Campfire Chicken Chili

We went camping in Joshua Tree the weekend before Thanksgiving! It was super cold (for people who are used to 75 + at all times but super fun. Me and Ricky (husband) went with Laura (sister) and Avery (niece). Joshua Tree is a unique place with it’s very own trees named after it. One of the things that stands out to me is the quiet. These trees do not rustle. The landscape seems barren at times, but then there’s these interesting rock formations that are fun to climb and sit on and take pictures.

  

Pretty much all of our family vacations growing up were hiking/camping trips. Laura and I didn’t always appreciate it but we got to see a lot of beautiful places – Zion, Yellowstone, Glacier, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite and many others! There was a lot of hiking going on and a lot of things to go and see. Like giant copper mine pits (butte, montana) and native americans selling jewelry on cliffs overlooking a magnificent valley (canyon de chelly). We complained frequently about all the walking and doing. Don’t get me wrong- we had fun and appreciated the places we saw but there was definitely whining  and a lot of why-can’t-we-just-sit-in-this-hotel-room-a-little-longers going on. I remember going on a trip to Palm Springs with Kara’s family (best friend) in high school and we just sat by the pool alllll day. I was amazed. I couldn’t believe there were no excursions, no one telling us what to do, no one hurrying us along. Just wake up, eat some entenmanns and put on your bathing suit. I loved it.

Looking back, I am so grateful for all the trips my parents took us on. They were such special times and I mostly didn’t know it then. Now I have the same notion driving me on trips as my parents had: sitting around = wasting time. To some extent anyways. There is definitely a balance that needs to be had- relaxing is important! I love hiking now and I appreciate camping despite its obvious frustrations. I have a special place in my heart for native american jewlery + art because it reminds me of our family vacations. And most of the trips I want to take in the next few years are ones like we took growing up. Long road trips with lots to see on the way and lots of hikes.

In all honestly, I did however, wake up and tell Richard: “I hate camping, I’m never doing this again.” I’m dramatic like that. But then I went outside felt the fresh morning air and saw this and was like, “Camping is awesome!”

Like I said earlier, our trip was GREAT. We went hiking, made smore’s, watched the Joshua Tree episode of Huell Howser and saw a kangaroo rat. But most importantly we ate GOOD food (i.e. this chicken chili!). 

Shredded chicken, zucchini, white beans and sweet corn snuggle up with all the other usual chili suspects: tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, spices, etc. I’m in love with this chili. It’s super easy and somehow manages to be comforting + hearty yet also feel fresh + healthy.

Another thing about our family trips: they often revolved around food. When we went to the Central Coast, it was all about making sure we got to eat at everyone’s favorite restaurants. There is some good eating up there. When we camped, we still ate good. My dad made his homemade spaghetti sauce, we’d have french toast, freshly grated cheese for stuff and roasted breakfast potatoes.

But back to the chili: I prepped all the ingredients at home and cooked the chili at the campsite. Mostly because I wanted to try making a gif of the cooking process and thought it would look cooler outside lol but you can totally make it at home and just put in a ziploc or freezer safe container and throw it in your ice chest. I’ve done that before too and it works just fine. 

To me, this is a perfect recipe: It is so easy, most of the ingredients you probably already have and oh yeah its DELICIOUS. Just try it. Okay I talked too much and use too many colons, bye!

Ingredients:

  • 1, 28 oz can crushed or whole tomatoes
  • 1, 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1, 15 oz can white beans
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tbsp garlic powder)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Heat large cast-iron skillet over medium-high, add butter or oil. Once heated, add onion + bell pepper. Cook for 5 min, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini, corn + white beans. Stir to combine. Add both cans of tomatoes, spices + chicken. Stir to combine (break up tomatoes if you used whole).
  2. Allow to cook over medium heat, uncovered for about 20 minutes before serving. You can let it simmer even longer if you like. It will just taste better and better.
  3. Serve with sour cream, avocado, cheese + corn bread on the side if you wish.

