BLT Salad

This salad is so simple that it makes me wonder why I didn’t invent it myself. The roasted potato addition adds some heartiness and doesn’t make you notice that the bacon is really just a garnish – if you’re able to grab any. C and his little mitts snatched the bacon before the rest of us could get to it. I knew blue cheese would be a non starter for our aspiring foodies, so rather than waste my precious Matag Blue, I opted for a nice sharp cheddar that was in the fridge. Credit to The Peanut in KC for reminding me that a good BLT has a bit of cheddar on it. I have a fun memory making this salad several (ok, many) years ago to celebrate new outdoor patio furniture with some good Kansas City friends. JM and KP, this one is for you.

BLT Salad
From Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen, Kathleen Daelemans
My comments/experiences are in italics.  Continue reading

Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen

After a week of baking bliss, it was time to lean into the healthier shelf of cookbooks. I’m kicking things off with an oldie – Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen.  Around 2002. She had a cooking show on the Food Network back in the early days before food competitions took over and chefs like Emeril, Sara Moultin, and Jamie Oliver were rocking it old school with a live audience and average lighting. Chef Kathleen has an interesting story – she was overweight, took a new job in Hawaii, and discovered that she was going to be the executive chef for a spa. Keep in mind this was the mid 90s, when going to the spa was more than pulling into a strip mall for pedicures and a massage. (Not that there’s nothing wrong with that…..because I do it too.) It’s Canyon Ranch style spaaing (is that a word?) when you have a schedule with sunrise yoga, meditation breaks, cucumber water, treatments of choice, and of course – delicious yet low calorie food. So she lost weight while she was learning how to cook for her new job. There’s an authentic-ness to this I like – and the first 77 pages of the cookbook tells the story with tips on how you can do it too. After all, I could use a little spa-like detox after enjoying Flour for a week. But will the kids like it?

The Recipes
Sweet Potato Bread with Cranberries, Currants, and Pecans
Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Onion, Tomato, and Arugula
Apple, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Cold Pasta Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Mozzarella, and Mango
BLT Salad
Fast Fried Chicken Tenders
Asian Noodle Salad
Flank Steak and Roasted Vegetables with Crispy Potatoes
Fresh Fruit Sorbets
Crazy Crunch  Continue reading

Coconut Macaroons

Wow, these were delicious. It’s worth the extra time to make these with pastry cream. I’ve done gluten-free versions with coconut and sweetened condensed milk, but these little babies far surpass my others. There are some steps involved – and advanced prep – but it’s worth it. Be sure to measure everything out.

Coconut Macaroons
Flour, Joanne Chang  Continue reading


I have a major sweet tooth. It’s been passed on to my kids. I must have eaten a lot of chocolate when I was pregnant with C because he considers chocolate a food group. Or should I say THE food group. As much as a love to cook, I’ve never been much of a baker. Sure, I started out making chocolate chip cookies in high school, even made a from the box cake that I decorated as a clock for a new year’s eve party my senior year, but I wouldn’t say that baking has been a strength. I have a number of baking books in my collection – a testament to my attempt to improve – but nothing inspired me to get to that “omg good” that I hoped to achieve. Until I found Flour.

I’ve had this cookbook about 4 years. It started when I was watching the Food Network with Jeff one morning and he saw an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay that featured sticky buns. He thought they looked pretty great, so I grabbed the recipe online and made it for fathers day. It was a 2 day process that pushed my baking boundaries, but I had that “omg good” moment. So when I saw the book at Barnes and Noble, it was a must buy. Full disclosure for the review – this is my go-to baking book, so I’ve made a number a birthday cakes from this. But all the recipes I tried for the review are brand new and unpracticed…maybe not bakery pretty, but let’s just say I had happy kids this week.

The Recipes
Raspberry-Rhubarb Muffins
French Lemon-Poppy Pound Cake
Basic Brioche
Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream
Coconut Macaroons
Intense Chocolate Brownies
Granola Bars
Classic Carrot Cake (Cupcakes) with Cream Cheese Frosting
White Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting
Country Ham Cheddar, and Tomato Quiche
Pate Prisee II (pastry for the quiche)
Oatmeal-Maple Scones  Continue reading

Hellenic Lamb Burgers with Eggplant Feta Salad

I couldn’t believe the response my kids had to this burger. I’ll have to make it again just to make sure it’s legitimate. I served it up with some local naan that a friend gave me for my birthday – and it was really good. Toasted pita pockets would also be good – but skip a bready bun. It’s too much for this tasty guy. Italicized comments are my own.

Hellenic Lamb Burgers with Eggplant Feta Salad
from The Big Burger Book, Jane Murphy and Liz Yeh Singh
Continue reading