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15 Sep 12:20

Crochet Basics: Getting Started & Reading Patterns

by A Beautiful Mess


Holly's cute tattooYarn partyElsie Larson crochetKatie Shelton crochetEmma Chapman crochet I don't know about you, but every autumn season I get the itch to start something new! I don't know what it is, but every year I feel in the mood to get crafty or start some kind of project that I can do at home. In case any of you feel the same, we thought it would be fun to do something together. So, we've worked with Holly Neufeld to create a series of posts designed to teach you to crochet! I have been looking forward to this series for a few months now as I am in NEED of brushing up on some long-forgotten skills. So without further a do, take it away, Holly:

Crochet basicsCrochet partyHolly NeufeldCrocheting is one of my most beloved hobbies. I think one of the biggest reasons I love it so much is the simplicity of it. You only need a hook and yarn to create something. And it’s so easy to bring your projects with you wherever you go. 

I was very fortunate to have my husband’s mom teach me how to crochet. She took a bit of time one summer afternoon six years ago to show me the basics, and I’ve been “hooked” ever since. I started off making scarves and dish cloths, but it didn’t take very long before I was trying amigurumi animals and making hats and cowls. I enjoyed crocheting so much that I was looking for excuses to buy yarn and make things. I ended up opening an Etsy shop in 2007 to sell the things I created.

Holly Neufeld teaches crochetMy wish for you, is that this series will be a simple way for you to grasp the hobby and be well on your way to creating crocheted gifts and lovely things for you, your friends, family, and your home. I hope it ignites a passion for yarn crafts like it has for me.

Lots of yarnTo begin, you will need yarn, a hook, and scissors. Other things that will come in handy are a measuring tape and a tapestry/darning needle.

If there is a specific project you have in mind, your pattern will suggest a yarn weight that is best suited. There are many different weights of yarn, such as:

0: Lace (or fingering)

1: Superfine (or sock)

2: Fine (or sport)

3: Light (or DK, light worsted)

4: Medium (or worsted, afghan, aran)

5: Bulky (or chunky)

6: Super Bulky

Your yarn label will have a little symbol with a number on it.

Reading yarn labelsThe size of hook that you need is determined by the yarn you are using. Your yarn label will also have the suggested hook size printed on it. Either in metric range or letter size.

0: Lace, 1.6 - 1.4mm (steel hook)

1: Superfine, 2.25 - 3.5mm

2: Fine, 3.5 - 4.5mm

3: Light, 4.5 - 5.5mm

4: Medium, 5.5 - 6.5mm

5: Bulky, 6.5 - 9mm

6: Super Bulky, 9mm +

HooksYour pattern will have a gauge that explains how many stitches (st) should be in a certain length, for example, 4 inches. Use your measuring tape to crochet 4 inches of single crochet (sc) stitches to make sure the gauge is correct.

To start, choose a medium or bulky weight yarn and the appropriate hook. With the hook in your right hand, hold it with the hooked end pointing upwards between your thumb and middle finger. Your index finger will be a guide for the yarn, and the handle end of the hook will rest on the outer edge of your hand, with your ring and pinky fingers lightly keeping it in place.

Right handed

Flip if you are left handed.

Left handedNow let's talk about reading a pattern. Crochet patterns are written using abbreviations, which makes them easier to read. Yarn industry designers and publishers use the same abbreviations in most patterns. Sometimes a pattern will have a unique abbreviation and usually explains what it means at the beginning of the pattern. These are a few of  the most commonly used abbreviations:

ch, chs - chain, chains

dc - double crochet

dc2tog - double crochet two stitches together

dec - decrease

hdc - half double crochet

inc - increase

rep - repeat

rnd, rnds - round, rounds

sc - single crochet

sc2tog - single crochet two stitches together

sl st - slip stitch

st, sts - stitch, stitches

tog - together

tr - treble crochet

yo - yarn over

beg - beginning

ch sp - chain space

A chain space is, for example, when you ch1 and then skip a stitch before making another ch1 in the next stitch. This creates a little opening which is called the "chain space". So when the pattern reads: 4dc in ch sp, you'll stitch those 4 double crochet stitches in the little opening that was created the previous row. A Granny Square pattern is a pattern that you will work in chain spaces.

Brackets [ ] and parentheses ( ), indicate that you work the instructions within them as many times as directed, often in the same stitch. For example, when the pattern reads (sc, 2dc), it means to do those stitches in the same stitch.

* or * * indicates to repeat the instructions after or between asterisks as many times as directed. For example, the pattern might read: "Row 2: Dc in next 5 sts; *ch 1, skip next st, dc in next st; rep from * to end of row."

Understanding abbreviations, how to read patterns, needle sizes, and different yarn weights will be less overwhelming. This series will teach you basic stitches, and equip you with everything you need to know to start crocheting. So look forward to some fun patterns and how-to videos! -Holly

Credits // Author: Holly Neufeld, Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

15 Sep 09:37

Shells & Cheese (with Bacon & Peas)

by Ree

This looks good all the time

Quick Shells & CheeseSometimes you feel like making macaroni and cheese that involves whipping up a roux, then making a white sauce, then adding cheese to make it a cheese sauce.

And sometimes you don’t.

This ultra-simple, kid-friendly recipe for pasta shells and cheese is absolutely scrumptious and so darn easy to make.

The secret’s in the (artisan cheese) sauce.

Just you wait, ‘enry ‘iggins. Just you wait…

Quick Shells & CheeseFirst, boil up some pasta! These are just good ol’ medium pasta shells, but you can use the small shells if you want.

Quick Shells & CheeseNext, make the gourmet cheese sauce: Add 2 cups of milk (I used 2%) to a saucepan…

Quick Shells & CheeseAnd add a pat or two of buttah! And that’s basically the basic basis for the cheese sauce, basically. Note that there’s no flour, there’s no roux, and there’s no white sauce. And that’s what’s so beautifully simple about this recipe!

Quick Shells & CheeseHeat this mixture over medium-low heat until the milk is heated and the butter is melted.

Quick Shells & CheeseAnd now, for the artisan cheese blend, which you can only get from specialty gourmet mail order catalogs: Start with a hunka hunka burnin’ Velveeta. And actually, it would be best if it wasn’t burnin’. Just straight out of the tight foil wrapper is best.

Quick Shells & CheeseAnd by the way…have you ever, just for fun, suspended a hunk of Velveeta from a height of a few inches, then released the Velveeta to see if it would bounce?

Try it sometime. It might make you giggle.

Quick Shells & CheeseAfter you play a few rounds of bouncy ball, go ahead and cut it into cubes.

Quick Shells & CheeseThen, to redeem what you’ve just done, grate up a nice amount of sharp cheddar. (On the show I used cheddar-jack, which is delicious, but I love the sharpy sharpiness of the sharper sharp cheddar.)

(I’m in a little bit of a mood today. Can you tell?)

Quick Shells & CheeseNow, making sure the milk/butter combo is nice and heated, drop in the Velveeta.

Quick Shells & CheeseStir it around until the pieces soften…

Quick Shells & CheeseAnd eventually melt into a golden, wonderful sauce.

Quick Shells & CheeseOkay: Redemption time again! Drop in the grated cheddar.

Quick Shells & CheeseThis is what you call the best of both worlds. The creaminess of the Velveeta + the natural sharpness of the cheddar = TruLuv4Evr.