*Serves 6

Notes/Ideas:

  • I used to use black beans in this but I only had white and loved them so much I am using them in the official recipe. You could use any bean as far as I’m concerned.
  • I highly recommend using a rotisserie chicken, because 1. its easier, 2. it just shreds up better than any chicken I ever make myself. But if you don’t want to use one or you can’t, I would say its about 2 cups of cooked chicken.
  • Side note, we went out to breakfast one of the mornings and man this place knows what they are doing. It’s called Crossroads Cafe :)))) ps. I really wish I noticed the rogue beans on the edge of the plate before I took this.

🙂

<3 Becky

Butternut Squash Lasagna

I hate the word “content”. In reference to blogs and social media businesses anyways. It just feels like something gimmicky and insincere. Like you’re just creating stuff so people will be interested in you. People being interested in you is great and I’d be lying if I said I don’t care one bit if I never gain any sort of following with this, but I just don’t want that to be my main motivation. And hearing content, content, content, you have to create content! makes me stressed and feel like agh! What if I run out? What if I want to talk about something uncool like soggy salad or eggs with corn in them? Does this mean I have to start saying things like “this cake is everything” or “it gives me all the feels?” Because, no thank you. Maybe I just don’t feel cool enough to even call my stuff “content”. I’m pretty late to the food blogging party and feel inadequate right now. But I am doing this because I genuinely love food and get satisfaction from creating things. I love measuring ingredients, chopping things, frosting cakes and taking pretty pictures of the stuff I make. Above all, I really just want to create something that I am proud of and for me that means being honest. Honest in my writing and in my recipes. Not just saying and doing things to get people to like me. Though if people do, I won’t complain. Hehe.

Moving on! Thanksgiving is almost here! It’s one of my favorite holidays because there’s no gifts involved. Well I guess most holidays don’t involve gifts. I guess it’s just close to Christmas and I feel a certain dread about Christmas time because of the stressing over gifts and the general hustle-bustle that time of year so I am grateful for this holiday where we just get to eat yummy food and that’s it. 

I started making this butternut squash lasagna years ago and now people expect it. Annnd I don’t blame them. It’s pretty good if I do say so myself. Mashed, garlicky butternut squash gets layered with cream sauce, cheese and lasagna noodles. It’s just thanksgiving bliss. I could literally eat just the mashed up butternut squash for dessert. Gah its sooo good.

Now how the heck do we know if the butternut squash is ripe? It’s the star of this dish and it needs to be good. From what I’ve researched here is what you want to look for:

  • Non-shiny, matte skin
  • It should feel heavy (like how a good watermelon feels heavier)
  • No green on the skin, it should be beige
  • Some say to tap it and if it sounds hollow, it’s ripe, but I haven’t found that to be true

I usually try to buy the squash a week or two before I plan to use it just to give it a little more time to ripen. There is a HUGE difference in taste + texture between a perfectly ripe butternut squash and a not so ripe one. And the not so ripe ones are very disappointing. The deeper the orange-ness of the flesh, the sweeter and more flavorful it will be. If the flesh is very light orange, it not only will taste like watered-down butternut squash (sad), the texture won’t be as good either. A ripe squash will mash up easily once cooked and will take on a really pleasant and creamy texture. The not so ripe ones will take forever to soften and the texture will be lumpy even after you’ve cooked it as long as you can stand.

     

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 C – 1 C water
  • 3 TBSP butter, unsalted
  • 3 TBSP flour
  • 1 1/2 C milk
  • 2/3 C parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg or freshly grated
  • 1 C grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 C parmesan cheese
  • Approx. 12 lasagna noodles (I use no bake, but you can use whatever)
  • salt + pepper

Preparation

(The squash part):

  1. Peel and cut squash into small 1/2 inch thick pieces
  2. Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add squash and stir to coat. Add garlic, salt + pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes before adding 1/2 c water. Turn the heat to medium-high and cover. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary. If the water cooks off before the squash is tender and its beginning to stick, add a 1/4 cup at a time to loosen things up. (this should take about 15-20 minutes). 
  3. Use a potato masher to mash the squash and set aside.

(Cream sauce):

  1. Add butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted and bubbling, add flour and mix using a whisk. Whisk continually for one minute. Slowly add about 1/4 C of milk and stir vigorously to combine and get rid of any lumps. Then slowly add the remainder of the milk, whisking continually. Turn the heat down just a touch and cook until the sauce comes to a gentle simmer.
  2. Once simmering, turn off the heat, add 1/3 Cup parmesan, nutmeg, salt + pepper. Stir and remove from heat.

