Category Archives: For the Love of Cooking

[Recipe] Fresh Peach (or any fruit) Crisp


Fresh Peach (or any fruit) Crisp 


4 cup of fresh or frozen peaches (berries, apples, etc.)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cold butter
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 C rolled oats


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange sliced peaches (or other fruit) evenly in an 8X8 baking dish or a large cast iron skillet. Mix flour, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt into a bowl using a pastry cutter (or your hands) until evenly crumbled. Alternatively, you could do this step in a food processor. Add oats and gently stir into flour mixture. Sprinkle and press topping into peaches. Bake until browned, aprx. 30 minutes.

Now, traditionally, this is served with vanilla ice cream. However, I tend to break traditions and, instead, serve it with cinnamon whipped cream. 🙂

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

cups heavy cream
1/2 cups powdered sugar
teaspoons ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, using a mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the cream, powdered sugar, cinnamon.


[Recipe] Mrs. Janet’s Banana Pudding

Mrs. Janet's Banana Pudding

Mrs. Janet’s Banana Pudding

My college years were life-changing. No, seriously, they were. While attending Louisiana Tech, I met and made life-long friends. As well, I was ‘adopted’ by a family from the church I attended while in college. Twenty-plus years later, my college family, The Moore’s, and I still keep in touch. And they hold a significant place in mine and my family’s hearts! They’ve been a part of my life’s journey for so long, I can’t remember them not being a part of it.

A year or so before my husband and I got married, my college family moved from North Louisiana to Florida. Ironically, their home was located in the same town as the graduate school my husband was attending. Over the last ten years, he has been able to stay with them while in town for his on-site classes. It’s been so nice for him to be able to connect with and get to know these special people.

This summer, Jon will graduate with his doctorate degree, so we are flying to Florida to celebrate the occasion and to visit my college family. We are all looking forward to this because it’s been a long time since we have all been together. In fact, the last time we were all under the same roof, my son was two-years-old and my daughter was only three-months-old. Time has flown by far too quickly. But this summer, memories will be made! And we can’t wait!

If you’ve read my blog for even a little while, you know I’m a believer in the sacredness of shared meals. And this family and I shared numerous meals, made many memories and had some significant and sacred conversations while sitting around the dinner table.  This week,  I was reminiscing about Thursday nights with my kids. What’s so special about Thursday nights? Well, every Thursday night while I was in college, I’d head over to my college family’s home to have family dinner and watch Must See TV on NBC. Oh, and wash clothes. I always needed to wash clothes! 🙂

In their home, I experienced love, acceptance and grace. Much more was shared than merely a washing machine or food. They shared their very lives with me and many, many amazing meals and recipes that I still cook and enjoy today! One of my favorites is Mrs. Janet’s Banana Pudding. I made it the other evening, and my kids devoured it. My son even declared it his favorite dessert ever! I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do!
Mrs. Janet’s Banana Pudding 

  • 1 box of vanilla wafers
  • 5-6 bananas, sliced
  • 1 large box of vanilla or banana instant pudding
  • 16 oz. of freshly whipped cream (or 1 container of Cool Whip)

1. In a bowl, mix pudding as shown on box.
2. Gently fold in whipped cream (or Cool Whip) into pudding.
3. Pour a little of the pudding mixture into the bottom of a trifle bowl.
4. Layer vanilla wafers, bananas, and pudding. Making sure to end with pudding.
5. Top with crushed vanilla wafers.
6. Refrigerate until ready to enjoy!

[Recipe] Smokey, Spicy and Sweet: Chipotle Vinaigrette

Taco Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette

Taco Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette

Last night, we had tacos. Usually, when I make tacos, there are  plenty of leftovers. And true to form, there were! As I packed up the leftovers last night, I began to consider how to use the leftover ingredients. I could make taco soup, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas.  But I kept coming back to a Taco Salad.

