in olive oil. Heat over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes. Season slightly with salt and pepper. Stir in Chorizo and cook until browned, about 3-5 more minutes. Stir in tomatoes. Remove and drain excess oil from mixture.

For optional plaintains: Slice plaintains. Coat plantain slices in brown sugar. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat coated well with olive oil. Fry plantain slices until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Pour 1/2-1 inch of oil into a skillet. Heat over medium heat until oil is approximately 300°F. Place tortillas in oil one at a time and fry each side until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels. Set aside and keep warm (can be kept warm in a 200°F oven but keep your eye on them to make sure they don’t burn).

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Coat pan with olive oil. Crack eggs individually into pan (be careful not to over crowd eggs- work in batches if needed) and fry eggs for 1-2 minutes. Flip eggs (carefully to avoid breaking yolks) and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

To assemble Huevos Motuleños:

Place a fried flour tortilla on a plate. Spread refried beans on top. Spoon chorizo filling on top. Sprinkle cojita cheese and avocado slices on top. Top with additional fried tortilla, if desired. Top with fried egg. Serve with fried plantains, if using.

Carmelized Onion, Tomato, and Goat Cheese Tartlets


Ina Garten was the lady who first helped me realize that homemade food can be just as delicious, if not more so, than eating out. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love eating out. I can never resist the temptation to hit up my favorite spot for local margaritas and chips, and no homemade popcorn tastes as good and artery clogging as movie theater popcorn. But in my teenage years, Ina Garten’s recipes showed me I can cook, and it can taste good.

I first made these tarts when my friends and I back home got together for weekly cooking nights the summer after our freshman year in college. We went through many of Ina’s recipes (hello roasted potato and leek soup) that I have made multiple times since. These tarts were also part of my first dinner I made entirely by myself for my parents and my aunt.

These tarts are pretty simple but involve a few steps to prep. But they turn out great. I made mine a smaller side to serve as a side dish this time, but they are great when you make ’em bigger and serve as a meal with salad or soup.

Slightly Adapted from Ina Garten


2 onions, thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons white wine
2 teaspoons dried thyme
Salt and pepper
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2-4 ounces goat cheese
Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tomatoes, sliced
Herbs de Provence


Preheat oven to 425°F. Prepare baking sheets.

In pan, combine olive oil and onions. Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Stir in white wine, thyme, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.

Roll out sheet of puff pastry slightly. Cut into small tart-size squares (about 1 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch). Place on prepared baking sheets. Spoon onion mixture evenly across tarts. Place tomato slices on top. Crumble goat cheese and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

Bake for 20-15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Sprinkle herbs de Provence on top. Serve warm.

Blueberry Raspberry Crumble


Summah time, it’s not quite the same as it was back in high school or college. Work still goes on (although I am enjoying just working and not having to take classes on top of it). But there are still some bonuses of summer even if work still goes on as normal. One, I have gotten some good color out in the sun. Two, BBQs and s’mores. Three, fruit.

Summer brings so much good fresh fruit. And summits you got to take that fruit, bake it, and eat it with lots of vanilla ice cream. This crumble is so simple but such a delicious way to follow up a dinner outside or BBQ. I have made it multiple times, and it never disappoints a crowd. Warm, juicy berry with creamy cold ice cream. Perfection.

When I eat it, it almost feels as good as those days when I did absolutely nothing productive for 3 months in a row.

From Cinnamon Freud/my mom


6 cups raspberries and/or blueberries
2 teaspoons flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons butter, cut into small pieces


Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 9-inch pie pan.

In a large bowl, combine berries, flour, and lemon juice. Pour into pie pan.

In a food processor, add flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, and butter. Pulse until butter form pea-size peaces. Pour and press mixture on top of berries. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly. Let cool slightly. Serve warm with ice cream.

Sweet and Salty Almonds

Hello…hello anyone out there? It has been quite a busy few months (internshipinternshipinternship), and honestly, much of the time when I am cooking dinner i was just too lazy to prepare natural light, plate the food pretty, and take a picture. So I have still been cooking- albeit a little less creatively due to a certain picky-eater boy who has been hanging around, but excuses, excuses.

Enough is enough- time to get back in the kitchen more and dust off my old camera. I realzied that I missed having a blog to “store” my recipes open, and it’s time to get things back up and running. So let’s start with these almonds. I have made them multiple times, and each batch disappears faster than you can say “so stressed about internship applications.” Sweet, salty, and spicy (if you want). These are a great snack food. And it’s almonds, so really, it’s pretty healthy.


Slightly Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats


2 cups whole almonds
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon canola oil
Cayenne pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 250°F. Line baking sheet with foil.

Combine soy sauce, light brown sugar, and cayenne pepper in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Stir in almonds and and canola oil. Cook until liquid has been absorbed, 4-5 minutes approximately.

Spread almonds onto baking sheet in single layer (may need more than on baking sheet, depending on the size). Bake until crisped, 8-12 minutes. Let cool and store in seal container for snacking.

Lemon Couscous with Avocado, Currants, and Almonds


Earlier this semester I had a food challenge to meet: I needed a quiet dinner food.

Once a week I have a night class that is during and far past dinner, and the professor’s one request is that we bring in quiet food as to not disturb our classmates as we ate.  The first few classes I brought in salads, figuring there would be a little crunch, but I had cut my food into small pieces and used soft toppings- and my lettuce was often old and limp so quieter than it could have been.

Well, salad was deemed a little bit too loud, so I went back to the drawing board.  I sat down and took a moment to ponder: “what foods are quiet foods?”.  After some deep reflection, it came to me: avocado. Avocado: the ultimate quiet, delicious, and filling food.  Thus, this salad was born out of a desperation for solitude and has been eaten once a week during class ever since.

Although I often leave the almonds off because of the crunch factor.

Adapted from Erin’s Food Files


1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup warm water
1 cup dried couscous
1 teaspoon aloppa pepper (or cumin as alternative spice)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 small avocados, diced
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted


Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium to medium low heat until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, soak currants in the water. Pour currants and water with onions and cook until liquid is evaporated. Set onion mixture aside.

Cook couscous according instructions. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in onion mixture, aloppa pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Cook for an additional 1-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in avocado (salt avocado if needed).

Serves 3-4.

Corn Muffins


Well, my friends, it is my 1st anniversary today.  While I may be celebrating by not cooking, here is the first recipe I made for my boyfriend.  He loves cornbread, so I made these for him to take to a BBQ he was going to.

They are the best corn muffins/form of cornbread I have ever made.  Never dry and sweet (just how I like my cornbread).  I ate a test one, and it was great.  So he took them and returned later that day and informed me that he tried a few bites but he couldn’t eat a whole one because the recipe includes sour cream.

Yep. Here’s to love.

Barely Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated


2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk (preferably whole milk)


Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a prepare a muffin pan.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.

In a second bowl, whisk eggs for approximately 20 seconds until combined a lightly colored. Add sugar and whisk until evenly incorporated for approximately 30 seconds. Add butter in 3 parts, whisking until combined after each addition. Add half of the sour cream and half of the milk. Whisk to combine. Add remaining sour cream and milk, whisk to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, mix until batter is just together. Use an ice cream scoop to place mounds into prepared muffin pan. Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, 16019 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire wrack and cool for five additional minutes.