Assembly:

  1. In a 13 x 9 pan start with a layer of cream sauce, arrange lasagna noodles over sauce. Add another layer of cream sauce. Add a layer of butternut squash, sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining 1/3 C  of parm. Repeat. There should be enough to make 3 layers.
  2. Bake in a 350˚ oven for 25 minutes.

*Serves 6-8

<3 Becky

Notes and ideas:

  • Sometimes, I add a little crushed red pepper to the squash mix and just eat it on a piece of toast with an egg. Yeah baby
  • While writing this post, I started thinking: Why don’t I try this with other vegetables, like zucchini or broccoli? Something to think about…
  • Obviously, this is lasagna and you can add more cheese or be more liberal with the sauce if you want. It’s already rich so I try to balance by putting just a little cheese in the middle layers and saving the bulk for the top. And I’m sparing with the sauce for the same reason.
  • About the noodles: I often use no-bake for this because I’m lazy. However, some brands are different and since there is not a lot of liquid in this you might end up with VERY al dente pasta. Barilla no-bake has worked fine for me.

Egg Scramble with Corn + Pimento

Hey blog, I picked a recipe from the Potluck Cookery book! It’s called Blue Mountain Eggs and I have no idea why. The author doesn’t give an explanation and google also had nothing to say about the matter.

I made this on a Saturday morning but the night before I prepped my ingredients. I diced onions, bell peppers, and pimento. I took corn out to defrost and chopped parsley. Yes, corn. These eggs have corn in them. It sounded weird to me at first but I really like corn and I really like eggs so I figured why not? I’ve never seen an egg scramble with corn, but I probably need to get out more. Yeah, I googled it and it exists. But I think we can all agree that corn is not a typical ingredient in an egg scramble.

The morning of I cooked bacon, toasted english muffins and whisked the eggs. I topped the english muffins with butter and strawberry jam. I topped my egg scramble with mozzarella and Tapatio. I’d already made roasted potatoes two nights earlier so that’s where those came from. I really liked cooking in the morning and taking my photos outside in the fresh morning air. The thing I didn’t like about making and shooting this recipe in the morning was waiting to eat.

The recipe suggests cooking the eggs and vegetables in the bacon drippings but that’s just too much grease for me. I started the veggies in a new pan with butter + olive oil and added one teaspoon of the bacon grease (is there another word to refer to bacon grease? I don’t like the word grease or drippings…).

So the verdict on corn in eggs? I dig it. I would use less corn next time because it overpowered things a little. The recipe called for one cup so I reduced it by half here. But I enjoyed the sweetness and new flavor it brought to an otherwise very basic egg scramble.    

Ingredients

  • Bacon, 4 strips
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn kernels
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 TBSP onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP bell pepper, diced
  • 2 TBSP pimento, diced
  • 1 TBSP parsley, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Cook bacon over medium-high heat, but start with a cold pan. Cook to desired crispness.
  2. Reserve 1 tsp of bacon grease and add to skillet with butter + olive oil.
  3. Add onion, bell pepper, pimento and corn. Sauté until onion and bell pepper have softened, about 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, crack eggs into a bowl and whisk well so that no lumps of egg white remain.
  4. Add parsley, then whisked eggs
  5. Continually fold eggs towards the center of the pan using a spatula until set.
  6. Top with cheese + hot sauce if desired. Serve with potatoes, toast and bacon.

*Serves 2-3

<3 Becky

Recipe adapted from: Potluck Cookery by Beverly Pepper, 1955. Doubleday & Company Inc. Garden City, New York.

 

The BEST Chicken Nuggets

I’m not very good at starting conversations… I’ve been sitting here for about ten minutes thinking about what to say. So far my ideas have been: “Hi Blog!”, “Hello Internet” and “Sooo chicken nuggets”. This is much how regular life goes for me as well.

I’ve really been wanting to find another recipe to try from one of my retro cookbooks. So far I have not settled on one yet, but I think today’s recipe is one that the author of this book would be into.

It’s all about using leftovers and things you probably have in your cupboard most of the time. I will decide on a recipe soon!

