Bio: Hey Honey Pies!! Hope you don't mind me calling you that. I'm Monique, the slightly crazy chick that's going to guide you through all of these tried and true recipes! We're gonna have fun, laugh a little, and create some downright delicious dishes! Grab a recipe and lets go!!

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    Southern Smothered Baked Turkey Wings

    November 21st, 2014
    “Southern baked smothered turkey wings recipe slow baked in the oven and covered in creamy gravy full of sautéed fresh onions, peppers and celery. A true southern, soul food favorite”

    Smothered baked turkey wings take me back to Sunday dinners as a child. My grandmother cooked a soulful spread every Sunday and the entire family would come over and eat. She had many different Sunday meals that I remember but one of my favorites was smothered baked turkey wings with rice, collard greens, mac n cheese, candied yams and cornbread!

    southern smothered baked turkey wings recipe

    I find it so cool that I can create that exact meal and have my boys chowing down just like I use too.Only thing is that Isaac wouldn’t touch these southern smothered turkey wings with a ten foot pole lol. Ethan and my husband on the other hand devoured an entire plate full.

    southern smothered turkey wings recipe

    These easy smothered baked turkey wings are full of southern spirit! I cooked them slow and low in the oven so that they are super  tender. The thick and creamy homemade gravy is full of bits of onions, bell peppers and celery. Serve this over a bed of white rice and you have some true, comforting food for the soul.

    southern smothered turkey wings recipe

    I had such a hard time taking a picture of this dish. It’s not the most appealing looking dish but man oh man it is good!! You can strain the gravy if you prefer your gravy silky and smooth but I just LOVE having those onions, peppers and celery in there. So good!

    I prefer to make the gravy a day ahead so it has time to sit and mingle with all those veggies! It really adds a nice depth of flavor. My grandmother would always make her gravy on Saturday night and it was torture knowing we couldn’t dig in until Sunday dinner. Pure torture!

    southern smothered turkey wings recipe

    Now one thing I’ve heard people say they hate about smothered BAKED turkey wings is the chewy/slimy skin on the turkey. I’ve found that if I broil the wings for the last few minutes it really crisps up the skin, just be careful not to overdo the broiling we don’t want to dry out the meat. My grandmother would bake her wings to get them tender and then lightly fry the outside to get the skin crispy before smothering them in gravy. It’s all optional and a personal preference really.

    Watch me make these smothered baked turkey wings from start to finish!



    Smothered Turkey Wings

    • 4 lb turkey wings
    • olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
    • 1 tablespoon parsley
    • 1 tablespoon onion powder
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • GRAVY
    • 2 celery sitcks, diced
    • ½ green bell pepper, diced
    • ½ white onion diced
    • mushrooms, dice (optional)
    • 6-8 tablespoons butter
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • 3 cups chicken broth
    • ½ cup whole milk, warmed
    • ½ cup heavy whipping cream, warmed
    • salt, pepper, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, to taste.

    1. Preheat oven to 275 F.
    2. Combine seasonings.
    3. Brush wings evenly with olive oil to coat.( Could also use melted butter)
    4. Sprinkle wings generously with seasonings, massaging seasonings into wings. Add more olive oil to help distribute the seasoning if needed. (use as much of the seasoning as desired)
    5. *optional step for more flavor* Cover wings and let marinate for 4 hours or overnight.
    6. Place the wings in a roasting pan and over tightly with foil.
    7. Bake for 2½ hours.
    8. *optional step for a crisp skin* Uncover for the last few minutes and broil both sides to crisp up the skin.
    9. Drain the excess juices from pan (you could also use some of the juices for broth if desired.)
    10. Line the pan with foil and place turkey into the pan. Set aside.
    11. To make the gravy, melt butter in deep skillet.
    12. Add chopped veggies and sautéed until almost tender.
    13. Whisk in flour and cook over medium heat until flour is golden and no longer has a raw flour taste.
    14. Whisk in chicken broth, milk and heavy cream.
    15. Simmer until gravy has thickened to your liking.
    16. Pour the gravy over the turkey, cover and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
    17. Serve immediately with rice.