Quick Shells & CheeseStir it around until the cheddar begins to melt, then add in some seasoned salt. I use Lowry’s, but you can use whatever salt blend you like to reach for during your life’s journey. (Even lemon pepper would be lovely!) Just don’t leave this out; it makes a really nice difference.

Quick Shells & CheeseAnother essential: black pepper! Really go for it, too. A lot goes a little way. Or something like that. Ha.

Quick Shells & CheeseStir it around until the cheese is largely melted…

Quick Shells & CheeseThen give it a taste…

Quick Shells & CheeseAnd add more of whatever you think the sauce needs. Be sure you add enough seasoned salt for the whole thing to be really, really flavorful!

(Pssst. You could also press in a clove of garlic and let it heat up with the butter and the milk. That would be crazy good!)

Quick Shells & CheeseCook the pasta until it’s al dente (this isn’t quite there, so I kept cooking it for a little while.)

Quick Shells & CheeseThen drain it…

Quick Shells & CheeseAnd pour it right into the sauce!

Oh, the excitement.

Oh, the promise.

Oh, the impatience.

Oh, the AGONY.

Quick Shells & CheeseNow just stir it around…

Quick Shells & CheeseUntil the shells are all coated in the sauce.

Quick Shells & CheeseNow, look at this pan of wonder. It’s somewhat saucy/soupy, and that’s just the way you want it! It will actually thicken a bit as it sits (not that it will sit very long) so if it’s a little soupy/saucy to begin with, there’s a little room to work with.

Quick Shells & CheeseSo there it is—the basic, ridonkulously easy, crazily delicious Shells & Cheese. Serve it up like this in all its glory…

Or you can have a little more fun with it.

Quick Shells & CheeseEarlier, when I put the pasta water on to boil, I fried up some bacon.

Quick Shells & CheeseThen I threw it on the cutting board…

Quick Shells & CheeseAnd chopped it up. But before I added it to the pan…

Quick Shells & CheeseI grabbed a bag of frozen peas and poured them right in, ice crystals and all. No need to thaw them first!

Quick Shells & CheeseThen in goes the bacon.

Quick Shells & CheeseAnd I just stirred it around.

Quick Shells & CheeseGood grief. How lovely does this look?

And maybe “lovely” isn’t the most fitting adjective. Lovely is what you call a salad or a berry dessert or a fizzy drink. I’ll try again.

How gooooooooood does this look?

There. That’s better.

And here are some other things you could stir in: Caramelized onions, finely diced jalapenos, pimientos, halved grape tomatoes…the list goes on!

Quick Shells & CheeseDish it up…and when you do, make sure you get plenty of extra sauce in there.

Quick Shells & CheeseA little extra bacon sprinkled over the top makes the world go ’round.

Quick Shells & CheeseWhoa. Whoa whoa whoa. Like, seriously. Whoa. It’s almost exactly like Pasta Carbonara!


Quick Shells & CheeseI’m in love.

Now, just a note: The peas really assert themselves once you mix them in, so start a little light, give it a taste, and you can always add more. I happen to love the flavor of peas, but if you’re on the fence, tread lightly at first.

Quick Shells & CheeseThis is my serving. Just kidding! Hahaha.

(At least I think I’m kidding.)

Enjoy this, my friends! Here’s the handy dandy printable!


Print Options

Page size Letter 3x5 4x6 Text Size Small Medium Large Content Include description
Include prep time, etc.
Show image Print

Shells & Cheese (with Bacon & Peas)

Prep Time:
Cook Time:


  • 12 ounces, weight Small Or Medium Pasta Shells
  • 2 cups 2% Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 8 ounces, weight Velveeta, Cut Into Cubes (I Actually Used About 10-12 Ounces!)
  • 2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese (more To Taste!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Frozen Peas (more To Taste)
  • 8 slices Thin Bacon, Fried Crisp And Chopped

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta according to package instructions for al dente (do not overcook). Drain and set aside.

In a large pot heat the milk and butter over medium-low heat. Turn off the heat, then add Velveeta and stir until completely smooth and melted. Stir in the grated cheddar, then add seasoned salt and pepper. Stir until combined, then taste it and add more seasonings if needed.

Add cooked pasta and stir until coated. It will be soupy and saucy, but will thicken slowly.

If desired, stir in frozen peas (they will thaw) and bacon. Serve immediately.

Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on September 15 2014

10 Sep 19:00

20+ Toys & Crafts You Can Make from Recyclables

by Lauren Hufnagl

Save money, save the Earth and entertain your kids simultaneously — sounds like winners all around to me! If there's one thing I hear frequently from my four-year-old it's that she doesn't have anything to do, despite our toy cupboard, bookshelves, and craft basket all seem to be brimming with possibilities. But if I give her some recycling, scissors, and tape, she can entertain herself for an eternity.


10 Sep 08:30

Le Creuset reissues 1958 Raymond Loewy designed Coquelle dutch oven

by Kate

holy beautiful cookware, batman!

1958-Raymond-Loewy-CoquelleWe’re already groupies of famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy, so how wonderful that Le Creuset is offering a limited edition reissue of the Coquelle — the cast iron dutch oven that he designed for the company in 1958. Mega thanks to reader Saundra for the tip!

1958-Raymond-Loewy-CoquelleLe Creuset is offering two vibrant colors of the sleek, oven to table design — a bright reddish orange called flame and turquoise. The reissued Coquelle retails for $375, which is spendy for sure, but golly — a fresh chance to own a simply gorgeous and well designed piece of kitchen history. Pam says she has a couple of pieces of Le Creuset — gifts from her Mom, who is a fan of the brand — and both Kueber women like them a lot, especially for slow cooking navy bean soup  and beef stews and other winter comfort foods yummy in the tummy. (They are also both #1 fans of cooking with vintage Club Aluminum.)

1958-Raymond-Loewy-CoquelleLoewy was the most influential industrial designer of the post-war era — designing products ranging from home goods like furniture and kitchenwares, packaging and logo design, industrial designs for trains, cars and other transportation. See his career highlights — and lookie that client list! — here. 

  • Of particular interest here in Retro Renovationland, in 1954 Loewy redesigned colorways for the groundbreaking Formica Skylark boomerang pattern, originally conceived by Brooks Stevens four years earlier. Loewy also worked with architect Stanley Klein and Andrew Geller through his firm Raymond Loewy Associates to help design the American Brand steel kitchen – a longtime favorite on the blog for its easily recognizable curves.

From the Le Creuset website:

In 1958, acclaimed industrial designer Raymond Loewy created a new and unique shape to add to the world-renowned range of Le Creuset cast iron cookware. Internationally famous for his designs for some of the most well-known consumer brands, Loewy created a striking, evocative design called the Le Creuset Coquelle. To celebrate this iconic design, Le Creuset is introducing the Coquelle to a new generation with a limited release.


In addition to being a symbol of mid-century design, the Coquelle delivers the same outstanding cooking performance as every other piece of Le Creuset cast iron, ensuring that everything you stew, braise, simmer or bake will taste delicious.



  • Colorful, long-lasting exterior enamel resists chipping and cracking; interior enamel is engineered to resist staining and dulling
  • Sand-colored interior enamel makes it easy to monitor food as it cooks, preventing burning and sticking
  • Wide handles provide even weight distribution and a secure grip
  • Phenolic handle is heat-resistant to 500°F
  • The lightest weight per quart of any premium cast iron cookware available

 We always love to see companies launch a vintage reissue, and this Coquelle from Le Creuset is no exception.