My kids let me sleep late this morning, which was so very nice. So, I didn’t get going until after 9AM. Even still, I had that salad on my mind. A banana and coffee supplied nourishment for breakfast. But by 11AM, I was ready for lunch. So, I whipped up a dressing for the salad. But not just any dressing, a Chipotle Vinaigrette that combined smokey, spicy and sweet flavors! So delicious!

This dressing is delicious on salads, but is equally tasty used as a marinade for chicken, beef, or fish. Combine it with Greek yogurt or mayonaise to top fish tacos or as a creamy cole slaw dressing. For a lighter taste, toss the vinaigrette into cole slaw. This would be great addition on top of a BBQ sandwich! Stir it into mayonaise to create a chipotle mayo, and use as a condiment for all sorts of sandwiches. Oh, man, I can just taste it slathered onto a crusty roll that is topped with thinly sliced steak, arugula, red onion and Pepper Jack cheese. Yum! There are so many uses and variations! Try it! You’ll love it!

Chipotle Vinaigrette

  • 2 T chipotle sauce, more to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 T  honey
  • 1 T Dijon mustard or other spicy mustard
  • 2 T lime juice (or lemon juice)
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t smoked paprika
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. Place on lid and secure. Then, shake vigorously, until combined.

[Recipe] Southern Sweet Potato Granola

Southern Sweet Potato Granola

Southern Sweet Potato Granola

  • 3/4 cup of quinoa
  • 3 cups of rolled oats (old fashion)
  • 1/4 cup of Chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pincho of All-spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of cooked sweet potatoes, mashed
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, if desired


Heat oven to 325 and prepare a rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, oats, Chia seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut, brown sugar, salt and spices. In a small bowl, stir together mashed sweet potatoes, honey, vanilla extract, coconut oil. Pour this wet mixture into the dry mixture, stir to combine. Pour the granola onto prepared baking sheet, making sure to spread it out into a single layer. Bake for aprx. 40 minutes, or until turning golden, stirring every 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to cool. Then, stir in dried cranberries and chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container (Glass jars are great for this!). This will last for a month, or so, unless you eat it all before then!

How do I like to eat this? A bit of Greek yogurt, topped with some granola, and drizzled with honey. Delicious! 

[Recipe] Pork & Green Chile Stew w/ Cilantro-Masa Dumplings


So far, so good with the Pantry Challenge. Yesterday for dinner, we ate leftovers of the Farfalle Pasta & Feta SauceThis morning, I got out ground pork to defrost, having no idea what I was going to do with it.

Today, in the Pacific Northwest, it’s dreary and cold. (What’s new this time of year?) So, I’ve declared it a soup day. After living in Denver for several years, one of my all-time favorite soups is Pork & Green Chili Stew. Absolutely delicious! So, I decided, that would be my culinary creation for the day. This time, however, I’m adding a little something-something to it: Masa Dumplings! Continue reading

The Best Brussels Sprout Ever!

Teriyaki Salmon, Couscous and The Best Brussel Sprouts Ever!

I will be the first to admit, I didn’t like brussels sprout. Actually, until a few years ago, I’d never eaten brussels sprout, but I still didn’t like them. I just knew it. Then, one Christmas dinner changed everything. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law prepared brussels sprout in heavy cream and butter and cheese. And they were DIVINE! Divine, I tell ya! Absolutely, lick-your-fingers-and-plate-clean fabulous! I mean, how can anything not be scrumptious slathered in butter and cream? Come on now!

Even though it’s been several Christmases ago, my daughter still requests that ‘vegetable we ate at Grandma’s house’. I kept asking, “What vegetable?” She said, “MOM, that greenish vegetable that was like broccoli, but not broccoli.” I named off every green vegetable simliar to broccoli that I could think of, but was at a complete loss. She was frustrated. I was frustrated. Why couldn’t I figure out something so simple? Then, a few weeks ago, we went to Costco.

On this particular day, Jamison was with me in my mad-dash shopping trip. You see, there’s a stereotype about women that I don’t fit at all (actually, there’a a few stereotypes that I don’t fit, but anyways…) One in particular states how much women enjoying shopping. Yea, that’s not so much me! I just don’t enjoy it. I mean I really, REALLY don’t. And Costco sucks the life out of me. I don’t know what it is, but I feel exhausted the moment I walk into that store. At the same time, I appreciate the quality of their products, especially their produce.

