Vanilla Ice Cream Cinnamon Hot Cocoa

December 8, 2013 in Hot Beverages, Life, WINTER by Mary Carol

Vanilla Ice Cream Hot Cocoa

This weekend we (finally) decked out our halls…well, we are in the process… That is, I am sitting here surrounded by the many boxes that need to be put back up in the attic once we figure out what of my too-many Christmas decorations I’m leaving out this year.

But yesterday, for a few hours, the blue sky peeked out from the drizzle we are just about sick of here in Georgia, and we were finally able to go choose and cut our Christmas tree!  As tradition would have it, we made sure we had some delicious hot cocoa and a good selection of Christmas music to listen to (Ray Charles’s Spirit of Christmas album is my favorite just about every year) while stringing lights and hanging ornaments. I love making this time special! One of the things that makes this event really fun is that we approach it with a lot of silliness and humor.


You may have noticed the little tattered little angel behind the Santa mug there? She’s been through a lot…

I don’t know her origin exactly, but she has been in my husband’s family for a long time. Growing up, Brian would always style her wispy, raggedy hair into a wacky style and stick her somewhere on their family Christmas tree for all to enjoy, saying that one day he wanted to have a little girl with wispy yellow hair he could style in the same way. Because of this, when we got married and started collecting our own tree decorations, his mother passed on the raggedy angel along with his other special ornaments from years past- including glue and glitter-streaked construction paper ones from 1987…

For years, this little angel was actually our tree topper. Recently, though, I purchased a more dignified angel to top our tree, but it’s still a bit of a sore subject with Brian as to why I won’t allow the raggedy, wild-haired angel to be on the top of the tree…anyone with me? No?!


Most of you probably have your trees up and your halls decked, but if, in fact, you are still in the process, I thought I would share a little late-weekend post with a recipe that is extraordinarily easy and super-sipping good for this fun event. Of course, my bet is that you can find another perfect reason to make it this season, along with other fun recipes!

What are your family’s traditions for tree-trimming or getting ready for the holidays?


Vanilla Ice Cream Hot Cocoa

Serving Size: 6


  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 Cup hot water
  • 4 Cups whole milk
  • 1 Pint vanilla bean ice cream


  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the hot water and stir to make everything soupy.
  3. Bring to a boil and whisk while boiling for two minutes.
  4. Slowly pour in milk and heat it, but don't let it boil. Stir frequently.
  5. Ladle into mugs.
  6. Using a small ice-cream scoop or a soup spoon, scoop one scoop of vanilla ice cream into hot cocoa and sprinkle with cinnamon.


Adapted from Hershey's baking cocoa recipe for Favorite Hot Chocolate

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Sweet Potato Pound Cake

November 12, 2013 in baking, brunch, Dessert, FALL by Mary Carol



It’s about to get sweet potato-y up in here. My mom gave us a giant box full of sweet potatoes last week. My brain is about to short circuit with all the sweet potato ideas swirling around.

I made this sweet potato pound cake last week to take to a gathering, and it was delicious. The crunch really gave it something special. While I played it completely inside the box on this sweet recipe, I have been brainstorming some other options…

What about a blackberry swirl and cream cheese baked inside? Would that be crazy-good or crazy-weird? I actually tried it in a little ramekin, and I thought it was pretty awesome, but I still was afraid to risk it with a whole pound cake. Turns out I hesitate a lot when I’m baking for an audience…Something I’m trying to work on.

I also went back and forth about doing a full-on sweet potato extravaganza on the blog. Roasted Sweet Potatoes. Sweet Potato Biscuits. Sweet Potato Grits? Sweet Potato crackers? There’s  a lot to be done, and plenty already out there to explore. Maybe I’ll finish with a famous, secret family recipe saved especially for Thanksgiving day…maybe. It’s in the works.


So, hold on to your boots, sweet-potato fans.  Thanksgiving is a mere 16 days away! What better ingredient to incorporate into Thanksgiving food planning than this?