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    Easy Mini Pumpkin Pie Bites

    November 13th, 2014

    “Creamy homemade mini pumpkin pie bites with a scratch-made buttery, flaky crust . Easy to make recipe! Perfect portable fall dessert ”

    My husband has been asking me to make a pumpkin pie all month. He even created a Pinterest board called Pumpkin Pies with over 45 pins of pumpkins pies and pumpkin inspired dessert and sent me an invite. Really?  I love him though.

    mini pumpkin pie bites recipe


    I’ve been doing so much baking lately; pumpkin spice cakes, caramel cakes, pound cakes geez! There was no way I was gonna have a pumpkin pie in the fridge as well.  My waistline is seriously telling on me these days, but I can never say no to this man when it comes to cooking his favorite things. It just lights up his world like a kid on Christmas.  I figured these mini pumpkin pie bites were the perfect alternative to baking an entire pumpkin pie.

    mini pumpkin pie bites recipe

    They’re easy, packs in all the flavors of homemade pumpkin pie, portable and downright adorable! Everybody loved these little mini pumpkin pie bites and hubby and son requested them again. *rolling my eyes* I won’t like though, I think I like these WAAY better than regular pumpkin pit.

    mini pumpkin pie bites recipe

    They sure don’t last long at all because they are so doggone fun to eat and convenient. I think we have about 3 more in the fridge which I’m sure Isaac and Ethan will finish off tonight.

    mini pumpkin pie bites recipe

    The homemade pie crust is amazing!!  It’s my go-to pie crust recipe for any type of sweet pie. It has the flaky, layered texture of pie crust with the buttery taste of a biscuit. The pumpkin mixture is sweet, creamy and perfectly spiced for such a tiny bite. I topped them with cinnamon cool whip, but I highly recommend piping on homemade cinnamon whipped cream.

    Make up a batch of these mini pumpkin pie bites and take them into the office. Then just sit back and watch how fast they disappear.

    Watch me make these mini pumpkin pie bites from start to finish!

    5.0 from 1 reviews

    Mini Pumpkin Pie Bites
    Serves: makes 24

    • PIE CRUST (all ingredients should be really cold)
    • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ cup butter (chopped)
    • ¼ cup butter-flavored shortening
    • ¼ cup cold water
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • ¼ cup white sugar
    • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 1 egg
    • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1 tablespoon flour
    • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (can add more if desired)
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. In a medium size bowl whisk together flour, sugar and salt.
    3. Cut in butter and shortening until crumbly.
    4. Stir in cold water.
    5. Stir until dough forms.
    6. Press dough into a disk.
    7. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    8. In a large bowl combine white sugar, brown sugar and butter until creamy.
    9. Mix in egg, heavy cream, flour and vanilla until creamy.
    10. Fold in pumpkin. Batter will be speckled.
    11. When pie dough has chilled remove it from fridge and knead lightly a few times.
    12. Flour a work surface and pat dough out about ¼ inch thick.
    13. Use a small round cookie cutter to cut out 2-inch circles.
    14. Place the dough circles into a non-stick mini muffin pan.
    15. Press the perimeter of the pie dough so that they completely fill the tin. Use a fork to create ridges on the mini pie crusts if desired.
    16. Place the batter into the pie crusts using a mini ice cream scoop.
    17. Shake the pan or use a knife to level off the top.
    18. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the centers of the pie is set. Be careful not to over bake. Pie may be a little jiggly when it comes out of the oven but will set completely as it cools. Pies will be puffy when they come out of the oven, but will sink back down when cooled.
    19. Cool pies on the counter and then top with cinnamon cool whip.