I just love the little illustrations:

    

For me, this chicken nugget recipe has a retro vibe. My mom used to make these and to me Ritz crackers seem like a 90’s thing. Probably because I ate A LOT of them during that time period but I’m pretty sure other people were too. Ritz crackers mostly remind me of staying up late with my sister and watching Disney Channel while polishing off a whole pack of these with cream cheese. Man that sounds good right now.

But back to the retro vibe thing and how they are inspired by this cookbook thing. Not only do these have that vibe because they include a popular 90’s food, they also include very basic pantry staples: crackers, chicken, buttermilk, egg, hot sauce, and oil. That’s really all you need. I think you could probably do without the egg even.

And these basic things make a gosh darn PERFECT chicken nugget. The chicken gets soaked in buttermilk and Tapitio, making them the most tender and juicy chicken nuggets you will likely ever have. The salty, buttery crackers give them the most delightfully crispy crust. And we all like a delightfully crispy crust, right?

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 packs Ritz crackers (about 40 crackers), crushed into a fine meal
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • Tapatio, to taste (I do about one TBSP)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup canola/vegetable oil
  • salt & pepper

Tools

  • Cast iron pan
  • Tongs
  • Paper towels or butcher paper

Preparation

  1. Cut chicken into desired size pieces. Place in an airtight container and cover with buttermilk, salt & pepper and Tapatio (or another hot sauce you like!). Store in the fridge over night or at least four hours.
  2. When you’re ready to start frying, first: crush the crackers in a ziplock bag or inside the package (if you can swing that) until they are as fine as you can get them. Empty crumbs onto a plate. Whisk one egg with a tablespoon of water on a plate (using a plate with slightly upturned edges helps!).
  3. Set yourself up an assembly line: 1st: the bowl with the buttermilk soaked chicken, 2nd: egg mixture, 3rd: cracker crumbs, 4th: an empty plate to place coated chicken on while they’re waiting to go in the oil. Dip and coat all your chicken and have it waiting on the plate for you as you cook.
  4. Set up a cookie sheet lined with paper towels or butcher paper to place chicken nuggets on after frying.
  5. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. This is not enough oil to deep-fry, it’s a shallow fry. You can know the oil is heated enough if you dip a corner of a chicken piece in the oil and you hear a nice strong sizzle.
  6. Place chicken pieces in hot oil. Cook on each side approximately four minutes.*This is going to depend on the thickness of your chicken. Mine were relatively thin so they cooked quickly. If you are unsure, use a meat thermometer. This one is a dream.
  7. Once cooked through, place on paper towel lined cookie sheet to soak up excess oil.
  8. Serve with desired dipping sauces and enjoy!

*Serves 4

<3 Becky

*This post contains an affiliate link

 

 

 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Dear Blog,

It has been a rough couple of weeks. I started a new job and I hate change. The people are nice and there is a lot I like about the job. It’s busy and the day goes super fast! I get to have lunch with my mom and take a walk with her in the afternoon which is cool. But I hate change.

Anyways, I don’t have much to say so I’m just going to say it straight: this is a recipe for peanut butter and jelly cookies, so basically peanut butter cookies with jelly on them. They super soft and very peanut butter and jelly-y. If you don’t like PB & J, don’t make them. You will hate these. However, if you like PB & J, make these, then pour yourself a cold glass of milk because things are about to get exciting.

I thought I was a genius for coming up with this but I just googled “peanut butter and jelly cookies” and I’m definitely not the only genius out there. However, I love these cookies and I can honestly say I thought of this on my own! Yay for me.

Use a cookie scoop if you like uniformity. Then make a deep impression, using your thumb. Make sure the impression you make is more deep than it is wide. Otherwise, the jelly will end up spilling over onto your cookie sheet as the cookie expands.

Fill each with about a 1/2 tsp of your preferred jam (strawberry all the way for me!)

Ten minutes and this is what you get:

If you don’t like the craggy look of these- I’m not crazy about it – roll the dough into a ball in your hands before making your thumbprint. They will still have cracks but will having a smoother, more pleasant appearance IMO. See the ones on the left below. This occurred to me on my last three cookies… Sigh.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup jam

Preparation

Preheat over to 350˚

  1. Add peanut butter, both sugars, eggs and vanilla to a bowl and stir until combined.
  2. Add flour, salt and baking soda and stir to combine.
  3. Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. Make an impression in each cookie, using your thumb.
  4. Spoon 1/2 tsp jam into each thumbprint
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool. These are delicate when warm, handle with care.

