Padrón Pepper and Blackberry Salsa

a sweet and simple and mostly mild salsa

Blackberry and Padron Pepper Mild Salsa

I used begrudge our little Ohio town for Not Being Raleigh and for Not Having An Umstead Park To Run At.  I sneered at the quaint Stars-Hollow beat of life. (But in all seriousness…..I pretty much live in Stars Hollow).  At night I’d whisper beneath the covers, glaring into my Kindle — this place is dumb, it’s not real.  

But after a year, I’m falling in love. There are several contributing factors:

  1. Insert very long story … and then Jason realized I was clinically depressed and took me to my doctor.  
  2. Cat.
  3. Getting back into a regular running routine.
  4. Summertime. I love being hot and sweaty and the sun staying out late and everything else that goes along with it.
  5.  Being DONE with school
  6. Our awesome little farmer’s market.

Okay. So really only one of those factors actually has anything to do with the town. I did love the Raleigh farmer’s market, but this one is close enough to walk to. And as I no longer work on Saturdays, I can go on a regular basis.

padron peppers

There’s no single stall I like the best. Jason says I throw elbows at the peach stand, but a) that’s not true and b) you gotta try these peaches. There are stands that I skip and stands that I must hit every time. One of the ones that I hit every time is the kale lady. I never actually buy her kale, but I do load up on her padrón peppers and puslane.

Padrón peppers are also known as roulette peppers because they are mostly mild, with the occasional scorcher. They are fun to pop as a snack, all toasty and oily and blistered from the pan.

But they also make excellent salsa. Normally I am not a fan of mild salsas, but in the summertime, I just want to taste every flavor, and not just the heat. Plump blackberries, sweet milky corn, the ephemeral wonder of the summer tomato. I want to know that they are all there on my tongue.  The padrón is perfect for this, a hovering of warmth with an occasional flare.

I kept the corn in the salsa raw, but it bothers your stomach, feel free to roast it first. In this case, use two ears of corn instead of one, as some of the plumpness will be lost in cooking.


Padrón Pepper and Blackberry Salsa

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: about 4 cups

Although some salsas taste better as they mellow over time, this recipe tastes best fresh. Eat it the same day you make it. If you must keep it for a second day, add a spoon or two of brown sugar to bring back the sweetness in the blackberries.


  • 6 oz padron peppers
  • 8 oz blackberries
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large ear of corn
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp microplane-grated garlic
  • salt to taste
  • coconut oil


  1. Coat a large pan with a thin layer of coconut oil, and set over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, place the peppers in the pan. Cook until dark blisters appear on the bottom of the peppers, about 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and salt immediately.
  3. Mince the peppers
  4. Dice the avocado and tomatoes, and strip the kernels off the corn.
  5. Gently cut the blackberries in half.
  6. Toss the peppers, the corn, the tomatoes, the avocaodes, and the blackberries together in a bowl.
  7. Add the lemon juice and garlic.
  8. Add salt to taste and serve right away.
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mostly mild salsa easy padron pepper






Almond Joy Almond Butter

Almond Joy Almond Butter

Even though I’m a big chocolate fan, I tend to dislike candy bars. They’re just not chocolaty enough for me, too sweet, never worth the calories. The one exception used to be (pre-soy allergy) almond joy bars.

When I came across a jar of coconut-cocoa-almond butter in the discount bin at the grocery store, I was super excited. Upon arriving home, I discovered why it was discounted. It was rather dry and crumbly and somehow heavy and gloppy all at once. The chocolate and coconut flavors were indiscernible, and even the almond presence was rather lacking. I tried to salvage it by mixing in a little maple syrup, but it just wasn’t worth it. I had to throw it away, which I hated doing because food waste unnerves me. (insert rant here) 

almond joy almond butter

In stereotypical food blogger fashion, I decided instead to make my own coconut-cocoa almond butter. We live in the Pinterest era. DIY or bust.