    1 Comment "

    Southern Creamed Corn w/ Bacon

    November 10th, 2014

    “Creamy, southern-style creamed corn made with fresh roasted corn, cream, milk, sugar, and topped with smokey bacon”

    Have your parents ever told you what your first food was? Mine was creamed corn.  My mother told me that she gave me a bite of her creamed corn when I was  7 months old and I nearly attacked her entire plate trying to get more.

    fresh southern creamed corn recipe

    I still LOVVVE creamed corn to this day but rarely make it. Whenever I do decide to make it I vow to make it more often. I forget just how comforting and delicious fresh, homemade creamed corn can be.

    fresh southern creamed corn recipe

    I could seriously eat this stuff as a meal and be perfectly happy. Southern-style creamed corn is sweet, super creamy, fattening, delicious and downright addictive!! Paired that sweet, creaminess with some salty, smokey bacon and baaaaaby YES!!  It’s the perfect compliment to a soul food meal of spicy roasted turkey wings, collard greens, candied yams and cornbread. That’s what my grandmother always served with it.

    fresh southern creamed corn recipe

    If this is your first time having homemade fresh creamed corn let me introduce you to this delicious side dish! You want to start with fresh corn and either grill or roast the corn in the oven.

    fresh southern creamed corn recipe

    These two methods creates the most amazingly delicious corn and really brings out the natural sweetness of the corn. If  you can’t find fresh corn, then go with the frozen corn as a last resort.

    fresh southern creamed corn recipe

    Now let me tell ya, I’ve had southern creamed corn prepared with all kinda stuff like cream cheese, half n half, almond milk, etc. My favorite way is to simply use some good ol heavy cream and regular milk.  It makes for the creamiest, richest southern creamed corn I’ve ever had! I love it and hopefully you will too. Some southern creamed corn recipes choose to thicken the corn with only pureed corn and that works just fine too if you prefer it that way, but be sure not to puree too much of the corn, we don’t want baby food!

    Watch me make this Southern Cream Corn from start to finish!

    5.0 from 1 reviews

    Southern Creamed Corn
    Serves: 4

    • 2½ cups fresh roasted corn (about 7-8 ears of corn)
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • ½ cup milk
    • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
    • 5 slices bacon
    • 1 tablespoon bacon grease
    • 1 tablespoon flour
    • salt and pepper

    1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
    2. Place corn directly on oven rack and roast for 20 minutes (do not remove husk)
    3. Let roasted corn cool off.
    4. Cut kernels from cob into a large bowl.
    5. Add in heavy cream, milk and sugar. Set aside.
    6. Fry bacon in a deep skillet, leaving 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet.
    7. Chop bacon into pieces and set aside.
    8. Add flour to hot oil and stir until flour is golden and cooked.
    9. Add in corn mixture.
    10. Simmer until thick and creamy, about 30 minutes.
    11. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
    12. Garnish with chopped bacon and parsley.
    13. Serve immediately.



    Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

    November 6th, 2014
    “Made from scratch, moist, fluffy pumpkin spice cake recipe with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Easy to make recipe and perfect for the holidays!”

    I’ve been wanting a homemade pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting all week!  My grandmother makes the best from-scratch pumpkin spice cakes and sells them around the holidays. She even uses her own fresh pumpkin puree.  (Here’s the recipe for homemade pumpkin puree incase you want to give it a try )

    pumpkin spice cake recipe 2


    However since Grandma Barb is 2 1/2 hours away in the snowy mountains, my only option was to get my hind parts into that kitchen and make one myself! Thankfully this pumpkin spice cake recipe is crazy easy and the results are worthy of any bakery in my opinion.



    If you’ve been looking for a homemade pumpkin spice cake recipe that’s moist, fluffy, and packs in all that old fashioned pumpkin flavor then here ya go! Oh don’t mention it, you’re more than welcomed!

    pumpkin spice cake recipe 1

    Just be prepared for that delicious pumpkin spice aroma to float throughout your house, totally teasing you while this cake is baking. It’s heavenly. I topped this pumpkin spice cake with an easy cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

    pumpkin spice cake recipe 3

    I have several cream cheese frosting recipes on my site so take your pick.  Some nuts would have made this pumpkin cake sing from the rooftops. I didn’t have any though. So it didn’t sing. But gosh is this thing GUUUUUUD!!