What are you guys cooking up and experimenting with to prepare for my favorite holiday of the year? Anyone else have a huge box of sweet potatoes on hand in the floor of the pantry?


Sweet Potato Pound Cake


    For The Cake
  • About 8 small sweet potatoes (4-6 medium ones)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • For The Topping
  • 2 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pats
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups chopped pecans


    Ahead of Time:
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Place clean sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until shriveled and soft to the touch, about an hour.
  3. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scrape out orange insides with a spoon into a medium bowl.
  4. Mash with a potato masher and allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. To Make the Cake:
  6. Preheat oven to 325° and grease a bundt pan all over the inside with butter and dust with flour, beating it to spread the flour into all nooks and crannies.
  7. In a stand mixer, cream butter and both sugars together.
  8. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating at medium to high speed for 1 minute after adding each one.
  9. Reduce the mixer to low speed and add the mashed and cooled sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup at a time.
  10. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.
  11. In another separate bowl, combine the milk, vanilla, and maple flavoring.
  12. With the mixer still on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk mixture, beating after each addition. Start with a third of the flour mixture, beat, then add half of the milk mixture, beat again, and repeat until the last of the flour mixture has been added and beaten in.
  13. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and then mix the batter on medium to high speed for 2 minutes.
  14. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and use the back of a spoon to even out and smooth the batter.
  15. To Make The Crunch
  16. In a medium bowl, combine the cold butter, brown sugar, and chopped pecans until a crumbly mixture forms.
  17. Sprinkle over the cake batter in the pan.
  18. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes before testing for doneness. Using a toothpick or a sharp knife, test several spots until utensil comes out clean
  19. Cool in pan for 20 minutes before flipping onto your serving dish and allowing the topping to now become the crunch on the bottom


Generously adapted from Melissa Gray of "All Cakes Considered"

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Pumpkin Crunch Coffee Cake

October 17, 2013 in baking, brunch, Dessert, FALL, Parisian Thanksgiving by Mary Carol

pumpkin crunch coffee cake

This season is all about indulgences- comfort food and eating deliciously. It is especially laden with fabulous recipes involving the orange puree that is so readily available in a can. This little gem I can buy by the dozens and find within seconds of walking in the door to my supermarket, isn’t available everywhere. 

Allow me to reminisce for a minute or two…

In 2001, I studied abroad in Paris for four months. It was an especially interesting time to be away from home since we arrived for our semester-long program on September 9th of that year. Sometime in early November, one of our french program advisors informed us that the Thanksgiving party wouldn’t be able to happen for one reason or another, and a couple of us nearly flipped out at the thought of not having Thanksgiving. In fact, we became adamant that it didn’t get cancelled, and offered to do the cooking ourselves and pick up a roasted turkey from a butcherie the night of our party. It had been a difficult time to be away from family that year, and Thanksgiving just had to be really special for us. Somehow, our advisor complied, and allowed us the delusion that we could handle it all ourselves.

As the day approached, my dear friend and trusted partner in Operation-Thanksgiving-Must-Go-On and I began translating a tattered old french-written recipe for pumpkin pie our host-mother had provided us with. I suppose we thought it would be cool to translate the recipe ourselves rather than e-mail our parents for something from home. 

The recipe itself was perhaps a bit of an anomalie, in that our host-mother, Madame B., only had it because she had visited the US several times and it was one from her collection of “American” recipes.  Pumpkin Pie is not really done in France. Pumpkin is not readily available. In fact, it doesn’t really translate and we had the hardest time finding what might be a good substitute for pumpkin. Finally, after searching many grocery stores and using our not-so-good french to try and describe what we were looking for, we were presented with a plastic-wrapped portion of fresh “potiron, ” (which is not to be confused with what the french would call probably “citrouille,” which would be the traditional carving pumpkin…of course I didn’t know this at the time).