The post Le Creuset reissues 1958 Raymond Loewy designed Coquelle dutch oven appeared first on Retro Renovation.

09 Sep 01:45

by natello-universe

09 Sep 13:25

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Oat Crumble Squares (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

by Angela (Oh She Glows)

raspberrychiaseedjamoatsquaresveganglutenfree   Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Oat Crumble Squares (Vegan + Gluten Free)

A blog reader recently emailed me hoping to see a gluten-free version of an oldie but goodie blog recipe – the popular Healthy Strawberry Oat Bars from way back in 2010. There’s something about this time of the year that makes me crave jam-filled oat crumble squares (or really, any kind of baked good, who am I fooling!), so she didn’t need to twist my arm. Not only is this version gluten-free, but it uses coconut oil instead of vegan butter (reduced by about half!), and showcases a new and improved crispy topping. The topping gets crunchy and golden, almost like a granola. Wowzers. My Raspberry Chia Seed Jam recipe was used for a reduced sugar option, but you can use any store-bought or homemade jam you see fit. The beauty of the oat square is that you can change up the flavour significantly just by swapping out different flavours of jam. I think a peach version would be nice too. I made a cinnamon peach chia seed jam a few weeks ago and it was delicious!

Joanna, this one is for you, and anyone who appreciates a classic jam + oat combo! These are healthy enough to start your day with, and delicious enough for an end of the night treat.

raspberrychiaseedjamoatsquaresvegan 0418   Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Oat Crumble Squares (Vegan + Gluten Free)

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Oat Crumble Squares

Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free

Reminiscent of a Nutri-Grain bar, this version is vegan, gluten-free, and made with a homemade raspberry chia seed jam. These squares require a good period of cooling before they are ready to slice - otherwise they are very delicate and may crumble a bit. However, once cooled (and I even recommend storing in the fridge), they firm up nicely. Feel free to use your favourite store-bought jam (use 1 cup) in place of the chia seed jam if you are tight on time. Oat squares adapted from my Healthy Strawberry Oat Bars. Chia seed jam from here.

9-12 squares
Prep Time
30 Minutes
Cook time
27 Minutes
Total Time
57 Minutes


Raspberry Chia Seed Jam (makes 1 cup)
  • 3 cups frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Oat Squares:
  • 1 chia egg (1 tablespoon chia seeds + 4 tablespoons water)
  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup (used for its binding powers)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. For the jam: In a medium pot, stir together the raspberries, syrup, and chia seeds until combined. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the raspberries break down and the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and into the freezer for about 15-20 minutes, until cool.
  3. For the oat squares: In a small mug, mix together the chia seeds and water. Set aside for about 5 minutes until thickened.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together the melted oil, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and vanilla. When the chia egg has thickened, stir that in too.
  5. One by one, stir in the rolled oats, almond flour, oat flour, baking soda, and salt until the mixture comes together. It will be quite sticky, but this is normal.
  6. Spoon 2/3 of the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and press it down to spread it out evenly. Use a pastry roller to roll it out smooth into the corners. I repeat: the dough will be very sticky!
  7. When the chia jam has thickened and cooled, pour all of it on top of the oat mixture and spread it out evenly.
  8. Take the remaining 1/3 of the oat dough and crumble it evenly on top of the chia jam.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, until the topping is lightly golden. I baked for 30 minutes, but this was a bit long in my oven as the topping browned a bit too much. I recommend checking it after 20 minutes and if it's starting to brown, cover the top with tin foil for the remaining 5-10 minutes of baking.
  10. Place pan directly on a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes and then carefully lift out the square and place directly onto the cooling rack until completely cooled. Slice into squares.
  11. Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.

Tip: To make oat flour, add the 1/2 cup of rolled oats into a high-speed blender and blend on high until a flour forms. You can substitute this with 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of oat flour if desired.

raspberrychiaseedjamoatsquaresvegan 0431   Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Oat Crumble Squares (Vegan + Gluten Free)

© copyright 2014 Oh She Glows. All Rights Reserved.
05 Sep 19:07

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

by A Beautiful Mess

Chocolate pumpkin bread (click through for recipe) September is here and we all know what that means: time for internet ladies to lose it over pumpkin spice everything!

I'm kidding.

Ok, half kidding. 

But you totally know it's true. I'm a total internet lady myself, so you can bet I hopped in line for my pumpkin spice latte first chance I got this week. :)

Chocolate pumpkin bread (click through for recipe)  So if you're feeling pumpkin crazy, I have a suggestion. Make this bread. I don't get anything if you do. I'm just saying, it's tasty and could easily find it's way on to a breakfast plate or beside your afternoon coffee. I mean, pumpkin AND chocolate? Yum!

Chocolate pumpkin bread recipeChocolate Pumpkin Bread, makes one loaf.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons greek yogurt

We're going to be mixing things, and then dividing them so we can get that pretty marbled look. Don't fret, it'll all work out in the end. 

Chocolate pumpkin bread recipe In a bowl, combine the sugars and softened butter. Mix well. Stir in each egg and then the vanilla extract until just combined. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Remove half of the mixture to another bowl (yes, a third bowl), and to this add the cocoa. Now divide the butter mixture in half between these two bowls. Add 1/4 cup pumpkin puree and a tablespoon of greek yogurt to each. Stir until just combined. 

Add the batter to a buttered loaf pan in large spoonfuls, dispersing the two colors throughout. Then use a knife to swirl the batter around. 

Bake at 325°F for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Chocolate pumpkin bread (click through for recipe)    Serve warm with a tall glass of milk and a side of autumn vibes.

No? That got a little goofy at the end? Yeah, ok. I can see that now. 

xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

06 Sep 13:29

This whole newborn stage is a lot more fun than I expected! Team...

This whole newborn stage is a lot more fun than I expected! Team Quirk is feeling pretty great on day six! Remembering back to last Saturday and being in labor and honestly, how much I enjoyed it. Now in awe that this little baby was IN my belly just a week ago. This is good stuff people. Highly recommend having a baby.#babyfelix

28 Aug 19:59

Hark, A Vagrant: The Secret Garden

buy this print!

Well the garden did change everyone's lives right
04 Sep 16:29

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

by Ree

Chocolate Chunk CookiesI realize I posted my Browned Butter M&M Cookie recipe just last week, and I realize this recipe is pretty much identical, but I definitely wanted to post it separately because this chocolate chunk version will absolutely knock your socks off.

Just make ‘em.

Just once.