I started this recipe with slivered raw almonds, which were somehow cheaper than whole raw almonds. Beginning with slivered almonds also means your blender has to do less work, thus reducing the risk of blender burnout. And the maple syrup supplies a wonderful blade lubricant without adding extra oil.

I will conceded that the added maple makes it somewhat less healthy than regular almond butters. On the other hand, it is a protein rich snack that’s perfect to satisfy a chocolate craving.

This is a wonderful back to school recipe because it’s so quick and easy. And if you don’t have kids (or your kids hate coconut, gah, why) you should make it for yourself anyways. It’s a candy bar in a jar, which is pretty much the cat’s pajamas.


Almond Joy Almond Butter


Almond Joy Almond Butter

Yield: approx 2 cups

Because of the maple syrup, this will become a coarse butter quickly, but it will take about 8 minutes to smooth out. Remember to give your food processor/blender a break every few minutes so that it doesn't overheat.


  • 2 cups slivered raw almonds
  • 3/4 cup unsweet coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder


  1. Grind the almonds down to a coarse meal.
  2. Add the coconut and grind again.
  3. Add the cocoa powder and maple syrup. Process until it becomes a paste.
  4. Enjoy!
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easy vegan almond joy almond butter

Pecan Bun Superchunk Granola

The clumpiest, chunkiest granola EVER. But also….it’s kind of like a cereal bar? GranolaCerealBar?

Cosmic Granola!!!
Cosmic Granola!!!

This is my new favorite granola. Maybe my favorite granola, ever.

This granola started out like most of my granolas do: at yet another (failed) attempt at creating good savory granola. I adore Mediterra’s savory granola bars, especially their Walnut & Olive and Sun Dried Tomato & Basil. So freakin’ tasty. I always try to copy them and then I fail. Maybe I should just leave savory granola to the experts…..

On the other hand, every time I try to make savory granola, it doesn’t go well. I then follow these steps:

  1. try to convince myself that it’s good
  2. sample it again and regret it
  3. give up and just make a sweet granola

And those sweet granolas always lead to something awesome. Like this uber-chunky granola.

Super Chunky Granola

So, the clumpiness here is clearly fantastic. And they taste like a freakin cinnamon pecan bun. munch munch much.

ANDDDDDD this is the easiest, quickest, cheapest granola and the blog to date.

Since it’s so easy, you’ll find yourself making batch after batch without even thinking about it.  I feel like that’s one of the essential qualities of any good snack. Uncomplicated, comforting, and undemanding.

And abidingly tasty.

Super Chunky Granola


Pecan Bun Superchunk Granola

Yield: approx 3-4 cups of huge chunks

prep time: 5 min/ cook time: 3 min/ sit time: 45 min


  • 2 cups of toasted rice square ceral (like rice chex)
  • 3/4 cup quick-cook oats
  • 1/3 cup pecan pieces
  • 2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • a generous dash of salt*


  1. Place the rice squares, the quick oats, and the pecan pieces in a bowl and stir them up.
  2. In a small microwaveable container, place the maple syrup, the coconut oil, the brown sugar, the cinnamon, and the salt. Microwave until the coconut oil is melted, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring every 15 seconds. Watch closely so it doesn't boil over.
  3. Pour the coconut oil-maple mix over the cereal mix and stir super well.
  4. Press the mix into a parchment lined 8 x 8 glass pan. Make sure that the quick cook oats are distributed evenly in the pan. This is key to the big chucks.
  5. Microwave in the pan for 2 minutes.
  6. Allow to sit 45 min before cutting.
  7. Using a gentle rocking motion, cut into 4 squares, and then cut each square into 2 triangles. You'll end up with mostly large chunks, a few smaller chucks, and some crumbles.
  8. Enjoy and serve with love


*for a salty-sweet granola, increase salt to 1/4 tsp

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Maple Cheddar Shortbread

This maple cheddar shortbread is a cinch to make. I used gluten-free flour, but feel free to use regular flour as well. This is a winner for anyone who loves a salty-sweet treat. 