Thus began our disastrous and hilarious Thanksgiving tale that would be remembered and told forevermore. While I leave you to ponder the simple luxury that readily available, canned pumpkin is to enhancing the season’s taste, I’ll plan to share the next chapter in my Paris Thanksgiving adventure next week. Deal? (Or are you cringing in agony like my husband is because he has heard this story so many times?)

Happy pumpkin baking!



You could call this one just “Pumpkin Crunch Cake” due to its versatility as either a ridiculously good dessert, or incredibly scrumptious breakfast indulgence. It was introduced to me a couple of weeks ago by my wonderful aunt who hosted us for a Fall festival and served this cake for dessert at her home. I adapted it from a 9×13 size which used a yellow cake mix, but decided to develop a from-scratch version for a smaller, more coffee-cake sized dish, and it really couldn’t be simpler!

Pumpkin Crunch Coffee Cake


  • 1 1/3 Cups cake flour (I'm sure all-purpose would work fine)
  • 1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 8 Tablespoons butter (1 stick) + 3 Tablespoons (divided)
  • 3/4 Cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 Cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the sugars and stir together. Set aside.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 Tablespoons butter and add chopped pecans. Stir to coat with butter and cook until toasty and fragrant.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, and eggs.
  5. In a small, microwavable dish, melt the stick of butter (8 Tablespoons).
  6. Prepare an 8 x 8 inch baking dish by coating with remaining 1 Tablespoon butter.
  7. Spread pumpkin mixture on the bottom of baking dish.
  8. Sprinkle flour mixture over top of pumpkin and press down gently.
  9. Sprinkle the toasted pecans over that evenly and drizzle with melted butter.
  10. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until toothpick comes out clean.
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Beef, Barley, and Autumn Vegetable Stew

October 4, 2013 in Dinner, FALL, Soups and Stews by Mary Carol


I’m sitting here eating the exact photograph you are viewing right now, knowing full well that I’m going to be going to the dining hall to eat supper in less than two hours.  I can’t help it. The stew Harper and I put together today (which we plan to freeze for an easy supper sometime in the near future) is unbelievable!


In light of the cozy season which is falling upon us (okay, pun kind of intended), don’t try to convince me that you aren’t drooling over the thought of fall-apart shoulder beef; sweet, rich vegetables that perfectly portray this time of year- carrots, butternut squash, parsnips, and earthy mushrooms; and hearty barley stewed together in a flavorful stock and wine combination. Unless you are currently sitting in a sauna, I bet you are.


I was feeling kind of ho-hum about today’s post- finding everything I could to keep me occupied so I didn’t have to clean up the kitchen and mess it up again making this stew we weren’t even going to have for dinner tonight. But once I started smelling it cooking while putting it all together, I completely changed my enthusiasm.

…and I’m literally just sitting here eating it. For no reason other than it is insanely good. Picture me typing….eating a bite….typing….eating a bite…looking at the clock wondering why I’m eating stew….eating a bite.

But the story of how this came together this afternoon is really quite sweet. Harper has been super into helping out in the kitchen and doing as much as possible by herself. She has been frying her own egg each morning for breakfast! We supervise, of course, and she still has to crack the egg into a bowl and pour it into the pan second to avoid getting shell in the pan, but she makes good ones! She pretty much cooks breakfast for Sammy each morning too. Is that strange? Because I had talked about this stew yesterday, I knew she would be majorly upset if I made it while she was gone to school, so I got it started and left plenty of jobs for her to do when she got home.

I got the meat cut up and seared, caramelized the onions, and poured in the wine and stock for the first hour-long simmer. Meanwhile, Harper’s carpool dropped her off and we almost instantly set to work peeling and cutting up carrots and parsnips. Harper’s job was to put them into the bowl and stir them up while I chopped, and we even discovered that Sammy likes to eat parsnips raw…weird, kid.  After everything was chopped and we had tied our bouquet garni together from herbs we picked yesterday in the garden, we poured in the veggies and the barley and let everything simmer for another hour.






I am really loving cooking with my kids. If Harper has things her way, it is likely that she’ll have a part in every dish that comes out of this kitchen. And that’s okay with me.


