Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bible Lesson #7: It's Bananas - B-A-N-A-N-A-S... Banana Bread of Champions

Howdy y'all! I feel like I've been slacking since I haven't posted in a while, but here I am with a few new goodies just in time for the holidays (this makes a great neighborly holiday gift, wrapped up all fancy). Now, if you are like me, carbs and breads are the sunshine to my soul. A personal favorite growing up, and still today, is Banana Bread. It's moist, delicious, and always disappears really quickly at my house. After many mediocre attempts at making a perfect banana bread, I have discovered The One! So please enjoy, from one carb lover to another this holiday season.

Banana Bread


3-4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour
Optional (add walnuts - my dad's fave - too bad I'm allergic)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

No need for a fancy mixer. Mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in suger, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered/Pam'd 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on rack about 15 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely or it will be slightly doughy. Serve alone or with butter (My personal favorite to spread on it).

*Whenever I have brown bananas I'm not ready to use, I mash them up and freeze them until I'm ready to make some bread. They defrost super quickly in a bowl of warm water. 

Bible Lesson #6: Rolos, melt straight into my heart...

Welcome to the mind of a vivacious, hungry, collage-aged girl. Boys - chocolate is the cure for everything. Caramel, too? Why, yes please!

These are the only ingredients! (Minus an egg, I got a little crazy in this pic)

This is my go-to east-peasy cookie recipe that everyone loves - if they only knew how easy they were to make!

Rolo Cookies

1 pkg Rolo's
1 Box Devil's Food Cake Mix
2 Eggs
1/3 cup oil

This is the consistency of the mix.

Mix cake mix, oil, and eggs. Take a small ball of dough and form a ball around the rolo. (Only use enough dough to cover the rolo so it can spread through the cookie.)

Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes. Yields about 3 dozen.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Nom nom nom nom nom... gooey goodness in my belly...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bible Lesson #5: The Three C's - Cranberries, Cream Cheese, & Crackers

As before mentioned, being in my quasi-college/adult stage allows for a lot of raised eyebrows and skepticism among the next generation adults of my family when I ask these four little words going into a family party - "What can I bring/make?" Sometimes, it is nice to not have to worry about appeasing the masses (or my family) with some food item that those raised eyebrows are ready to pounce on. However, I've been feeling quite saucy and daring lately and decided to just bring a dish without being asked. Courageous or stupidity? That's still out for debate. However, this time consequently ended in a successful venture, or experiment would probably be a more appropriate word... phew.

Cranberry Salsa Dip:

1   12 oz package fresh cranberries
1/4 C green onion, chopped
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper
1 1/4 C sugar
1/4 t cumin
2 T lemon juice
dash salt
2   8 oz packages cream cheese


1. Put your cranberries in a food processor.
(blender doesn't work well, use the processor or
chop yourself)
2. Chop up your green onion, cilantro, and jalapeno
pepper into small pieces.
3. Add all ingredients (but the cream cheese and
the wheat thins) into a bowl. Mix them all together,
cover and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
The sugar needs some time to soak in to the
cranberries and break up their bitter taste.
4. When you are ready to serve, place your cream
cheese bricks on a plate.
5. Spread the cream cheese out as evenly as you
6. Pour your cranberry mixture over the cream
7. Spread it all around.
8. Serve immediately with Wheat Thins, Ritz
Crackers or Tortilla Chips.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bible Lesson #4: Shooter McGavin is Here for Breakfast

One of my favorite simple pleasures in this life is Sunday brunch at a local cafe right by my house. It's such a welcoming, delicious, and might I add -from my poor college student perspective- cheap little hot spot. While everything on their menu is divine and fresh off their grill, lately their Shooter breakfast sandwich has been titillating and tempting my taste buds. But, let's be honest, it was one of those days when I just didn't have any motivation to put on any pants, so I stayed home and attempted to brain-storm how to get what I wanted without wearing any pants. And here is my solution. Please enjoy my own version (inspired by the one and only Billy Madison) of this Shooter McGavin sandwich.

Hole-in-one for Mr. Shooter McGavin

For 1 sandwich - 

2 slices of bread
1 egg
3-4 pieces bacon (optional, but trust me - you'll want it!)
butter/spread for the bread & eggs
some shredded cheese to sprinkle on top


-If you choose to cook/add the bacon to your sandwich, cook that first and then set aside to drip some of the grease off first.

Heat a small pan with some melted butter to fry the eggs (You can leave egg as is, or scramble it like mine). While the eggs are frying, warm up another, yet larger pan -  for the bread. Spread some butter on one side of each piece of toast, grill in the larger frying pan.

(Just grilling some bread in my AMAZING Paula Deen Cookware)
Once egg and bread are done, assemble. Once slice of bread, the egg, the cheese, some bacon, and the last slice on top. And that my friends, is all in the hips.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bible Lesson #3: Snap Crackle & Pop! Cake Batter Rice Crispies Treats

Being on the cusp of graduating college and joining adulthood, there is one thing that my college days have taught me - there is no midnight (or daytime) snack that you are too old for. While I have always been a fan of the original, gooey, and easy treats, I decided let's take it to the next level, and oh did we go there!

Yes - you may start drooling now, just don't get any on my treat!

 This is a super simple recipe to follow and fun to make/eat with the kids or a treat for yourself. It follows pretty closely with the original Rice-Crispies treat recipe, if you are familiar.


4 Tbsp butter
1 package small marshmallows (10.5 oz bag)
1/3 - 1/2 cup yellow cake mix powder
6 cups rice crispie puffs cereal
1 bottle sprinkles (I prefer Non Pareils)


Melt butter in a large pan on the stove. Begin stirring in marshmallows until melted. Right before it is completely melted together, start adding the cake mix powder in partial increments. Once all melted and mixed together, remove from heat and mix in well the cereal so that it is all covered. While stirring cereal in, add about half of the sprinkles.