Gluten Free Maple Cheddar Shortbread

Have you ever gone through a period in your life where you felt like nothing was in your control? You were robotically moving from one point to the next, trying not to crash, grinning and bearing like crazy?


That’s been this semester for me. I even got in trouble for not grinning enough.  I want to launch into a this-wouldn’t-be-an-issue-if-I-were-a-dude diatribe, but I’m too tired. Ladies, you get me.

Shredded Cheese

When life gets like this, I find it useful to focus on routine matters.  There’s peace in the familiar, in the tried and true.  A running routine, a morning tea routine…..a cheddar routine?

It’s not a crazy notion, really. Think of all the comfort foods that include cheese.

I love these cookies for their amazing cheddar-packed flavor and for their simplicity. The dough comes together quickly in your food processor or blender or Bullet or whatever. If you are a traditional kind of human, you can even use a pastry blender.

Chill the dough and roll it up a pecan maple mix, and chill again. Then cut it up into 1/4 inch slices and bake.  The pecan coating with caramelize in the oven, which is a happy compliment to the sharpness of the smoked cheddar.

Gluten Free Maple Cheddar Shortbread


Raise your hand if you need a little bit of sweet to compliment the sharper notes in your life. (that’s everybody, right?)

Maple Cheddar Shortbread

Yield: 21 cookies

prep time: 15 min/ chill time: 35-45 min/ bake time: 15-18 min


  • 8 oz of smoked cheddar, shredded
  • 2/3 cup of cup to cup gluten free flour (like Bob's in the blue bag)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • outer pecan coating
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces
  • 3 more tbsp maple syrup


  1. Throw the shredded cheddar and a good portion (but not all) of the flour in the blender and pulse until combined and crumbly.
  2. Dump the cheddar mix in a bowl. Add the maple syrup and sriracha, and then the remaining flour. (you want to add the remaining flour last because it will make the wet ingredients easier to mix in with your hands).
  3. Um....mix it all together with your hands and then roll it into a log that's about 7 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter.
  4. Wrap the log in parchment paper and freeze for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Combine the maple syrup and pecan pieces.
  6. Unwrap the log, spread the maple pecan mix on the parchment. Roll the log in the mix and then wrap it back up tightly.
  7. Freeze for 25-30 more minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350.
  9. Slice the log into 1/4 inch pieces.
  10. Bake for 15-18 minutes until they darken and get a little golden. If they are a little dark on the bottom (which normally is an awful thing to happen to a cookie), that's totally fine. It's just the maple syrup caramelizing on the bottom. Also, the pecans will caramlize too and that makes it so amazing.
  11. The cookies will be pliable right of the oven, but will harden and snap as they cool.
  12. Serve with love
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adapted very slightly from here

Gluten Free Maple Cheddar Shortbread

Mini Peanut Butter and Jelly Pop-Tarts

tiny DIY Pop-Tarts with only a handful of ingredients

Jason is a guy who loves breakfast junk food. Chocolate chip pancakes, gallons of syrup, full fat chocolate milk, waffles with a layer of chunky peanut butter 1-inch thick; an entire box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It doesn’t bother me because he doesn’t eat like this on a regular basis. We’re all allowed our food vices.

Even if it did bother me, he’s the stubbornest husband in the world, so I could nag my head off and it wouldn’t make a lick of a difference.

Last week, he mentioned something about Pop-Tarts. I tucked it in the back of my mental food Filofax, but then I decided that it needed to be pushed up to the front. I didn’t want to make anything complicated, and these are simple as can be. They are actually rather low mess, which fit well with my goal of “oh-please-let-the-kitchen-be-clean-for-longer-than-30-minutes.” I didn’t have to leave the house for ingredients, as they were already tucked in various corners of my kitchen*. And lastly, it was Valentines Day and food is full-blown love gesture in my world.