Beef, Barley, and Autumn Vegetable Stew

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Yield: 8 servings


  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds beef shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 Cup red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2 small yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3-5 Cups* Beef Stock (homemade or made from Better than Boullion concentrate)
  • 1 bouquet garni of rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 acorn squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms ( I used 1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms mixed with the same amount of dried, homegrown shitake mushrooms from a friend)


  1. Season your beef pieces with Salt and Pepper. Over medium-high heat, heat 1 Tablespoon butter and 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large dutch oven our soup pot.
  2. Sear beef in two batches, until brown, 5-7 minutes, then remove and let rest.
  3. Deglaze the bottom of the pan by pouring the wine in and stirring to release brown bits from the bottom and reduce wine a bit- about 2 minutes. Pour wine and brown bits into a measuring cup and set aside.
  4. Add 1 Tablespoon butter to bottom of pan and add onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, until caramelized.
  5. Return the reduced wine and the beef to the pot and add 3 Cups beef stock. Simmer for 1 hour.
  6. Add Bouquet Garni, Vegetables, mushrooms, and barley and simmer for 1 more hour.
  7. Add some of the remaining 1-2 cups stock as needed *(If you are planning to store the stew in the freezer or fridge for later, plan to have 1-2 cups stock available when you reheat the stew)


adapted from Martha Stewart Living (

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Weekend Company Menu {A Recipe Round-up}

September 30, 2013 in FALL, Life by Mary Carol

I love to meal-plan, especially when company is coming to town for an early Fall weekend. On Friday, our good friends arrived from out of town for a full weekend of playing, fishing, dirt-bike riding, a bear sighting, a beautiful run around the lake, chiminea fires…and of course, some good food.

Here’s what we ate (and where my meal inspiration came from):

Afternoon Snack:

  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


Photograph and Recipe from

Friday Night Supper:

  • Margaritas
  • Chips and Guacamole
  • Steak Fajitas with Spanish Rice


Photograph and Recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

  • Cheese and Avocado Quesadillas for the kids
  • Tres Leches Rice Pudding


Photograph from and Recipe (actually “Tres Leches Rice Pudding”) from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Saturday Morning Breakfast

  • Adapted Sunrise Breakfast Casserole (I made mine with Spinach, Bacon, and Mushrooms)


Photo and recipe courtesy of

  • Fruit Salad


After a big morning of hiking and fishing (and watching a bear!), the dads and the older kids came home for sandwiches. Our friends had stopped at Aldi on their way to our house and picked up everything we needed for a sensible and delicious, and easy mid-day meal:

Saturday Lunch

  • Ham or Turkey , Hummus, and Cheese Sandwiches
  • Baby Carrots and Ranch
  • Strawberries
  • Veggie Chip Sticks
  • and our Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert

Saturday Supper


Earlier in the week, I had prepared some sausage and cheese muffins and put them in the freezer. I took them out of the freezer Saturday night, so we would have a quick, easy breakfast the next day. Because everything can’t go beautifully and according-to-plan, and because our dog is a huge mischief maker….those delicious sausage muffins were eaten by Dexter in a bout of craziness when we were out of the house. Sad news. But we had tried them earlier, and the recipe is super easy and delicious. It’s probably not necessary for me to remind you not to let your lab get ahold of them when you make yours for company…Just pretend we didn’t end up subbing out some cereal.

Sunday Morning

  • Sausage and Cheese Muffins
  • Fruit Salad


Photo and Recipe from

And soon afterwards, our buddies loaded up and headed home with promises to return soon; we had had so much fun. Harper’s first words Sunday morning were “I don’t want JJ and Whit to go home! Can they stay for two more weeks?” But good weekends do end and the school week starts again. We are snacking on leftovers and reminiscing with good photos-


Are you having company soon or have company recently? What did you or are you planning to make? Anyone else’s dog get a hold of your breakfast plan?