Anyways, we were seriously cruising through the store, attempting to break a record for the shortest shopping trip. Our last stop was the produce area. Now, it’s freezing in the produce area at Costco, so I was trying to quickly grab what I needed and get out fast. Then, it was as if the skies opened up and a bright light pierced through the clouds onto one particular corner. In fact, I thought I heard a chorus of angels, but in reality it was my 7-year old daughter shrieking in delight.

“Momma! Momma! This is it! This is it! This is the vegetable I’ve been wanting! Can we get them? Can we get them?”

And what was causing such a ruckus in the produce section of Costco?  Brussels sprout. Seriously, she’s jumping up and down and pointing to a Costco-sized bag of brussel sprouts. Usually, this child begs me for soda or candy or junk food? But brussel sprouts. Really?

I said, “Jamison, I have never made brussels sprout. The only time I’ve eaten them was at Grandma’s!” She replies, “But you can make them Mommy, I know you can!”

At this point, I am more than ready to get out of Costco, so I succumb to the pressure and throw them into the cart. Making my way to the checkout, I think,  “What in the world am I going to do with brussels sprout?” I mean, I seriously love food and cooking. Yet, at the same time, I hate wasting food and money.

After I got home, I was on a mission to figure out what to do with brussels sprout! Like many of my friends, I’ve discovered if you roast vegetables, the sweetness comes out like magic. My kids love roasted broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. So, why not roast brussel sprouts? After a couple of tries, I came up with a dish that my husband refers to as “candy”.

Yep, candy and brussels sprout in the same sentence! Can you even even believe?

Roasted Brussels Sprout


  • 1.5 lbs of brussels sprout
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2-3 cloves of chopped or sliced garlic
  • 1/2 cup Toasted Walnuts (or pine nuts)*
  •  4 ounces Blue Cheese*
  • 1/4 cup Craisins*


    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut off the ends of the brussels sprout and halve. Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat them evenly. Roast for 20-25 minutes. Place in  a bowl, add roasted walnuts, blue cheese, and craisins. Stirring to just combine ingredients. Add more salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy!

    *A variation is to use toasted pine nuts, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Delicious!

Jada’s Chili Recipe

Jada’s Chili Recipe

(*This makes a lot. Serve for dinner. Allow to cool, then freeze extra for another meal later in the month, or take to a friend!)
  • 1lb of dried pinto beans, soaked (I did quick-soak method)
  • 2 lbs of ground pork (or you can use ground turkey or beef. We just had all-natural ground pork on hand.)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 T of garlic, chopped
  • 2 small can of tomato paste
  • 3 small cans of tomato sauce (I used boxes that were a little over 7oz. each)
  • 1 can of Mexican diced tomatoes (Ro-Tel)
  • 1 cup of Hatch-roasted chilies, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup of chili powder
  • 2 T of smoked paprika
  • 1 T of cocoa powder
  • 1 T of brown sugar
  • 1 T of Saigon cinnamon
  • 1 -2 T of Taco Seasoning
  • 1-2 T of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T of cumin
  • salt to taste

Soak beans overnight, or use the quick-soak method. (Just remember to drain and rinse.) In a large pot/Dutch oven, brown pork in a bit of olive oil. Add chopped onions and pepper. Saute until tender. Add garlic and other seasonings. (Adjust seasonings to taste. Some things, I added more.) Then, add tomato paste and sauce, along with Hatch-roasted chilies. Fill pot 3/4 full of water. Add soaked pinto beans, bring all to a boil. Cover and turn down heat. Cook until beans are tender.

Serve chili over brown rice and top with shredded cheese, diced purple onions and sour cream. Or, instead of the rice, serve with Cheesy Cornbread on the side.

With leftovers, this makes a great Tamale Pie. Or have a Potato Bar and serve over baked potatoes.