He ate more than half of them within 20 minutes or so. That made me incredibly freaking happy. I love feeding my guy.

DIY Gluten Free Vegan Blueberry Poptarts

Frozen blueberries are one of my favorite ingredients.  I can’t say that I’m hypercreative with them — I cycle between smoothies and jam, smoothies and jam.  There’s no shame in this apparent redundancy — there are dozens of blueberry smoothie recipes and a plethora of ways to use jam.

I’ve been making frozen fruit and date jam for awhile now, and I like it because tastes better than store jam, and is simpler then pectin jam. You just throw dates and fruit in a saucepan and when it gets jut right, blend it up and you’re done.  It’s easier when you have an immersion blender, which I currently don’t. Mine burned out several months back I have yet to replace it. I gotta get on that because it’s winter and I’m backlogged on my creamy comforting soups.

Also, another thing about this jam — it’s less messy than other jams. That sounds very weird and suspicious and y’all aren’t believing me on this, but don’t know how else to describe it. See how the jelly is peeking out a little from the side of the crust? Well, when you bite into it, it doesn’t squirt out or anything (at room temp. no promises on hot jam). Maybe Hot Jam! should be me new exclamation. Hot Jam, it’s cold out! Hot Jam, you look cute those boots! Hot Jam, Annie’s a real nerd, isn’t she? 

vegan gluten free pop-tarts diy pop-tarts

Mini Peanut Butter and Jelly Poptarts

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 11-12 mini pop tarts

Serving Size: 1 pop tart


  • 1 cup of rolled oats, ground to flour
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 pitted dates, softened in hot water
  • pinch of salt
  • Jelly
  • 2 cups frozen Maine blueberries
  • 5 pitted dates
  • sprinkles
  • coarse flake sea salt
  • zest from one lemon


  1. Before you begin, set the blueberries out to defrost for about 1/2 hour.
  2. Crust
  3. Blend together the dates, the peanut butter, and the oat flour. It should ball up in your blender or food processor. I love this part because the sticky stuff gets on the ball and not the blender cup, making for easy cleanup. Yay!
  4. Roll the crust out to 1/8 inch thick, then cut rectangles that are 1 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inches. should end up with 22-24 rectangles. If they get hard or crusty to roll at the end of the batch, roll the dough in your hands for a bit to warm up the pb oils.
  5. Jelly
  6. Place the defrosted blueberries and the five dates in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, covered for 6 minutes and uncovered for 5 minutes. Imitiatley remove from heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  7. Blend the blueberries to an even consistency.
  8. To assemble
  9. Place 1/2 to 3/4 of a tsp of jelly on a crust rectangle and cover gingerly with another rectangle. Don't pinch the ends together with a fork-- there's not enough room-- just press together gently with your fingers.
  10. Sprinkle lemon zest and a little bit of salt over top. If you want, use little cookie cutters to make the top more festive
  11. Serve with love


I used my omnigrid sewing square to make the rectangles just right. i think i use it more in the kitchen than i ever did when I sewed a lot. if you have one buried in your craft stuff, relocate it to the kitchen and store it with the cutting boards. you'll find yourself using it over and over! that said, if you don't have an omnigrid, a regular ruler will also do the job here.

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Gluten Free Vegan Poptarts

crust adapted from the first mess


Summertime Mochi (Sour Cherry Slurpee Mochi and Horchata Mochi)

Horchata Mochi and Sour Cherry Slurpee Mochi easy mochi recipe

By some sweet stroke of luck, my first winter in the Midwest has been relatively mild.

It’s been kinda nice. Cold enough to have to bundle up a lot, but not so frigid that I’m slipping on ice everywhere. Cold enough so that I don’t have to wash my hair after every run, but not so windy that I have to wear two pairs of tights and Jason’s ski socks.

But not everyone’s been so lucky, and I’m sure those people are ready for winter to be over.