Campfire Banana Boats on a Camping and Boating Trip

September 17, 2013 in Campfire Food, Dessert by Mary Carol


Guess what! I got to go on a paddling trip.

If you know me, you know this is something I enjoyed a lot in college and for years afterwards- running a river. Then you, too, probably know that is has been a good four years since I have even gotten in a kayak or a canoe on any sort of river run. The whole time I’ve been birthing babies and lying on bed rest and staying at home with the munchkins, my husband has continued to run the Outdoor Program at the school where he teaches- something we used to do together.

So, several times a year, he puts together an overnight paddling trip with students- some are just learning, while others have been at it awhile. This past weekend was the first time I got to go on one, as a chaperone, since I was pregnant with Harper four years ago! That means we are finally at that point in our parenting that we can do that! Huge shout out to Nana and Papa who came up and lovingly spent Friday night and the entirety of Saturday with our kids so I could have this adventure.

An adventure it was.

And it started with a yummy campfire snack.

Just a couple of nights before we left, as Brian was putting together a grocery list for the meals we would need for our group of fourteen studets, I happened to have just found out that I could watch cooking shows on Amazon prime (ahem, life-changing in a life where there is no Food Network). I was watching a Pioneer Woman episode where they had a little campout and made these banana boats. I looked over at Brian, who normally is very able to concentrate on whatever work he is doing while I watch a cooking show, and to my surprise, he was kinda drooling at this idea and writing down every ingredient on the grocery list.

In an attempt to save time, since we can’t leave campus for our adventure until after everyone finishes their afternoon activities or sports, he ordered sack lunches from the Dining Hall. Nothing to write home about, I’ll tell ya that. But after we reached the trail head and hiked down to the river to set up camp in a dusky darkness, some of the guys built a fire and we could hardly contain our excitement to bust out the ingredients for these banana boats…and they thought they were getting s’mores…HA! Better than s’mores.

We set up a little station on my therma-rest in front of the fire.


Alright, people. Please forgive our at-home reenactment for the sake of photos. The disappointing factor is that we don’t have any lovely campfire flames going on in the background. The other sad fact is that I didn’t have any cinnamon graham crackers, only regular ones. But the good news is that my three-year-old got to put this one together with her cute little hand, and that makes it all okay.

First, you grab a nice banana. We had several different techniques going on for slicing the banana and creating your boat, which I explain in the recipe.


Brian’s spin on this was the cinnamon-sugar graham crackers instead of the regular ones. I think everyone was pleased with the added flavor of cinnamon. So, crumble your cinnamon graham crackers into the banana peel.

Next grab a good handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips and sprinkle them about.


Last you’ll throw in a good amount of mini-marshmallows, wrap your boat in foil and gently lay it onto the coals.


Of course we didn’t pay any attention to whether the Pioneer Woman said how long to let them roast, so we had some trial runs and found that 7-9 minutes on good coals seemed to be a magical amount of time for a gooey collaboration of sweet to consume with your handy-dandy campfire spoon while silly stories are told.


The next day we packed up camp and headed onto the water for a full day of teaching wet-exits, canoe strokes, and paddle signs for stop and go, which evidently needed some fine-tuning after a colossal pile-up and several wet spills. I learned from Brian to always get the consensus of whether the trip was enjoyed by all on the take-out beach before the final ascent up a 1/2 mile trail with boats in tow. The consensus was, it was a very good time.

My muscles are aching with delight from having fulfilled a long-lost favorite past time, and I also couldn’t have been more excited to squeeze those two sweet tots of ours afterwards and show them our cool new campfire dessert.