Your life will be forever altered.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesMelt a stick of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesKeep a close watch on it, and swirl the pan around regularly! It will bubble up and sizzle…

Chocolate Chunk CookiesThen, a minute or two later, the foam will appear.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesAnd when the foam appears, it isn’t long before the butter is nice and brown. Take the pan off the heat when it gets to this light golden stage.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesBecause it’ll keep browning even after you take it off the stove.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesWhen it’s nice and deep brown—but definitely not burned/black!—pour it into a dish…

Chocolate Chunk CookiesAnd let it cool completely. This is difficult to do when you have a hankering for warm chocolate chip cookies…but it’s a necessity! If you pour warm butter into the dough, your life will spiral into a series of unfortunate events and you’ll live to regret it.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesOnce the browned butter has totally cooled, start making the cookie dough! It starts with a stick of softened butter. This, as you can see, is room temperature soft.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesAdd brown sugar and regular sugar…

Chocolate Chunk CookiesThen mix it until it’s all combined, scraping the sides at least once to make sure it’s totally mixed together.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesOnce the butter and sugars are all mixed together, it’s time to add the browned butter with the mixer on low. And I can not emphasize enough how important it is to add the butter very, very slowly and gradually. If you add it too fast, the mixture will be wet and soupy. So just take your time…

Chocolate Chunk CookiesStopping halfway through to scrape the bowl and make sure it mixes in nice and slow. (And be sure to get ALL the dark brown, beautiful solids in there. That’s where the flavor is!)

Chocolate Chunk CookiesAdd in 2 eggs, one at a time…

Chocolate Chunk CookiesAgain (broken record here), scraping and mixing along the way.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesNext, a good amount of vanilla.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesYum!

Chocolate Chunk CookiesFor the dry ingredients, combine flour…

Chocolate Chunk CookiesBaking soda…

Chocolate Chunk CookiesSalt…

Chocolate Chunk CookiesAnd instant coffee granules! Now, I know the coffee-averse among you are balking at this ingredient…but please pretty please believe me when I tell you that the cookies do not taste like coffee. The coffee simply adds a depth and richness of flavor, and to prove it: Marlboro Man has never had a cup of coffee in his life because he thinks it will taste bad. And he’ll polish off these cookies like there’s no tomorrow.

As long as I never tell him there’s coffee in them.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesI just turn the mixer on low, and add scoops of the dry ingredients so they mix in gradually.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesAnd yes…I’m a-gonna say it: Scrape halfway through!

Chocolate Chunk CookiesFor the chocolate, I used a couple of these babies.

Soooooo much better than chocolate chips.

You’ve gotta trust me on this.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesJust unwrap ‘em…

Chocolate Chunk CookiesSlice ‘em into sticks…

Chocolate Chunk CookiesThen chop ‘em into chunks!

Chocolate Chunk CookiesThrow them into the dough…

Chocolate Chunk CookiesThen stir them in until they’re evenly distributed.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesUse a scoop or a spoon…

Chocolate Chunk CookiesTo get the dough onto the cookie sheets. I used a baking mat, but you can use parchment…or nothing, if you’re feeling rebellious!

Chocolate Chunk CookiesTotally optional here: I gathered up the extra bits of chocolate from the cutting board and sprinkled/pressed a few into each cookie.

Before I baked the cookies, I popped the pans into the fridge for about 15 minutes, just to firm them up a bit before they went into the oven

Chocolate Chunk CookiesThen I baked ‘em until they were beautiful and golden!

Chocolate Chunk CookiesEmphasis on beautiful. And golden.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesTransfer them onto a cooling rack and let them cool for .3554 seconds.

Chocolate Chunk CookiesThen dig right in!

Chocolate Chunk CookiesAhh…look at that luscious chocolate. To die for!

Here’s the handy dandy printable. Just like the M&M cookies from last week…but I like these even better. They’re a keeper!


Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Prep Time:
Cook Time:


  • 1 cup (2 Sticks) Salted Butter
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons (additional) All-purpose Flour (rounded Tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons (heaping) Instant Coffee Granules
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 8 ounces, weight Good Semi-sweet Chocolate, Chopped Into Chunks
  • 1/2 cup Finely Chopped Pecans (optional)

Preparation Instructions

***Note: The amount of instant coffee should have been 2 heaping teaspoons, not 2 heaping tablespoons. I apologize for this error in the recipe entry!

Add one stick of butter to a medium skillet over medium heat. Allow it to melt and bubble up for 3 to 4 minutes, swirling the pan to keep the butter moving around. When the butter is a medium golden brown, remove the pan from the heat (it will continue browning in the pan over the next 30 seconds or so!) Pour butter (and any solids in the bottom of the pan) into a heatproof bowl and allow it to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, allow the other stick of butter to soften.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees*.

Cream the softened butter together with the brown sugar and regular sugar until it’s nice and combined. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth, scraping the bowl if necessary to make sure everything is incorporated.

With the mixer on medium-low, very slowly drizzle in the cooled melted butter, making sure to add all the darker brown solids. Scrape the bowl the mix again for 20-30 seconds, until everything is combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, coffee granules, baking soda and salt. Stir together, then add it in 1/3 increments, mixing on low, until it’s totally incorporated. Scrape the bowl and beat for a few more seconds. Stir in the chocolate chunks and nuts, if using.

In batches, scoop by heaping teaspoon onto a baking sheet lined with a baking mat, Press extra chocolate chunks into the tops of each cookie, if desired. Refrigerate scoped cookies for 15 minutes, then bake for 9 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, then transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Serve cookies with a big glass of cold milk!

Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on September 4 2014

03 Sep 15:00

corn, cheddar and scallion strata

by deb

corn, cheddar and scallion strata

I have a lot of feelings about lunch boxes, none of them especially genial. But as this teeny tiny person that I only just recently brought home from the hospital, barely able to utter a “beh” and now able to fill a 2-hour car ride back from a beach house with all the words every uttered (hm, wonder where he gets it) begins kindergarten this week, and will do so with a lunchbox in hand, I’ve realized that the only way to move forward with my grouchy feelings about lunch boxes is to air them here, in this town’s square, and then move on.

what you'll need, plus a lunchbox
three cobs because summer isn't over yet

And so here goes: I, Deb Perelman, resent lunch boxes. I resent that my friend Valerie can send her children to a French summer camp where they are served hot lunches (just the basics, like blanquette de veau, omelette aux champginons and, oh, a galette du rois) on real plates daily and the best my child can hope for is stuff like this. I resent that we don’t prioritize filling our children’s bellies with nutritional, balanced meals that will fuel them their growing bodies and brains through long school days, and that only parents with the means to (time or financially) can provide wholesome alternatives. I resent that I’m looking down the barrel of a decade or more of this, every single school day. And I resent that, on top of all this, if our summer months of packing lunch boxes for camp were any indication, at least half of the food will come back uneaten because a whole lot of places that ostensibly have children’s best interests in mind feed them cookies or crackers with ingredient lists as long as this blog post and juice in the middle of the morning as a snack, sometimes just an hour before lunchtime.

a good hearty miche

... Read the rest of corn, cheddar and scallion strata on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to corn, cheddar and scallion strata | 357 comments to date | see more: Breakfast, Corn, Eggs, Lunch, Photo, Summer, Vegetarian

02 Sep 15:24

Chicken Avocado Pizza

by Ree

Chicken Avocado PizzaI just got home from a soccer tournament all weekend and was making plans for what I’m cooking all week when I remembered a recipe I photographed a few months ago that I plum forgot to share! And the recipe doesn’t even have plums in it!

Yes, I’m a little loopy today.

This is a really delicious pizza, with warm avocado, bubbly cheese, and other delicious toppings that go on the pizza after it comes out of the oven. You can use a homemade pizza crust (I’m including my recipe below) or you can use a storebought, ready made crust if time is of the essence.

Here’s how I made it!