Folks, this one’s for you. (Okay, and  little for me and Jason. That guy just loves cherry gummies.)  These sweet, soft mochi are based on two classic warm-weather beverages, horchata and slurpees.

This is unbelievably easy to prepare, and with very little mess. The only messy part is tossing the mochi in the coating, and if you do it over the sink, you can avoid all that.

mochi is soooo not complicated to make
The horchata mochi are just regular mochi with a bit of cinnamon tossed in.  It tastes uncannily like horchata, which I suppose shouldn’t surprise me. Mochi is pretty much candi-fied horchata, and horchata is kind of liquified thinnned-out mochi.

All this horchata talk makes me wish I had a cool glass in front of me right now. It’s been horribly long since I had a glass of real, true horchata. Sniff, first world probs.

The Sour Cherry Slurpee mochi gets its cherry flavor from real cherries, but the sourness from fake ones. A tiny packet of unsweetened Cherry Kool-Aid mixed into the dusting medium gives them a tiny bit of tartness. You’ll swear you’re about to get a ice-cream headache, as it you’ve just taken the first huge sip of red 40-flavor Slurpee.  And if the kool-aid packet and artifical flavorings freak you out, simply omit it and have regular Cherry Slurpee Mochi. It’s not as fun, but still good.

you can make this sweet and sour cherry mochi right in your own kitchen


Oh, hey! I finally put a picture of myself on the front page. I figured it would make my blog a little friendlier, even though on the “about me” page, there’s a totally scary picture that looks nothing like the front-page photo.  In my defense, the front page photo was taken on my wedding day, and the “about me” photo was a selfie I took for no reason. I feel like most selfies are taken for no reason.

I also updated my about me, so there’s more stuff about what kind of food you’ll find on the blog. I’m really trying to grow my blog, so please take a look at the page and tell me if you think it needs anything more. Are there questions you still have? Is there something crucial missing? Are you totally turned off by the messy kitchen pic? Tell me in the comments!  Thanks, loves!

easy mochi recipe

Summertime Mochi (Sour Cherry Slurpee Mochi and Horchata Mochi)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: each recipe yields a heaping cup of mochi

*stir the coconut milk prior to measuring. please make sure you use full-fat coconut milk *sweet rice flour is widely available at most supermarkets, in the "international" section. It's usually in a white box, and most places carry the brand name "mochiko"


    Horchata Mochi
  • 1/2 cup of sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk (see notes)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Sour Cherry Slurpee Mochi
  • 1/2 cup of sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup whole frozen cherries
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk (see notes)
  • 1/16 tsp baking powder
  • for the dusting
  • any starch (tapioca, corn) or any flour
  • -a little cinnamon for the horchata mochi
  • -1 .13 oz packet of unsweetened cherry Kool-Aid powder for the slurpee mochi


    for the horchata mochi
  1. preheat the oven to 275. line a 4.5 x 8.5 loaf pan with parchment paper
  2. stir the sweet rice flour, the sugar, the baking powder, and the cinnamon
  3. stir the water and the coconut milk.
  4. add the coconut milk mix to the sweet rice flour mix, until consistency is even and no lumps remain
  5. pour into the loaf pan, cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour.
  6. allow to set for several hours, or over night before cutting.
  7. Grease a knife and cut into 1/4 inch cubes.
  8. Combine some extra cinnamon with your dusting medium and toss in the mochi. Shake the excess powder off over the sink.
  9. for the Sour Cherry Slurpee Mochi
  10. preheat the oven to 275. line a 4.5 x 8.5 loaf pan with parchment paper
  11. Defrost the cherries in the microwave until they reach room temperature. Puree till smooth. you should end up with 1/2 cup of cherry puree
  12. stir the sweet rice flour, the sugar, and the baking powder.
  13. stir the cherry puree and the coconut milk.
  14. add the cherry mix to the sweet rice flour mix, until consistency is even and no lumps remain
  15. pour into the loaf pan, cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour.
  16. allow to set for several hours, or over night before cutting.
  17. Grease a knife and cut into 1/4 inch cubes.
  18. Combine the Kool-Aid paket with your dusting medium and toss in the mochi. Shake the excess powder off over the sink.
  19. Enjoy!
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adapted from food52

Easy DIY Mochi

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Granola

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Granola vegan

Stop. This is not your healthy, agave-sweetened, raisin-and-prune granola. I love those granolas, but this is NOT one of them.