Campfire Banana Boats

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 banana boat

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman's show on the Food Network


  • Six medium to large bananas
  • Three cinnamon graham cracker rectangles (6 squares)
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • Aluminum foil


  1. Slice banana peel lengthwise and pull away from the banana to for a little boat (I like to cut the banana itself lengthwise, also, and pull it apart kind-of like a baked potato, but we had equally satisfied eaters doing it both ways)
  2. In your hands, crush up one cinnamon graham cracker square and sprinkle into your banana boat
  3. Next sprinkle a 1/4-cup-sized handful of chocolate chips and a 1/3-cup-sized (eyeball it) handful of mini-marshmallows into the boat.
  4. Place onto aluminum foil and wrap to cover, twisting at the ends. It's okay if the banana stem sticks out of the foil.
  5. Place onto hot coals of an open fire for 7-9 minutes, or until a gooey mess.
  6. Carefully remove from fire with tongs and unwrap and eat with a spoon.
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Almond Butter Pancakes with Simple Raspberry Syrup

September 12, 2013 in Breakfast, Gluten Free by Mary Carol


Harper started preschool this year, half days, every day. I’m kind of loving our little routine of making her lunches the night before, getting up and eating breakfast together as a family, and taking turns with a carpool.

This almond butter ended up on my shelves because of a severe peanut allergy in Harper’s little Montessori class. Because of this, we can’t send any peanut butter in her lunch, but almond butter is just fine. So there it was, just begging me to do something more with it than the little almond butter and jam sandwich circles I send in the bumble bee lunch box from time to time.



Pancakes seemed to be a sensible route, and a healthy, gluten-free pancake seemed like the right thing to do…all is especially right in the world when they’re dripping with that awesome sauce. And, all inspired by bloggers like this girl  and her sweet compilation of gluten-free pancakes and such, I’m maybe on a kick. I’m gonna maybe find some more fun gluten-free stuff to share soon.


Getting to the good stuff about what is going into these to make them all delicious, I just wanted to tell you about this part. It’s the part where you combine the creamy almond butter together with some tangy sour cream…


Mmmm. Between you and me, you’re going to want to lick your finger with some of that on it. I say go for it. I did. It’s goooood.


The raspberry sauce (on pancakes we’ll call it syrup okay?) is super easy and goes so perfectly with the almond butter in an any-kind-of-butter and jelly sandwich kind of way, also offering itself to other uses such as the topping on vanilla ice cream – slurp slurp – or a sweet layer to greek yogurt with granola – oooh aaah.

These are pancakes’ debut here on Thousand Story Kitchen. I once mentioned how I am more of a waffle person than a pancake person. Did that make me sound crazy? I mean, I still love pancakes. Who doesn’t? Pancakes happen a lot around here and I’m digging these in  a major way. How’s your morning routine going? Are you going to incorporate some gluten-free pancakes into it, just for fun?


Almond Butter Pancakes with Simple Raspberry Syrup

Yield: 8 large pancakes or 16 silver dollar pancakes


    Amond Butter Pancake Batter
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tablespoons almond butter
  • 4 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Simple Raspberry Syrup
  • 10 ounces raspberries
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup sugar


    Make the syrup
  1. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add sugar and raspberries and simmer for 25-45 minutes, whisking every now and then until desired thickness. Allow to cool some before serving.
  2. Make the pancakes
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine almond flour, salt, flax seeds, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, combine almond butter and sour cream until smooth
  5. Add the almond butter mixture to the dry ingredients.
  6. Add the eggs and honey to combine
  7. Heat a griddle pan over medium heat and spray with nonstick spray or spread with butter.
  8. Cook pancakes on one side until bubbles begin to pop, flip and cook a minute more.
  9. Enjoy!
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Tomato and Vidalia Onion Tart

September 9, 2013 in brunch, Dinner, Summer Suppers by Mary Carol

Hi. Let’s catch up, shall we?

I’m M.C.

I write this blog. You may remember me from forever ago?

Geesh. I’m such a slacker.

Well, in true slacker form, I’ve got excuses to blab about. So, this Tomato and Vidalia Onion Tart- it’s awesome. No, really. It is. We had it for dinner last night, because I made it, because I wanted some gorgeous, updated, and blog-worthy photos of it. And because it’s awesome. But I kinda flubbed up its gorgeousness in the dinner-hour and I don’t have any new pictures. It sorta fell apart and we sorta ate it all- and whenever I try to put dinner on the table at a reasonable time and take pictures of it, it gets all crazy up in here. Crazy. It’s like we can’t have our tart and photograph it too. What gives?