Chicken Avocado PizzaI started by slicing 2 chicken breasts in half across the middle so I wound up with 4 very thin chicken breast-shaped pieces. You don’t have to do this—you can just throw the whole breasts on there. But I like to slice them into thinner pieces like this because a) they take less time to cook through, and b) you wind up with much thinner pieces once you slice them up.

Chicken Avocado PizzaI just seasoned them with salt and pepper, then grilled them until they were all done!

Chicken Avocado PizzaThen I just let ‘em cool and sliced ‘em up.

Chicken Avocado PizzaMy favorite pizza dough on the planet! Below, I’m pasting in the directions for making the dough—I’ve used these same photos in lots of the pizza recipes on my website because, well, they explain it all.

Note: For a time-saver, you can also just use a pre-made pizza crust, storebought flatbread—any pizza crust you want! Just adjust the baking time and temp accordingly.

TPW_0041Here’s what you need for the pizza crust. Totally simple!

TPW_0044Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let it stand for a few minutes.

TPW_0047Next, add the salt to the flour.

TPW_0054And stir it around in the mixer for a few seconds.

TPW_0058Next, with the mixer on low, drizzle in the olive oil.

TPW_0061Stir it together till the olive oil is worked into the flour.

TPW_0064Next, pour in the warm water/yeast mixture.

TPW_0066Mix it together until the dough all comes together in a sticky mass.

TPW_0067Then just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours. Or, to really step up the flavor and texture, just park it in the fridge for a few days, sealed in a plastic bag.

Chicken Avocado PizzaUse a rolling pin and/or your hands to get it into a large rough rectangle shape and put it onto a pan.

Chicken Avocado PizzaDrizzle on some olive oil and smear it around with your fingers…

Chicken Avocado PizzaThen sprinkle on lots of salt and pepper.

Chicken Avocado PizzaAnd now for all the other ingredients! I sliced up a couple of balls of the good, fresh, bright white mozzarella…but you can also use the supermarket mozzarella if you prefer.

(And if you’re feeling really sassy, grate it instead of slice it. C’mon. Take a walk on the wild side.)

Chicken Avocado PizzaAnd avocado: Slice up 2 or 3. And here’s where I went horribly wrong in my life: I should have squeezed lime or lemon juice all over the slices and tossed them around, both to give the avocados a little bit of an acidy bite and to keep them from browning. But this was back when limes were approximately $1,800.00 apiece and hard to find and I didn’t keep them around in abundance.

So if you make this…give the avocados a nice coating of lime juice.

Also! It’s best if the avocados aren’t quite this ripe/soft since they’ll soften a bit in the oven.

Chicken Avocado PizzaI also finely minced up some red onion…

Chicken Avocado PizzaSliced some green onion…

Chicken Avocado PizzaAnd sliced some grape tomatoes!

(Also: Cilantro. Not shown because I’m an airhead.)

Chicken Avocado PizzaNow it’s time to assemble everything: Lay the mozzarella all over the surface of the dough…

Chicken Avocado PizzaThen arrange chicken and avocado slices all over the cheese.

Chicken Avocado PizzaLookin’ good so far!

Chicken Avocado PizzaNext, sprinkle on the red onion. I minced it really fine because I want the onion to have a chance to soften in the oven, and it wouldn’t do that if the chunks were big.

Raw, crunchy onion pieces are against my religion.

Now, I decided to bake it at this stage, then move on with the other toppings after it came out of the oven. So get it into a really, really hot oven until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. (And pssst. Another squeeze of lime juice would be a really good idea.)

Chicken Avocado PizzaAnd here ’tis!

Chicken Avocado PizzaThe crust is perfect.

Chicken Avocado PizzaAs soon as it comes out of the oven, sprinkle on the cilantro, tomatoes…

Chicken Avocado PizzaAnd green onions.

Chicken Avocado PizzaThen slice it up and serve it right then and there!

Keep in mind that the avocado will tend to brown quickly once it comes out of the oven. (Of course, the lime juice will help, but definitely plan on serving it right away.)

Very simple, very delicious.

Here are the handy dandy printables—both for the pizza and the crust! (Note: the crust recipe below makes two pizza crusts. Store the other one in the fridge for several days until you need it, or make two pizzas at once!)



Chicken Avocado Pizza

Prep Time:
Cook Time:


  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut In Half Half Horizontally To Make Thin Breasts
  • Olive Oil, For The Chicken And For Drizzling On The Crust
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 3 whole Avocados, Ripe But Not Overly Soft, Peeled, Pitted And Sliced
  • Lime Juice, For Squeezing Over Avocados
  • 1 whole (Medium To Large Size) Pizza Crust, Unbaked
  • 8 ounces, weight Mozzarella Cheese, Sliced Thin Or Grated
  • 1/2 whole Red Onions, Minced Finely
  • 1 cup Cilantro Leaves
  • 1/2 cup Red Grape Or Cherry Tomatoes, Sliced Thin
  • 3 whole Green Onions, Sliced

Preparation Instructions

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil on a grill pan or in a skillet, and cook the chicken on both sides until done in the middle, about 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness. Remove from the pan, allow to cool slightly, then slice into thin pieces. Set aside.

Toss the avocado slices in lime juice. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 500 F. Roll out pizza dough until very thin and place on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and smear all over the surface of the dough with your fingers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay on the mozzarella, chicken, and avocado slices. Sprinkle on minced red onions. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper, then place the pan in the oven.

Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and immediately add cilantro, tomatoes, and green onions on top. Squeeze on a little more lime juice, slice, and serve immediately.

(Note: Use store bought pizza crust to save time! Just adjust cooking temperature and time accordingly, based on package instructions.)

Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on September 2 2014



Basic Pizza Crust

Prep Time:
Cook Time:


  • 1 teaspoon Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
  • 1-1/2 cup Warm Water
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil

Preparation Instructions

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. Let stand for a few minutes.

In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined, and the dough comes together in a sticky mass.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge until you need it.

Note: it’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.

When you are ready to make the pizza, grab HALF the pizza dough (recipe makes 2 crusts) and squeeze the dough toward the bottom to form a nice, tight, pulled ball. You can roll out the pizza with a rolling pin if you’d like, but sometimes it’s just as easy to throw it around and pull and stretch till it feels right. And when the crust is nice and thin, lay it on an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. Drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and spread it with your fingers. Very lightly sprinkle some salt on the crust.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Top your crust with your toppings of choice. Then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.

Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on September 2 2014

29 Aug 20:29

Frozen Almond Spiced Chai

by A Beautiful Mess

Frozen Spiced ChaiWhen I was eighteen I went to India for the first time, and I've been dying to go back ever since. It was so beautiful and colorful! It was in India that I had my first chai tea. When I got home I started making chai at home, and then all through my twenties it was my go-to coffee shop drink (did you know I used to think I didn't like coffee? How things have changed!). Anyway, to this day I can't drink a chai without mentally booking a trip to India (I need to book a trip for real). It's a very cool, transportive flavor. 

Today I'm here teaming up with Almond Breeze to share a recipe for a frozen chai. It's nice and spicy with a hint of almond—a perfect treat! 

Frozen Spiced Chai Frozen Spiced Chai, serves one.