Notes

  • Make sure your thumbprint is deep and has relatively the same depth all around (the jam will run off the sides of the cookie if not)
  • If you want the cookies to have a smoother appearance, form dough into a ball in your hands before making your thumbprint
  • You can actually omit the flour if you want, or substitute any other flour you like

<3 Becky

 

 

Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake

I want to start by saying this is not my recipe because I really want to make sure that is clear. I’ve spent about an hour googling how to give credit to a recipe because I really don’t want to violate anyone’s rights OR make anyone think I came up with this poopin’ amazing cake. I wish I did.

My sister found it in All Recipes Magazine and made it about a month ago. She made it with a flax egg because my niece is allergic to eggs. It was so gosh darn good that way I also made it with a flax egg and decided to go full on vegan and use cashew milk as well.

This cake is so good I want to shout it from the internet rooftops and real rooftops. I don’t have one critique for this recipe. It’s perfect. Just look at it.

As the name implies, it’s just like a pineapple upside-down cake minus the pine. Melted butter + brown sugar are poured into a baking dish, sliced apples go down next, batter gets poured in last. The cake part is freakin good. Obviously apples baked in butter and brown sugar are good but it’s the cake that really makes this thing exceptional. It’s soft, spongy and not too sweet which is important to me when you have a bunch of fruit swimming in sugar and butter on top. I like balance.

I really tried to find this recipe online but I could not. The magazine even has a link printed for the recipe but the link brings you to a different, but similar recipe. Which is probably also cool! I’m so excited I just inserted a hyperlink into a post! Yay!

Here’s the recipe from All Recipes Magazine, August/September 2018 issue. The original calls for regular milk and a regular egg! I’m sure that would be just as perfect but haven’t made it that way so it might taste like poop. Let me know.

Ingredients

  • 3 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 medium apples (I used Fuji), peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup cashew milk

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚
  2. Melt butter and pour into an 8-inch square pan. Tilt to coat evenly. Sprinkle in brown sugar, then arrange apple slices on top.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat white sugar and 1/2 cup softened butter with a electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  4. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, continuing to use the mixer (on low). Once the mixture is fully combined, pour into pan and spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Immediately invert onto serving plate.

Also, while I was making this cake I was thinking about how surprising it was that it doesn’t call for cinnamon. There’s apples in it after all. I was tempted and felt bad for cinnamon but I knew it was perfect the way it was so I refrained. Later in the evening I was cooking some beans and grabbed what I thought was cumin but was really cinnamon and sprinkled it all over the beans. Touché cinnamon, touché.

 

<3 Becky

Jalapeño Cheese Bread/Pizza Dough if You Want

 

I tried making the soufflé again. This time I baked it but it was still gross so I made jalapeño cheese bread. This I know is good.

This bread is made using the pizza dough recipe my family used growing up. During that period of my life where I would rush home to watch Rachael Ray, I also made this pizza dough recipe enough times to commit it to memory.  No, I was not a normal teenager and no I did not have a boyfriend. And yes, you can make this recipe minus all the herbs, spices, jalapeños and cheese, roll it out thin and put pizza stuff on it. Or you could leave it in and use as pizza dough. Hmmm. Could be cool.

Anyways, years later, I was wanting to make something for my dad that wasn’t sweet. He was downright obsessed with spicy foods and difficult to buy presents for and that’s mostly the extent of my understanding of how I came up with this. I know my sister and I made a recipe once for an “Italian” cheese bread. Probably from the back of a dressing bottle or one of my mom’s Taste of Home magazines. But the recipe was basically a dough that was smothered in Italian dressing and cheese. It was delicious.

Now, if you are anything like me and haven’t eaten Kraft dressing since like 2009, I get you. But the dressing gives the bread a flavor that you just cannot get without it. It gives it a sweetness that is very welcome in the presence of jalapeños as far as I’m concerned. The cheese helps with that too. Together, these three elements create the ultimate trifecta of spicy sweet cheesiness. Plus, it smells awesome while cooking!! Plus plus, I’ve been finding it very freeing to let go a little and let myself just eat with less obsession and guilt. I like to be healthy and eat mostly unprocessed foods, but I’m about balance.