This is more like a chocolate chip cookie in granola form. Or I guess banana bread in oatmeal form. It’s not shy on the sweet stuff. It’s not shy on the nuts. It’s full of chocolate and crunch and madness. I have to be careful when making granola at home, because I inevitably find it addicting. But this tops all.  I just could not stop eating it.

And it was extra easy to eat because of how CLUMPY it was. Clumpy clump clumps.

Yeah, towards the very end of the batch there were some stray grains, but that’s what spoons are for. Or what turning-the-bag-upside-down-over-your-mouth-like-you’re-a-baby-bird-but-only-if-nobody-is-watching is for. No judgments.

Oh, speaking of addicting, my friend recently recommended the book 14 by Peter Clines. Y’all need to read this book, NOW.  Even if you don’t normally enjoy sci-fi, you will like this one. Promise.  I only enjoy sci-fi on irregular occasions, and this was very much one of them. I almost wish it was a series and not one lone volume. Sorry to jump from a granola conversation to a book conversation. It’s been a long week and I’m feelin’ a little jumbled. I’m so glad it’s Friday. Thus, here is the current mix of Cookies and Coffee with Friends. (cookies and coffee with friends, vol V)

Danguole’s Turkish Egg with Garlic Chive Yogurt.  I love a soft egg buried in salty yogurt. This is the very definition of a simple-yet-elegant meal.

Peanut Butter Day was this week. I missed it, but if we’re being realistic, every day is peanut butter day. To wit, Jess’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Chocolate Cups. 

Chocolate and cheese in the same bite, it’s . Nicole’s Parmesan Chocolate Mascarpone Truffles  Only the most epic ladytime food ever.

Amy somehow found a way to improve the Samoa with her Easy Samoa Truffles. My main deterrent in attempting my own samoas was they they looked laborious, but that is no longer an excuse.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or not, but I love raspberry with chocolate.  A in, Raspberry Filled Chocolate Chip Cupcakes.

After all those deliciously naughty treats (and this granola), I need to clean it up a little with beet hummus. So pretty!

Welp, that’s about it. I hope your weekends are fun and relaxing and filled with people that you love! Or at the very least, some good dessert and a big glass of wine.


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Granola


  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups banana chips, divided
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup walnut bits
  • 1 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp grated orange peel, optional
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a blender, pulverize 1/4 cup of the oats with 1/4 cup of the banana chips
  3. In a pot over medium low heat, combine the almond milk, the coconut oil, and the maple syrup. Add the almond extract, cinnamon, orange peel, flax, and pulverized oat mixture. Stir well.
  4. Add the walnut bits and the oats.
  5. Remove from heat and dump onto a baking sheet, patting out to spread.
  6. Break up the brown sugar and sprinkle chunks over the top.
  7. Bake for ten minutes and then turn off oven. Do not open the oven for 3.5-4 hours!
  8. Remove from oven, break it up a little, and then add the remaining banana chips and the chocolate chips.
  9. Use all the self control you have.
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clumping method taken from here

OMG chocolate chip banana bread granola!


Falajala Hummus (falafel jalapeno dip)

Falafel jalapeno dip

Can I share something embarrassing with you? I love falafel. That’s not the embarrassing part. The embarrassing part is that I was like, oh, I’ll make falafel dip so that I can skip the cooking part and get it to my mouth faster. What a cool idea. 

And then I realized.

Falafel dip is HUMMUS.  ☺️🙈  I guess I should have realized that, given that long love affair that falafel and I have.