1 cup Vanilla Almond Breeze Almondmilk
2 chai tea bags 
frozen yogurt
ground nutmeg
ground cinnamon
ground ginger 
cinnamon sticks (optional, for garnish)
pure vanilla extract
whipped cream

Prep: The day before, freeze some Almond Breeze into ice cubes. I don't know about you, but I think I almost always prefer almond milk to regular milk—especially in drinks. It just feels less heavy, and of course I love the added almond flavor. 

Frozen Spiced Chai  An hour (or more) before making your shake, heat 1 cup Almond Breeze and let it cool in the fridge with 2 chai tea bags to infuse. 

In a blender, combine 1 cup infused Almond Breeze; 4 scoops frozen yogurt; 6 Almond Breeze ice cubes; 1 pinch each ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger; 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; and 1 tablespoon honey. Blend to perfection! 

Top with whipped cream and cinnamon. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. 


Frozen Spiced Chai   Frozen Spiced Chai    xo! Elsie 

Credits // Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with Stella, Imogen, and Norma from The Signature Collection and The Folk Collection


28 Aug 16:33

our-inner-daemons: strangevibezz: MY HEART STOP THIS IS THE...





28 Aug 16:23


27 Aug 22:21

King Baby says No I’ll be honest here, I don’t know...

King Baby says No

I’ll be honest here, I don’t know if the proper word is Lay or Lie

edit: it’s lie!

27 Aug 21:29

Yes King Baby

Yes King Baby

27 Aug 21:02

yes King Baby

yes King Baby

26 Aug 14:26

cyborgpresident: Episode 13: Unafraid of the Dark, Cosmos: A...


Episode 13: Unafraid of the Dark, Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey

21 Aug 12:30

Here's What Your Daily Recommended Fruits and Vegetables Look Like — The Kitchn

by Jennifer Hunter
24 Aug 17:27

Tomato Pie

by Elise

I like the looks of this recipe better than the other one i used

Tomato Pie

Here’s one of the best loved recipes on the site—tomato pie! Perfect at the peak of summer tomato season. First posted Aug 2009. ~Elise

One of the great things about going on vacation is I get to hang out with my friends, and sometimes meet their friends, who sometimes have OMG-this-is-so-GOOD dishes that they bring over. This tomato pie recipe is a result of one of these encounters.

Continue reading "Tomato Pie" »

22 Aug 01:42

holy hippy yummm bowl

by kickpleat

holy hippy yummm bowl | everybody likes sandwiches

I love veggie bowls and yet I don’t make them as much as I’d like. I think I just forget about them so this post is a reminder to myself to make up a veggie bowl on a weekly basis. They’re healthy and colourful and taste amazing. The best part is that the ingredients are super flexible. Add kale, broccoli, zucchini or whatever vegetable available. Add beans or salsa or roast up some chickpeas. But it’s the sauce that you choose that really makes the magic happen.

holy hippy yummm bowl | everybody likes sandwiches

This time, I wanted to try a new sauce instead of my usual standbys. I had this recipe bookmarked on pinterest for ages, unfortunately it’s an almond-based sauce and I was out of almonds. I did have an abundance of walnuts though, so found a different but similar recipe that also  threw in some chickpeas. Since the recipe wasn’t so reliant on just a nut, I figured I could mix things up and that’s exactly what I did. I changed up the seasoning too and I’m thrilled to report that the results were delicious.

holy hippy yummm bowl | everybody likes sandwiches

holy hippy yummm bowl | everybody likes sandwiches

Usually when I make up a veggie bowl, I use roasted vegetables so that I can pump up the flavour with spices and all that sexy caramelization that comes from roasting. But it’s hot outside and I didn’t want it to be hot in the kitchen too. Plus, let’s face it, roasting can make a big ol’ mess. So I decided to steam some beets, sweet potato and asparagus and mix it up with some raw vegetables, along with some leftover brown rice. And because I couldn’t leave my love affair of roasting alone, I did lightly roast the leftover can of chickpeas that I didn’t use in the yumm sauce. It was worth it.

holy hippy yummm bowl | everybody likes sandwiches

This is a healthy vegan meal that tastes amazing. I don’t often steam vegetables (why is that?), but I really loved it here. To properly steam vegetables, add the heartier vegetables like beets first and let steam for a bit and then add vegetables that take quicker to cook. For instance, I steamed the beets for 10-15 minutes, then the sweet potatoes and then at the very end, the asparagus for just a minute or two. You still want lightly crisp vegetables here. It’s a good healthy option and because the yumm sauce is so bold and in your face that you don’t need highly seasoned vegetables. Make sure you throw in some raw vegetables too for extra crunch.

holy hippy yummm bowl | everybody likes sandwiches

holy hippy yummm bowl
I used vegetables that I had on hand but you can add whatever vegetables or grains that you love most. Use my suggestions or create your own version.

cooked brown rice or a grain of your choice (millet, quinoa, farro would be good options)
roasted chickpeas (tossed with oil, salt & pepper & roasted in a 400F oven for at least 20 minutes)
steamed vegetables: diced beets, asparagus, sweet potato, carrots
raw vegetables: grated or julienned carrots and beets, chopped scallions, chopped orange/red sweet peppers, sliced cabbage, diced cucumbers
toasted chopped walnuts or almonds for crunch

yumm sauce
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c walnuts or almonds*
3/4 c chickpeas
4 garlic cloves
1/2 c water
1/2 c lemon juice
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t reduced sodium soy sauce or Braggs (use Braggs if you want this gluten-free)
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t ground cumin
1/2 t dried oregano

Dump all ingredients into a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Taste & adjust seasoning.
*soak almonds overnight if you don’t have a high-powered blender.

For each bowl, layer with rice or grain of your choice, roasted chickpeas, steamed vegetables, raw vegetables, nuts, and then drizzle with yumm sauce. If you’re like me, you’ll want to add more sauce as you dig deeper in your bowl. It’s that good.

20 Aug 12:10

Banana Bread Granola

by A Beautiful Mess

Banana bread granola (click through for recipe)  Yogurt and granola is probably what I eat for breakfast about 60% of the time. That makes it the majority, I guess. It's not just any old yogurt and granola either. Oh, no. It's gotta be Greek yogurt, preferably with fresh fruit or jam and a little honey. I like all sorts of granola, and I LOVE making it at home because you can easily make a big batch to last you a couple weeks.

Banana bread granola (click through for recipe) This granola is inspired by one of my favorite quick breads: banana bread. It has small pieces of crunchy dried bananas and plenty of spices to give it flavor. If you've never made homemade granola before, I highly recommend you give it a try. It really could not be easier, and having a big container of homemade granola sitting on your kitchen counter is total street cred in the cooking world, if you ask me. :)

Best homemade granolaBanana Bread Granola, makes about six cups.

4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup chopped nuts (I used 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup pecans)
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
a big pinch of nutmeg and ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped banana chips

You'll note there's not a bunch of sugar in the ingredient list. I think it's easier to add honey or maple syrup to your morning breakfast rather than add it to the granola itself. Or if you prefer to buy yogurts that are already sweetened, then this granola won't overwhelm you with sugar.

Homemade granolaIn a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, salt, and spices. Pour the oil, melted butter, and vanilla extract over the mixture and give it a good stir so everything gets coated. 

How to make granola at homeSpread the mixture out onto a baking sheet lined with a baking mat (Silpat) or parchment paper. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350°F. Every 10 minutes or so, remove the sheet from the oven and give the granola a stir. This will ensure that no pieces get too burnt while other pieces don't cook at all.

