Nana’s Pumpkin & Raisin Muffins

pumpkin raisin muffins

My nana was a lot of wonderful things in her life, but a cook/baker she was not … with the exception of her perfecting precisely three recipes. The first being her Yorkshire pudding (she was born and raised in Yorkshire, so I think you kind of have to know how to make the pudding), the second being her oatmeal raisin cookies, and the third being these pumpkin and raisin muffins. While most of us don’t bust out the pumpkin recipes till September, October or November, Nana would make these all year round. She was famous for them. They’re unbelievably moist, probably because they call for FOUR eggs, and more vegetable oil than I’d care to acknowledge. Totally worth it though.

I see a lot of pumpkin recipes with chocolate incorporated and I’ve always had the hardest time wrapping my head around that concept. It just doesn’t sound right (or good) to me. Baked pumpkin goods, if made with an accompanying feature ingredient, should be made with raisins, NOT chocolate chips…..IMHO. Why? Because that’s how Nana did it and she never steered me wrong. Read More

Butternut Squash, Wheat Berry, Cranberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Butternut Squash, Wheat Berry, Cranberry & Goat Cheese Salad (Trader Joe's copycat)

It’s rare that I leave Trader Joe’s without at least one of their Butternut Squash & Wheat Berry salads (in the prepared foods section). It’s my favorite salad there, hands down. Unfortunately for me, the nearest Trader Joe’s is about 25 minutes away, so I don’t get out there as much as I’d like to. Fortunately, the ingredients for this salad are easily found at our local grocery store, less than five minutes down the road. This salad is hearty and healthy and will probably go into our weekly rotation come fall, since all the ingredients will be in season! Read More

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

These Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches are sooo yummy and perfect for a hot summer day. Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is sandwiched between fresh, homemade chocolate chip cookies, then rolled in mini chocolate chips. Tastes like cookies & milk. Say no more.

If you like to bake, you probably have a go-to Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. The beauty of these is that the combinations are endless. This recipe is tried and delicious and highly recommended. But I wouldn’t be offended if you used your own chocolate chip cookie recipe – once you’ve found a good one, it’s hard to stray!

If you have an ice cream maker, you can make your own ice cream (which I’m sure would make these guys even better!); however, I don’t have one so I settled for some store-bought, but good quality ice cream. Read More

Peach Streusel Muffins

fresh peach streusel muffins

I’m not sure what it is about back-to-school season that turns me into some kind of Betty Crocker / Martha Stewart home-making type. But it’s undeniable. I’m cleaning, organizing, and baking like a maniac. Maybe it’s the promise of the routine that back-to-school brings, but I’m a nesting machine these days. Other perks of back-to-school? Less Kidz Bop on the radio, a playroom that’s not perpetually bombed out, and the end of  the frustration-inducing moans of “I’m bored”.

I’ve talked before about how great the peaches are where we live, in York County, SC. I couldn’t let the season pass without posting at least one recipe, so today I bring you these peach streusel muffins. Read More

Apple, Bacon & Walnut Kale Salad

Kale, Apple, Walnut and Bacon Salad

My diet this summer has consisted mainly of salads, a good amount of ice cream and coffee. I tell myself it’s a balanced diet. I’m not sure where my insatiable sweet tooth has come from (no, I’m not pregnant). But I do know that I need to counteract it somehow, and so salad-eating has been my strategy.

I made this salad twice for dinner last week, once on its own and once with some grilled chicken. It’s super flavorful, satisfying and  hearty enough to stand on its own for a meal. Because kale stands up so well to dressing, I could even eat the leftover salad for lunch the next day. (Nothing worse than a soggy salad, IMHO).

Apple, Bacon & Walnut Kale Salad

Serves 4 as a starter, and 2, maybe 3, as a main dish
Apple, Bacon & Walnut Kale Salad


For the salad:

1 apple (gala or honeycrisp, chopped into small-medium pieces)
6-8 strips of bacon, cooked crisp
1/2 cup of toasted, roughly chopped walnuts
1/3 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
1 medium bunch of chopped kale (stems removed)

For the dressing:

1/3 cup of olive oil
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper


Prepare your dressing first, to allow time for the flavors to meld. Remove the stems/ribs from the kale and chop into small pieces. Cook bacon and walnuts, set aside. Place kale in a large bowl and pour 80% of dressing over top, “massaging” it into the kale leaves. Chop your apple and mix into salad. Add cooled and chopped bacon and walnuts. Add remaining dressing and toss. Top with shredded Parmigiana Reggiani cheese.

Note: because of the coarseness of the kale leaves, this salad is actually best if it’s let to sit, dressed, for 30 minutes or so (it won’t wilt unpleasantly as many salads would).