When I was living in a laughable excuse for an apartment on St. Paul Street, Baltimore, I had a very restricted diet: Ben and Jerry’s, bagels, and falafel. No judgement, folks. Late teens/early 20’s are even worse than middle school. I was miserable on many levels, but at least I had falafel.

Jason takes me out for falafel at the end of every semester. He sings the Billy Madison song  to me on the way there. Hun passed A&P II, oh what  glorious day! in this falsetto voice that he knows I can’t stand.

Falafel is responsible for him getting a mountain bike that he totally didn’t need (long story).

The guy at the falafel place in Raleigh would get concerned when I wouldn’t come in for a while. I guess I should have told him I was moving.

falafel jalapeno dip

A few days before Christmas, Jason and I went out for the first date we’d had in months. He took me out for falafel, of course. It was a place I’d never been to before and their falafel was….different. It was less spongy than regular falafel and it was RED inside, and spicy. I got extra ones to take home, because I always get extra ones to take home. This dip was inspired by that lovely spicy dish. And folks, it’s HOT. There are jalapenos sprinkled all over it. YUM. I tried blending them in and it totally didn’t work.  Little bursts of spice in your mouth (does that sound dirty? ummmm) are just a lot funner to eat, and totally taste better.

falafel jalapeno dip

Fala jala hummus


  • 2 cups of chickpeas
  • 1 1/3 cup really tightly packed parsley
  • 1 cup of cilantro
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (plus more for the top)
  • 4 - 5 roasted garlic cloves (depending on what kind of garlic person you are)
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1/3 of a purple onion
  • salt to taste
  • 2 jalapenos, all chopped up


  1. Blend everything together except for the jalapenos.
  2. Put half of the dip in the bowl, sprinkle half of the jalapenos on, then add the rest of the dip, and then the rest of the jalapenos. Squeeze lots and lots of lime juice on top, and extra salt to. Get your chips!


I got my roasted garlic recipe from Real Simple. It doesn't taste quite as mild as long roasted garlic, but it's still good and only takes about ten minutes. What you do is, chop off the top of the head so that all the cloves are somewhat exposed. Put in in a bowl with olive oil and two tbsp water. Cover it with plastic wrap, and microwave for 7 minutes on 50% power. Leave the plastic wrap on for about three more minutes and then you're good to go.

adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Pizza Ganoush (eggplant pizza dip)

plus volume III of Cookies and Coffee with Friends

Oh what a week. Stuff happened, and then other stuff happened. I don’t very much want to talk about the stuff, but I am always up for talkin’ about foodstuffs.

Duh, we already knew that, Annie.

But reallyWhen you don’t want to talk about life, food is always a better topic than weather.


White Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes! Y’all know me and my love for cheese. And if you didn’t, now you do.

Chocolate hazelnut shortbread cookies.  I wish I could say more, but they speak for themselves. Hey Santa! Look what I got for youuuu.

Salted Caramel Macaroons. Want want want!

Chocolate Coated Cookie Shots. What is life?

Ricotta Polenta Bake? With caramelized veggies?  Where’s my spoon?

Why does everyone make cooler cocktails that I do? Check out these Cranberry Orange Cosmos and this Cinnamon White Russian and this Whiskey Hazelnut Rosemary Punch Bowl.

Gimme donut. Sufganyiot Jelly Donuts.

Non-food related: I just started Netflixing How To Get Away with Murder. I wouldn’t mind sitting next to Dean Thomas in potions class. Er…torts. Um, I hope Jason isn’t reading this. I love you, babe.😘 I only half know what’s going on because I don’t actually watch it, it’s just on in the background while I do other things. Non-Dean related — someone buy me this coat.  Actually, don’t, cause I’m not bold enough to wear it, but isn’t it radiant?

Is it time for baba yet? yes, ’tis. 