Immediately after this came out of the oven, and after I took a bunch of pictures of this, I sliced a square in half for a turkey sandwich. OMG it was good. I just used some mayo, good deli turkey, spinach and cherry tomatoes.

  

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups very warm tap water
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 C cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup pickled jalapeños, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Kraft Italian Dressing
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preparation

  1. Empty yeast packet into a large mixing bowl and add warm water. Let this stand for about five minutes. It should look sort of foamy and you shouldn’t see any little granules of yeast after about five minutes.
  2. Add sugar and stir. Add olive oil, salt, garlic powder, dried basil + oregano, jalapeños and 3/4 C of cheddar cheese (save 1/4 C). Stir to combine.
  3. Add 3 cups of the flour and stir just until combined. The dough should be pretty sticky, but should hold together enough to turn out onto a floured surface in relatively one unit.
  4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour onto a cutting board or other, clean, flat surface. Turn dough out onto your floured surface. Add an additional 1/4 cup to to the top of the dough and pat with your hands. (To get some flour on your hands).
  5. Knead dough until it is smooth and easily forms into a ball. Clean out your mixing bowl and coat with olive oil.
  6. Place dough back in bowl, cover with a clean dishtowel, place on counter and let rise for 60 minutes.

*Do something else for an hour!*

Preheat the oven to 375˚.

  1. Shape dough into an oval about an inch thick on a cookie sheet that’s been greased with butter.
  2. Poke all over with a fork and brush with Italian dressing
  3. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes then broil for 10.
  5. Enjoy!

Things to note about this recipe/ideas:

  • As mentioned, this is a pizza dough recipe. If you want to use it as such, after it’s done rising just roll the dough out like you would for any other pizza dough and proceed to make pizza 🙂
  • You can shape the dough into any shape you want! The possibilities are endless.
  • If you are wanting to have this bread as more of a side or eat-by-itself kind of thing (i.e. not use it as sandwich bread), you could add more cheese to the top or even a blend of cheeses.
  • You can also of course add more jalapeños if you like things spicier! I am a bit of a wimp so this recipe suits my tastes.
  • I’m thinking breakfast sandwiches would be also be amazing on this!

<3 Becky

 

Old Cookbooks and Me

These books made me quit school.

Sounds silly but it’s mostly true. When I was about to graduate college I was not wanting to be an adult yet and just get a dang full-time job so I started looking into new career options. I ended up in a post-bac program at Chapman University for Speech Pathology. I had class all day on Saturdays so my friends and I would walk to the Orange Circle for lunch. I was definitely more excited about trying every restaurant in Old Town than I was about anything I was learning in class.

But sadly, one Saturday about eight weeks in, we walked by a garage sale on our way to lunch and I found these books and subsequently quit the program a week later. I say sadly because I didn’t end up getting to eat at every restaurant. 🙁

       

       

It’s hard to say when I actually fell in love with cooking and just food in general. Who doesn’t love food at least on some level? But I like love love food. I always liked cooking. I always wanted to make recipes. I raced home from school in high school so I could watch 30-Minute Meals. I watched Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and Emril as a kid and was always fascinated watching people cook. I also really hoped to someday have little dishes with all my ingredients chopped and lined up for me when I cooked.

But I guess my first year of college is when my love for it began to solidify and the dream of somehow working with food (for my job) began to take root inside of me. And it just will. not. go. away. I have tried to let it go, but I haven’t been able to yet. Probably because I haven’t even tried to pursue it. Oh except for the time I tried to work at Sprinkles cupcakes and they wouldn’t hire me after a four-hour shift “audition”. And the time I actually got hired at Whole Foods but then quit after one day of orientation.

So I spent most of college and afterwards dreaming about starting a blog or a business of some kind but not really doing anything about it. I think I somehow chose speech as my career path so that I could have a job that paid really well and had flexibility so that I could try something food related on the side. If I failed- no biggie! I still had a good job. With benefits and a pension! Actually I totally did that. It didn’t seem acceptable to tell people I wanted to work in food. First of all, I didn’t have any specific job goal in mind. I just knew I loved it and had a lot of ideas, but nothing concrete. Secondly, what if I failed. Those two things, and a whole lot of laziness was enough to keep me from trying.