    Watch me make this Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting from start to finish!

    5.0 from 3 reviews

    Pumpkin Spice Cake w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
    Cook time

    Total time


    Serves: 12

    • 3 cups all-puprose flour
    • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 1⅓ cups white sugar
    • ¾ cup of butter, softened
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
    • 1½ cup buttermilk
    • 15 oz. 100% pure pumpkin (canned)
    • 2 (8 oz) packs cream cheese, softened
    • ½ cup butter softened, softened
    • 1 teaspoon heavy cream
    • 4 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • cinnamon (as much as you like. Can also use pumpkin spice)

    1. Preheat oven to 275 F.
    2. Grease and flour 3 round ( 9-inch) cake pans. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
    4. In a large bowl cream together sugars and butter.
    5. Beat in each egg one at a time.
    6. Fold in vanilla and pumpkin spice.
    7. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
    8. Fold in pure pumpkin.
    9. Pour batter evenly into the cake pans.
    10. Bake for 30-35 minutes (check it at 25 minutes) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached. (do not overbake. Cake will continue cooking while it cools)
    11. Let cake sit in pans for 5-10 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack to cool completely.
    12. While cake is cooling make the frosting.
    13. Cream together cream cheese, butter and heavy cream.
    14. Mix in powdered sugar a little at a time until creamy.
    15. Fold in vanilla and cinnamon.
    16. Frost cooled cakes.

    Cake taste best the next day. (stronger pumpkin flavor)



    Caramel Apple Crisp

    October 29th, 2014

    Something about the words “apple crisp” just makes me feel all cozy inside. I immediately think about colorful fall leaves, comfy sweaters, and  crisp autumn air. Probably because  the only time we had apple crisp growing up was in the fall time when fresh farm apples were everywhere.

    easy caramel apple crisp recipe

    I could always tell when apple crisp was in the oven from that signature buttery, cinnamon apple caramel aroma! It is heaven and I can truly say that every part of the apple crisp is my FAVORITE!

    easy caramel apple crisp recipe 5

    My grandmother always diced up tiny pieces of  caramel chews and sprinkled it throughout the apple crisp. It gave it that simple extra something and now I find myself doing the exact same thing. I mean if you’re gonna have apple crisp you might as well have caramel apple crisp right?

    easy caramel apple crisp recipe 2

    This caramel apple crisp is divine! Loaded with tart, granny smith apples that compliments the sweet caramel and that buttery, cinnamon oatmeal crisp topping so well. It’s sweet but not too sweet for a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side! Speaking of which, is apple crisp really complete without vanilla ice cream? It just seems….unnatural.  So be natural.

    easy caramel apple crisp recipe 3

    This caramel apple crisp is such a comforting classic dessert and comes together so easily with simple ingredients.  It’s the perfect ending to a fall dinner and company worthy.

    caramel apple crisp recipe

    If you’ve got yourself some apples you need to get rid of I implore (new word I can’t stop using) you to make this caramel apple crisp recipe….like… ASAP!!

    Watch me make this caramel apple crisp from start to finish!

    Caramel Apple Crisp
    Cook time

    Total time


    Serves: 6

    • 5-6 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • ¼ cup white sugar
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • ½ cup caramel chips
    • CRISP
    • ½ cup quick oats
    • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
    • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
    • 2 tablespoons white sugar
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • 6 tablespoons butter
    • 2-3 tablespoons melted butter (for drizzling, optional)

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. Add sliced apples to a large bowl, set aside.
    3. In a small bowl combine flour, white sugar, and cinnamon.
    4. Sprinkle over apples and toss to fully coat apples in mixture.
    5. Spread apples evenly into a casserole dish.
    6. Sprinkle caramel chips over apples. Set aside.
    7. In a large bowl combine oats, flour, white sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
    8. Cut in 6 tablespoons butter until mixture is crumbly.
    9. Sprinkle topping evenly over apples.
    10. Baked for 30 minutes or until golden.
    11. When crisp comes out of the oven drizzle with melted butter.
    12. Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!