After the granola is done baking, remove from the oven and toss in the chopped banana chips. 

Banana bread granola (click through for recipe)Store in an airtight container for at least a few weeks (probably longer). Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

18 Aug 13:08

Tomato Toast + Basil Cream Cheese

by A Beautiful Mess

Tomato toast with garlic basil cream cheese Tomato toast with garlic basil cream cheese  I am not of the mind-set that food has to be complicated in order to be good. Quite the opposite, actually. More often than not, I'll find that some of my very favorite meals turn out to be something so simple and easy to put together.

Also, you don't need fancy cooking skills to make something restaurant quality. I mean, how many trendy coffee shops charge $4+ for fancy toast? But then you get the toast and it's AMAZING. And you contemplate spending another $4+ to get more.

Tomato toast with garlic basil cream cheese   This post is about toast. Because everyone should know, if they don't already, that they can make the best toast ever! This one is very much inspired by my mom. My dad has a massive garden; he's a real pro gardener. And every summer his garden produces about one million tomatoes.

Okay, not a million. But a lot.

And you can find my mom putting together a tomato sandwich for lunch for quite some time after that. It's simple, but so amazing, because the tomatoes have so much flavor. Currently we have quite a few amazing tomatoes around the ABM office from our CSA box. Perfect opportunity to throw together an easy but impressive savory breakfast.

Garlic basil cream cheese You don't need skills to make fancy cream cheese. Just chop up 5-6 leaves of fresh basil and mince 1 or 2 cloves of garlic.

Garlic basil cream cheeseStir those ingredients in with 8 ounces of softened cream cheese and you're in business. You can store any unused cream cheese in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to a week. This is great on bagels or to spread on sandwiches too. The flavors become more pronounced over time, so go easy on the garlic unless you know you love it. :)

Garlic basil cream cheese  Emma Chapman in the kitchenWhat kind of toast person are you? Do you own a toaster or toaster oven? Or are you an under-the-oven-broiler kind of toaster? Whatever your method, toast a few thick slices of your favorite bread (I used sourdough) and spread on the cream cheese.

Tomato toast with garlic basil cream cheeseTop with thick slices of tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. I ate a version of this for lunch the other day as well. It's good any time of day really. So if tomatoes are in season where you live, buy some and make some tomato toast this week. xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with The Folk Collection.

15 Aug 20:26

Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder

by Elise
Poblano Corn Chowder

It’s chile season! My poblanos are taking over the garden right now so I thought I would cook up a few into a hearty corn chowder. The soup consists of onions, celery, garlic, yukon gold potatoes, corn, green poblano chiles, and chicken stock. Near the end, you swirl in cream (chiles love cream) to balance out the heat of the chiles, and add a splash of lime juice for brightness.

Continue reading "Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder" »

18 Aug 01:32

A special preview from Vol 13 of Kinfolk - my 2nd issue as art...

A special preview from Vol 13 of Kinfolk - my 2nd issue as art director. Photo by Hideaki Hamada

13 Aug 12:52

Crispy Quinoa Cakes (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free)

by Angela (Oh She Glows)

quinoacakesvegan 86531 679x1024   Crispy Quinoa Cakes (Vegan, Gluten Free, Nut Free)

All I can say is thank goodness I banked a few recipe posts earlier this summer because my inspiration has been pretty dismal during this kitchen reno. Combine that with the dreaded 3rd tri “preggo brain”, and my recipe mojo just isn’t flowing like it normally does. Then there was that disaster of a crock pot recipe I made on the weekend for Eric’s birthday. The pot is still soaking in the laundry tub because when you mess up a slow cooker recipe, you pay the price. I might have to chisel it out. Thankfully, I’ve been sitting on this recipe gem since June. I don’t know how I waited that long to share it because it’s a great one! When I first made these crispy quinoa cakes they disappeared at a record pace. I think I recall eating 5 of them straight from the pan. [Then I made you wait for the recipe for 2 1/2 months! Pure evil.] The next two batches were also quickly enjoyed and made easy meals for us without much fuss. We served them as part of a weekend brunch with home fries and avocado toast, for lunch on top of a salad, and for dinner tossed into a wrap or served with roasted veggies. Oh, and I also love them for a snack, straight from the fridge (yes, cold!) slathered in hummus. So unbelievably satisfying.

For those of you who can’t tolerate beans you will be happy to know these veggie cakes don’t have a bean in sight. In fact, I think this might be the only bean-free veggie patty on my entire blog! The quinoa provides a complete protein source and gives them a wonderful chewy texture at the same time. The oven bakes them up golden and crispy – no frying required. I also made the recipe gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free so almost anyone can enjoy these delightful crispy cakes. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, snack time, or dinner, they make a great addition to any meal. Just don’t be surprised if your favourite way to enjoy them is straight from the baking sheet…

quinoacakes3   Crispy Quinoa Cakes (Vegan, Gluten Free, Nut Free)

Crispy Quinoa Cakes

Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

Crispy quinoa cakes packed with vegetables like kale, sweet potato, sun-dried tomatoes, and more! Enjoy these as part of breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They are great with roasted home fries and avocado toast, on top of a salad, in a wrap, or enjoyed all of their own. It's important to make sure the vegetables are finely chopped for this recipe. If the pieces are too large, the patties won't stick together as well. Recipe inspired by Vegetarian Times .

1 dozen cakes
Prep Time
25 Minutes
Cook time
25 Minutes
Total Time
50 Minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup destemmed and finely chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon runny tahini paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur) or regular all-purpose flour
  • red pepper flakes, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the ground flax and water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or so to thicken.
  3. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl, including the flax mixture and the 1.5 cups cooked quinoa. Stir well until the mixture comes together. Don't forget the flour because it helps bind the patties.
  4. Shape mixture into 1/4-cup patties with wet hands. Pack tightly so they hold together better. Place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip cakes, and bake for another 8-10 minutes until golden and firm.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet and then enjoy!
  7. Store leftovers in a container in the fridge for up to 5-6 days. To reheat, preheat a skillet over medium heat, add a bit of oil, and cook patties for about 3 minutes per side, or until heated through.

Tips: 1) To cook quinoa, rinse 1 cup uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Place quinoa in a medium pot and cover with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and then cover with a tight fitting lid. Simmer covered for 14-17 minutes until most of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and then place lid back on to steam for another 4-5 minutes. Note that this makes almost 3 cups of cooked quinoa and you only need 1 1/2 cups for this recipe, so you will have leftover quinoa (which is never a bad thing if you ask me!).

2) To make oat flour, add the oats into a high speed blender and blend on the highest speed until a fine flour forms. You can also use store-bought oat flour if desired.

quinoacakesvegan 8649   Crispy Quinoa Cakes (Vegan, Gluten Free, Nut Free)

© copyright 2014 Oh She Glows. All Rights Reserved.
14 Aug 12:23

Mexican Macaroni Salad

by Ree

Mexican Macaroni SaladI’ve made this simple pasta salad for years and years, and have always loved the heck out of it. It’s zippy, flavorful, and fun, and is as delicious by itself as it is alongside grilled chicken, shrimp, or steaks. I made it recently on one of my Food Network episodes, and realized I’d never shared it on this here website o’ mine! It’s versatile, and you can add whatever other ingredients you want: diced avocado, chopped cilantro, chipotle (to the dressing), lime juice…or all the spices and seasonings you want.