I’m done with the excuses now.

Enjoy this tart like crazy because it’s delicious. And for a bonus, I’m throwing in some history of the Vidalia onion because you deserve it.

Happy Monday, friends.

My Brief Vidalia Onion History Lesson:

If you happen to be from Vidalia, Georgia- or the 20 counties surrounding the town which are able to grow these famously sweet onions, or have a mother from south Georgia- you know that the pronunciation goes like this:

[VI (like “pie”) DAY- YUH] (don’t forget your southern drawl)

The deliciously sweet taste of Georgia’s official state vegetable began on a Toombs County family farm in 1931. The sandy soil and mild climate was just where these babies wanted to grow, so as more and more onion lovers sought out that sweet, sweet flavor, more south Georgia farmland was dedicated to the cause. You’ll pay a little more per pound for a Vidalia, but it is worth it, given that you might actually catch someone eating one apple-style one day. The Vidalia onion is distributed far and wide these days, and finding them in our beloved mountain market was no surprise.

Tomato and Vidalia Onion Tart

Yield: 8 slices

adapted from Holly Herrick's Southern Farmer's Market Cookbook

Prepare the crust an hour ahead, or the day before. You will then bake your crust for a total of 35-45 minutes, and then bake the tart for 30-35 minutes.


    for the crust
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks cold butter, cut into 1" cubes
  • 5-6 Tablespoons ice water
  • for the filling
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 or 5 large Vidalia onions, cut in half and sliced thinly
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio)
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 5 or 6 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Prepare the crust- Mix flour and salt together. Cut in the butter by pulsing in a food processor or cutting with two knives until mixture forms pea-sized clumps. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough can be pressed into a ball. Form into ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in fridge for a half hour or so (or up to 3 days).
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter and add thyme and oregano to infuse. Add onions and Cook down for about 15 minutes over med-high heat, but don't let onions brown. Add the wine and the honey and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Stir in Egg and Cream.
  3. Drizzle sliced Roma Tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out into a 1/4"-thick circle on lightly floured surface. Place in pie plate and flute as desired. Fill with pie weights (I used parchment paper and uncooked rice, but also pricked dough with a fork) and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove weights and reduce heat to 350°, bake for 15-20 minutes more. Allow to cool.
  5. Line bottom of crust with half of the sliced Roma tomatoes to cover bottom of tart. Top with Onion mixture. Top onions with remaining tomatoes and press them into the onions slightly. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.
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Caramelized Onion and Purple Bell Pepper Bruschetta with Roquefort Cheese

August 29, 2013 in Appetizers by Mary Carol


I don’t know about you, but a meal made out of appetizers is completely alluring to me, all the time. Something about little, flavorful bites gets me all happy. If you’ve ever seen me at a party, loitering around the food table, you probably figured something was up with this girl. Can’t help it. Little savory food is so yummy!

I started to think about what to do with these pretty purple peppers that were arriving in gorgeous truckloads from the fields at our little produce market. I didn’t buy a bazillion of them like I really wanted to, because I get myself into trouble that way. Especially when I don’t have a plan.


I started tinkering with the idea of a bruschetta made with bell peppers. I started picturing them all caramelized down with some vidalias and a sprinkle of sugar, and splashed with a little balsamic.