This baba ganoush was loosely based off of Kenji’s baba recipe. Y’all know Kenji, right? Jason makes fun of me because I’ll snap in the kitchen and say stuff like, “Kenji says that it works better if you slice it this way. Don’t put it on the heat yet, Kenji says not to. Oh? you liked the eggs, did you? That’s Kenji’s recipe. ”

But I’m actually a bad fan because I haven’t even bought The Food Lab yet. Don’t judge!

This is one of the most amazing dips I’ve ever made, but I have a confession to make. I truly intended it to taste like pizza, but it kinda doesn’t. It has a lot of pizza elements in it, and it’s so savory and good and addicting that I didn’t change the name. Because pizza is savory and good and addicting. If anyone in the western world told me they’d never been in a post-pizza carb coma, I’d probably call them a liar. That’s not always a bad thing, pizza comas can be hangover cures, but if you’re mad busy, you don’t want to be in a starchy haze. And this is a darn good solution.

What are your favorite dips?

Pizza Ganoush


  • 2 medium-large eggplants
  • 1/4 cup fresh, tightly packed basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tightly packed fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed julienned sun dried tomatos
  • 1 medium garlic clove, very finely grated
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the two eggplants under the broiler (about 6 inches away from heat source) and cook for 45 min-1 hour, turning every now and then. Remove from heat and either tent with foil or tent under a pan for about 15 minutes.
  2. The eggplants should practically peel themselves.
  3. Place over a pasta strainer and press out the excess water.
  4. Blend the eggplant until smooth. Add the garlic. Remove to a plate.
  5. Blend the tomatoes to a paste, using water or olive oil to help the blender move. If you have a high-powered blender, you might not need either one.
  6. Mince the heck out of the the basil and oregano.
  7. Swirl all the tomatoes and herbs into the bowl with the eggplant.
  8. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberally coarse flake salt and freshly ground pepper.


Keep a really close eye on the eggplant. They can be prone to bursting when cooked this way. A few light punctures help keep them from doing this.




Sweet Avocado & Mint Tacos


How do you feel about breakfast? Some folks say they can’t eat early in the morning, but I’m definitely not in that category — I wake up thinking about food. There’s a Cathy comic where she packs herself really healthy lunch, and then eats it all before her husband even has coffee. I would say that’s an accurate description of my relationship with breakfast. This morning, for example,  I made Jason a huge stack of pancakes to soothe his pain while he watched the Big Ten game recaps. In the mist of this syrup-fueled harrumphing at Mark May, he looks at me and goes, “well, aren’t you gonna eat?”

“I already ate, babe.”  I’d had cheese, an orange, apple butter, and some really good rum apple bread. I didn’t tell him any of this. He didn’t need to know the details.


Of course, there are days when I don’t want a smorgasboard first thing in the morning. I want something lighter, and that’s where these tacos come in. They actually originated as a late night snack, but they were so good that I had them again the next morning. They make a wonderful lighter breakfast. Enough calories to get you going, but not so many that you need to turn around and take a nap. This recipe is for only two tacos, but totally make more if you please.

I wasn’t going to share these because this is such a simple recipe. But I’m realizing that people like simple recipes, they like simple recipes involving avocado, and they really really like it when said recipes can be eaten in the morning. That’s why everyone’s obsessed with avocado toast, right?

This is just as freakin’ good as avocado toast. Maybe even better. It’s layered with mint and juicy pomegranate and just a teeny bit of lemon. It’s the time of year for red and green things, and for eating as much pomegranate as you can get your little paws on.  I love saying “little paws,” and use it at any chance I get.  👋



Sweet Avocado & Mint Tacos

Yield: 1 serving, easily multiplied


  • 2 soft corn tortillas
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate arils
  • 6-8 big mint leaves
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • pinch of fine flake kosher salt


  1. Toast the tortillas till warm but still pliable. Smash the avocado on them, then add the mint. sprinkle the arils, lemon juice, and salt over top. Enjoy.