I hope you love it as much as I do. We’ve still got some days of summer left…and this is a good one, my friends!

Mexican Macaroni SaladThrow some macaroni in a pot of boiling water and cook it until al dente.

Mexican Macaroni SaladDrain it, rinse it with cold water, throw it in a bowl, and smile because macaroni makes you happy.

Mexican Macaroni SaladMeanwhile, throw a couple of ears of corn on a grill pan over medium heat; or, if you don’t have a grill pan, just any ol’ skillet will do. You just want to “grill” or cook the surface of the corn so it gets some nice grill marks on the outside.

Mexican Macaroni SaladWhile the corn is going, get some of the other ingredients ready: Finely diced red onion…

Mexican Macaroni SaladA couple of big ol’ tomatoes (or a few smaller ones), diced…

Mexican Macaroni SaladA pile of chopped black olives, roughly chopped…

Mexican Macaroni SaladAnd some green onions, sliced.

Mexican Macaroni SaladWhen the corn is ready, remove it from the pan…

Mexican Macaroni SaladAnd use a sharp knife to cut off the kernels.

Mexican Macaroni SaladNow for the beans! Normally, I’d use a can of black beans…but I’m out. Scandal! So kidney beans were the next best thing. I just drained ‘em and rinsed ‘em. All ready to go!

salsaNow, for the dressing: Combine a cup of salsa (the spicier, the better!)…

sourcreamA cup of sour cream…

Mexican Macaroni SaladAnd some mayonnaise, to give it a little richness.

Mexican Macaroni SaladI also grate in a clove of garlic (you can just use a garlic press!)

Mexican Macaroni SaladAdds all the garlic flavor without adding chunks.

Mexican Macaroni SaladFinally, some cumin…

Mexican Macaroni SaladAnd some salt and pepper.

Mexican Macaroni SaladThen just stir it all together…

Mexican Macaroni SaladUntil it’s all combined! And whatever you do, don’t grab a blue corn tortilla chip dip it in here.

At least if you do…don’t say you heard it from me.

Mexican Macaroni SaladTo assemble the salad, just add the tomatoes…

Mexican Macaroni SaladThe corn…

Mexican Macaroni SaladThe beans…

Mexican Macaroni SaladThe olives…

Mexican Macaroni SaladThe green onion…

Mexican Macaroni SaladAnd the red onion.

Mexican Macaroni SaladI didn’t have cilantro, but would have added some if I did, so I decided to grab some chives from my garden and chop them up just to add a little more color.

Mexican Macaroni SaladA little extra green never hurt anyone!

Mexican Macaroni SaladFinally…on goes the beautiful dressing. I start by adding about 3/4 of it at first, just to make sure it doesn’t get too heavy.

Mexican Macaroni SaladToss it around and check it out…

Mexican Macaroni SaladThen sprinkle in more of whatever you think it needs. If you want more dressing, go ahead and add the rest and toss it in!

Mexican Macaroni SaladPile it in a serving bowl, and at this point, you’ll want to cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least a couple of hours to let the flavors all mix and mingle.

And jingle.

Mexican Macaroni SaladThis is such a great little pasta salad. Great on its own, or alongside grilled or roasted chicken…or with cubed grilled chicken mixed in!

Mexican Macaroni SaladHere’s the handy dandy printable!


Mexican Macaroni Salad

Prep Time:
Cook Time:


  • 1 pound Elbow Macaroni, Cooked To Package Instructions, Drained, And Rinsed With Cold Water
  • 2 ears Fresh Corn, Husks And Silks Removed
  • 1 can (15 Oz. Size) Black Beans (or Kidney Beans), Drained And Rinsed
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Black Olives
  • 6 whole Roma Tomatoes (or 2 Large Tomatoes), Chopped
  • 3 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin
  • 1/2 whole Red Onions, Finely Diced
  • Chopped Cilantro (optional)
  • 1 cup Jarred Salsa (spicy Is Best!)
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced Or Pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Limes, Juiced (optional)

Preparation Instructions

Grill the corn on a grill pan, or just place it in a hot skillet to brown some of the kernels. Remove from pan, allow to cool slightly, then use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cob.

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined.

Place the macaroni, corn, beans, olives, tomatoes, green onions, red onion, and cilantro (if using) in a large bowl. Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the top and gently toss until all the ingredients are coated. Add the final 1/4 of the dressing if you think it needs it. Cover and allow salad to chill for 2 hours.

Garnish with cilantro, lime wedge, and any other extra ingredients you have!

Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on August 14 2014

12 Aug 16:29

Creamy Black Bean Dip

by A Beautiful Mess

Creamy black bean dip (click through for recipe)  Here in the Ozarks, where I live, we have quite a few lakes and streams that you can boat or float on. It's awesome! I truly believe this is one of the most beautiful places to live in the whole world. But, I can also see that I'm extremely biased on this point. :)

One of my favorite summer activities is spending a day out on the lake. You pack up a cooler of drinks and snacks and spend a day just hanging out on the water. One snack that I make to bring with us on lake days is something that the George family calls Love Dip. It's basically cream cheese and salsa blended together. I love it. 

Creamy black bean dip (click through for recipe)This is a slightly more substantial version (the black beans as flavor as well as protein). If you're in a hurry or just don't like fresh food, you can totally make a version of this with just cream cheese, store-bought salsa, and black beans. But since our CSA has brought us plenty of onions and cherry tomatoes lately, I think a fresh version is in order. This dip is great on a lake; just pack it in a container and throw it in the cooler until you're ready for it. Or you could make this as a delicious appetizer to take to a summer BBQ. Who doesn't love chips and dip?!

How to make the best black bean dipCreamy Black Bean Dip, serves 6-8 as an appetizer or side.

15 ounces (one can) black beans, rinsed and drained
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese*
3 cloves garlic
1 small onion (or half a medium-sized one)
2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
8 ounces cherry tomatoes (or any tomatoes you have/like)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder (or more if you like it spicy)
1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

*Pro tip: I usually use one reduced fat cream cheese and one regular. With how flavorful this dip is, you could easily use two reduced fat cream cheeses and no one will be the wiser. :)

The order you make this dip actually matters. It's a texture thing. You gotta get the texture right on this one.

Best fresh salsaFirst we make salsa. In a food processor, pulse the garlic, onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and juice from half the lime until well blended but still chunky. You don't want this to be completely smooth. Pulse. Try not to eat all the salsa once made too; that's a tough one. 

How to make the best black bean dip Now we blend together the cream cheese, black beans, juice from the remaining half of lime, and cayenne. Just blend until smooth. 

Stir (by hand) the salsa into the cream cheese mixture. Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking. 

Creamy black bean dip (click through for recipe) Serve chilled with lots of tortilla chips. This dip is a somewhat funky color, so I like to garnish the top with a few black beans so everyone knows where that color is coming from. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

11 Aug 20:25

Pasta with Eggplant, Feta, and Mint

by Elise
Pasta with Eggplant Feta and Mint

Usually if an eggplant and pasta are in the same room together, there’s tomato sauce involved. Here’s a recipe that bucks this convention and features eggplant without the sauce, but with red onions, garlic, baby spinach, and mint, all sautéed in olive oil and tossed with spaghetti pasta and crumbled feta cheese.

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