But back to these books. Eight weeks into the program and I was already weary. I felt out of place and disinterested. Seeing these books made me feel alive. That sounds dramatic but it’s also true. The joy these books brought me contrasted with the dread I felt about my program was enough for me to call it quits.

      

I quit and planned to return to Old Town to buy cute props in the antique stores for the blog I was going to start. That was 2013. Fast forward to January 2018. I was half-way through a master’s program for Speech Pathology and on the verge of  quitting yet again. Long story short- here I am. But did I quit school to write a blog? No. I did not. I quit school because I had no passion for what I was learning. I came to the conclusion that I would rather just continue doing the type of work I had already been doing (working at a school district as a secretary) and focus on doing + learning about things that I really am passionate about and see where it takes me. If it only leads me to writing a blog that nobody reads I don’t care. At least I will know that I tried and I didn’t live a lie.

Planning to post a recipe from the omelette one next. I tried making the mousseline omelette the other night, but it turned out like this.

These were basically sweet scrambled eggs. Not totally disgusting, but totally not what it was supposed to be and really not something I ever want to eat. The directions were slightly unclear to me as the directions after you add the eggs to the pan are: “… stirring with a spoon and bringing the outer edges in toward the center until they begin to take on a certain consistency.” They definitely had a certain consistency…

So yeah, I have some more work to do on the omelette front.

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” – Julia Child.

Okay Julia, okay.

Blog Post No. 1: Soda Cracker Roca

Hello! I am writing this blog post to see how it feels. I have thought about starting a blog for about eight years now. Wow. I don’t want to make any sort of proclamations or get preachy about not wasting time/following your heart/just doing the dang thing, but really, you shouldn’t and you should and you should.

For my first post I am doing Soda Cracker Roca. Growing up, I heard this term as one word: sodacrackaroca. My mind was blown when I realized why it was called this and that it was three distinct words that referred to the actual ingredients involved.

I chose this recipe because it’s easy, yummy and I already took these pictures like five years ago in one of my attempts to start a blog. They’re not the best but who is reading this anyways? This stuff hits all the right notes: sweet + salty + buttery + crispy + carmel-y + it’s easy to keep breaking off little pieces to make yourself feel like you’re not eating that much.

So this will be short and sweet. I’m sure you’ve seen this recipe out there. I remember the first time I saw it on Pinterest and thought, “hey, how does anyone else in the world know about that?!?!” I thought it was something special only my mom made.

I recently made this as a “rocky road” version by adding marshmallows, toasted almonds and sea salt and it was really good! I would say add more marshmallows than you think looks pretty because it’s kinda sad when you only get like one marshmallow per square.

My mom made this recipe using the cookbook below: Cooking With Sunshine 1991. Also, please note the puffy Hello Kitty sticker on the cover. I decided to put all the photos at the bottom rather than scattered throughout the post, because sometimes I find it annoying to scroll through a bazillion pics of the process of a recipe when I really just want to get to the recipe. But only sometimes. We’ll see how it goes next time. I really enjoy looking at pictures of recipes and the steps involved though. Sigh. Somehow I will figure this out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • soda crackers
  • 2 sticks butter (unsalted), cut into squares
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 12 oz. package chocolate chips (preferably Ghirardelli)
  • about 1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preparation

  1. Line a large cookie sheet with foil and lay out soda crackers in an even layer
  2. Add butter and brown sugar to a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. As soon as it comes to a boil, set your timer for 3 minutes and allow to continue boiling, stirring frequently
  4. Pour over crackers and spread evenly
  5. Bake at 400˚ for five minutes and remove from oven
  6. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top.  Let them sit there for a few minutes until they start to soften and become spreadable. Then spread them using a spatula.
  7. Add nuts if desired.
  8. Chill until set. Cut or break into squares/parallelograms. Enjoy 🙂

Notes/ideas:

  • Try adding marshmallows + almonds for a rocky road style treat! I tried it recently and really liked it.
  • My mom didn’t spread the chocolate around but just left the chocolate chips sprinkled, you can too!

 

<3 Becky