The sweetness of these peppers and onions definitely needed the sharp bite of roquefort cheese to make them fancy and delicious. (I used Ile de France Roquefort, and if you go to their website, you can print out a $1 off coupon!) I crumbled that crazy good bleu cheese right on there and melted it down. Then I challenged my family to enjoy this for dinner…



I seriously started out with the intent of serving these bruschetta bites as dinner. And I thought I’d have time to utilize some new apples and make a delicious rustic apple pie for dessert, and I thought, hey, that’ll be just fine, right? The 18 month old will love this for dinner…Then, in the midst of photographing I recognized the ridiculousness in my plan and I scrambled around in the fridge to come up with something suitable for a toddler dinner. There was some chaos, but I found some chicken and mushrooms and made a sauce and served it over linguine and they gobbled it. Whew. That left no time for the apple pie, but the point is, that though I really wanted to serve this bruschetta for dinner for my family of four, I didn’t. And you shouldn’t either, if your kids are small. I’m a slow learner. But you can make these for a party, a grown-up party, that is, and you should. You really should.


Caramelized Onion and Purple Bell Pepper Bruschetta with Roquefort Cheese

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: approximately 16

adapted from Ina Garten's Bell Pepper Bruschetta


  • 2-3 medium purple bell peppers (I would imagine another color bell pepper would work out well too), thinly sliced
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 baguette sliced into 1-2" slices
  • 2 ounces roquefort cheese, such as Ile de France


  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. In a skillet, over medium high heat, heat 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
  3. Add the onions and peppers to the skillet and cook down for 7-8 minutes, then add sugar and cook for 5-8 minutes more, until soft and caramelized.
  4. Add garlic and balsamic and cook 2-4 minutes more
  5. Lay your baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush with remaining olive oil
  6. Place into the oven for 7-10 minutes, until just golden on edges, remove from the oven
  7. Top each baguette slice with a spoonful of the onion and pepper mixture and top with a couple of clumps of roquefort.
  8. Turn oven to broil and return baking sheet to oven for 2-4 minutes to melt the cheese. You will not look for it to bubble and turn brown, but JUST to melt a bit. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.
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German Plum Cobbler

August 26, 2013 in Breakfast, Dessert by Mary Carol


It took me awhile to figure out how I wanted to play my lazy card today. I have a few recipes left in the nu-trio barrel that I plan to bring over to TSK, and despite the current sugar-overload you’re experiencing from reading this blog, I have another sweet treat for you today. Sorry, but it’s really good.

I seriously love Cooking Light magazine. I was a subscriber for years. They have the best recipes. This is a recipe from them- like from 2011…because I’m a food magazine hoarder. Hi. I might need some help.

Plum Cobbler

I typically forget to buy plums. I’m not especially crazy about them on their own for some reason, but they sure are pretty! They are also ridiculously incredible in this plum kuchen recipe. That’s german for cake, but I like to call it cobbler, because that’s exactly what it is to me.




And honestly, what’s cobbler without ice cream? I mean, really.



So, there you have it. Now that I’m thinking about plums again, I’m thinking we all need to share our favorite way to eat plums. Because I realize that my lack of love for them only comes from lack of experience with them. So, give me your plum stories. What’s the best way to eat them? What with? When? Where? Spill it.

German Plum Cobbler

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 3/8 Teaspoon Salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 7 Tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/2 pound black plums (about 6 medium) or any variety of plums, pitted and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon Grated Lemon Rind


  1. Preheat Oven to 425° and coat a 9" square metal cake pan with a butter wrapper or cooking spray.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, 1/4 Teaspoon Salt, and Spices (1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg) in a medium bowl. Using two knives or a pastry blender, cut in 4 Tablespoons Butter until combined and resembles coarse meal.
  3. Whisk together Milk, Vanilla, and Egg in a bowl. Add milk mixure to flour mixture, and stir until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and top with quartered plums. They will sink into the batter.
  5. Combine remaining 2/3 Cups Granulated Sugar, remaining 1/8 Teaspoon Salt, and 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon in a small bowl.
  6. In microwave-safe bowl, melt remaining 3 Tablespoons Butter. Stir into sugar mixture.
  7. Sprinkle plums and cake batter evenly with sugar mixture.
  8. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes or until browned and bubbling. Cool in pan for 20 minutes.
  9. Serve for dessert, warm with vanilla ice cream or as a breakfast cake.


from Cooking Light's German Plum Kuchen

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