Place in a 9x13 PAM'd pan, or a large travel Ziploc/GLAD container, or however you want to serve it. Sprinkle the rest of the sprinkles on top of the rice-crispies and lightly press down so they'll stick to the gooey goodness.

Let it set up about 10-15 minutes before serving... if you can resist that long.

*NoteIf they grow somewhat hard like they do at my house (if they make it that long!), cut out the size you want and throw in the microwave about 10 seconds to warm up the gooey goodness and make it just like when you first made it.

Bible Lesson #2: Funeral Potatoes are a Joyous Occasion

Now don't let the name startle you or deter you from making these simple yet oh so mouth-watering potatoes. Where I grew up this particular dish finds its way to the table at many a funerals (and especially Sunday dinners). It's a Northern delight. Once you try these, you will have died and gone to heaven and want these served at your own funeral! So whenever someone hollers out that they are craving some Funeral Potatoes, don't be concerned - get hungry!

I just had to try some right away... might have burned my mouth but so worth it!


1 2lb. package frozen shredded Hash Browns
8 oz. sour cream
1 small can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cube of butter
1/2 C. chopped onion
2 C. grated Cheddar Cheese (I like a  nice Colby-Jack blend myself)*


Preheat oven to 350 *
Place potatoes in a greased 9X13 inch pan. Season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl. Once melted, add chopped onions, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup. Mix these items together.

Pour soup mixture over potatoes; sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees or until it's all completely warm and the cheese begins to melt.

Bible Lesson #1: Fried Pork Chops with Tomato Gravy & Split Spuds

First attempts can always be somewhat nerve-racking, but this time = success! I decided to start out strong with this recipe and just jump in. These pork chops have turned into one of my Favorite dishes, I've remade them about 3 times in the past month, and my roommates and friends told me they were belonged in the top 2 pork chops (restaurant included) they had ever had... soooooo good - and super easy! Make you and your man happy with this little number. Also I posted the recipe below for these easy and yummy baked potatoes with a flare. Dig in!

Fried Pork Chops w/ Tomato Gravy & Split Spuds & Veggies - YUM!

Lady's Fried Pork Chops & Tomato Gravy:

4 bone-in center-cut pork chops (1 inch thick, ½ pound each)
Salt and black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 ½ cup chicken broth or water
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained


Lightly sprinkle the chops on both sides with salt and black pepper, sprinkler with the garlic powder. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chops and cook, without moving, until a dark golden crust forms on the bottom of each, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip the chops and cook 5 minutes more. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
Add the butter in the skillet and melt. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Go ahead and reduce the heat if the onions start to brown too quickly. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, then the broth or water. Simmer the mixture until thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Spoon the sauce over the pork chops and serve up to a hungry family.
Jess' Split Spuds:
4 Medium Size Potatoes
2 - 3 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Butter
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Put the potato on a chopping board, flat side down. Start from one end of the potato, cut almost all the way through, at about 3 to 4 mm intervals.

Arrange the potatoes in a baking tray and insert the garlic in between the slits. Scatter some butter on top of each potato. Then drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake the potatoes for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes turn crispy and the flesh is soft.

The First of Many... And a little about the cook

Howdy y'all! So welcome to my blog! This blog was formed as an inspiration to share my writing as well as to share with you one of my passions for life - cooking. Here I will be sharing recipes from myself, as well as from my family and grandma's secret book, also from one of my personal inspirations, Ms. Paula Deen, a.k.a. The Lady. I'll be using a combination of my own contributions as well as from her new Southern Cooking Bible.

Here is a little about myself:

I am girl. I am single. I am cook.

Well, now I’m sure you’re thinking this is just the recipe to get married!  So does my mother, grandmother, and so on and so forth. But here is the reality: I’m a young single adult with ambition and a newfound love for cooking and loving life. 

That’s the beginning and end of my story (for right now…). I am often referred to among my friends as the “mom” of the group. I cook and take care of everyone as if they were my own. I pretend to take offense to the label, but in all reality, I love it! I love that I can be there to take care of them and to be associated with something very dear to their heart. Moms are the ones who taught us everything that we know, whether we are willing to admit it or not. I’m even admitting that I’ve had my fair share of under my breath mumblings of “you’re right, mom” with the obligatory, make no eye contact, look-away glance down. I’ve got to try and keep some pride intact, ok?

Anyway, back to the story… so I’m a girl. I grew up on a farm, in an environment where the women in the household were primarily the cleaners, cookers, and child raisers, etcetera. Very Little House on the Prairie. Now call me old fashioned, but heck - that’s what they did, no ifs ands or buts. I can’t recall ever seeing my own father cook unless it involved a dutch-oven or a waitress. And to see him wash a dish? Don’t make me laugh! I really struggled with this concept growing up. I wanted to be with the boys out in the field and getting dirty, not stuck at home. That was sooo boring! But maybe my parents weren’t all that awful, because now I have grown very grateful for the skills that I learned cooped up in the house. I can scrub a toilet to sparkle like a porcelain treasure chest, vacuum like I’m an Olympian sucker, and cook to keep my man happy.

Wait! Did I say man? That was just a slip of the tongue. That’s where the single comes in. I’m still working on finding the man whose stomach (aka heart) is connected to my cooking. I have discovered over the years that however much my parents, grandparents, and culture emphasize how my happiness is connected to my getting married, happiness has to be found from within first. Along with this discovery, I have picked up a few things along the way and am still learning. 

So climb on in and continue this bumpy journey along with me, it's gonna be a delicious ride.