    1 Comment "

    Homemade Diaper Cream & Diapering Tips!

    October 22nd, 2014

    Since finding out on Facebook that so many of my readers are moms expecting their first child (what’s up with that? Must be something in the water!), I thought a post on diapers, wipes and a homemade diaper cream recipe would be right on time! Feel free to pass this post along to your prego friends if a new baby is not on your agenda anytime soon or ever again (raises both hands).

    Let’s chat, I want to know the BEST baby advice you’ve ever received. Can you remember what it was? For me it was about diapering and it came from the best source ever, my grandmother!

    homemade diaper cream recipe

    I didn’t change my first diaper until I was 27. I had just given birth to my first son Isaac and the nurse said, “He’ll be having his first poop soon which will be very thick and tar-like so be prepared.” That poop came at 2:33 a.m. (yes I write everything down) and let’s just say, I wasn’t prepared… at all. What the…!!

    I had so much stuff on that hospital bed trying to figure out what went on first. There were diapers, wipes, baby powder, diaper rash creams, baby bottom balm, vaseline, changing pad and even a peepee teepee (don’t ask because I never used that thing). I’d been given so much baby product advice that I overwhelmed myself with such a simple process.

    homemade baby diaper cream

    Thank God for Grandma! She gave me the best advice that day to just, “keep it simple.” She said, “All you need to do is find a good-fitting diaper for that baby, some reliable wipes and use this homemade diaper cream. Give all that other junk away.” Hahaha, she rocks!

    6 years and 2 boys later I’ve only used diapers, wipes and her amazing homemade diaper cream for diaper changes. We’ve never even had to deal with diaper rash (fingers crossed), which I think is pretty darn awesome.

    So let’s talk about these three items, shall we?

    My Diapering Essentials & Tips

    homemade diaper cream recipe

    Wipes: Wipes will be your best friend for many years to come (just ask any mom). Stock up! Isaac is 6 and I still find myself whipping out Ethan’s baby wipes to clean something off his face, ears or hands while we’re out. It totally annoys him but it’s better than the mama’s spit and thumb technique that I got growing up. I started off by making my own wipes for Isaac and then I went to using washable cloth wipes.

    homemade diaper cream recipe

    By the time Ethan came along, I switched to Target’s up & up wipes

    homemade diaper cream recipe

    These wipes are soft and strong with just the right amount of moisture to get the job done. I seriously hate when wipes are too dry or too wet. They are made with botanic fibers, and since they are hypoallergenic and alcohol-free they can be used on the face as well. Grab your favorite scent or play it safe with no scent at all, which is the one I use. Whatever tickles your fancy.

      homemade diaper cream recipe

    Grandma’s Homemade Diaper Cream: This diaper cream is everything! It uses only five natural ingredients: shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, vegetable glycerin and beeswax. You can add a drop of lavender oil for scent if you’d like.

    Here’s the recipe:

    4.9 from 7 reviews

    Homemade Diaper Cream
    • ¼ cup raw Shea butter
    • ¼ cup raw cocoa butter
    • ¼ cup coconut oil
    • 1 tablespoon pure beeswax (I used the pellets)
    • 2 Tablespoon vegetable glycerin

    1. In a small pot, add Shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil and beeswax.
    2. Melt over low heat.
    3. Once melted remove from heat and stir in glycerin (and lavender oil if using)
    4. Use a mixer and beat until creamy.
    5. Pour into a jar and let cool. Mixture will be thick and creamy.
    6. Wash pot and beaters immediately.
    7. To use, spread a thin layer of cream over babies bottom during diaper change.

    This homemade diaper cream is pure, simple and effective! The Shea and cocoa butter moisturizes, the beeswax helps create a protective barrier, the glycerin helps bind it all together and the coconut oil provides natural antimicrobial properties. Create a batch and pour it into travel sized containers. The cream is rich, thick and really creamy so a little goes a long way. I applied a thin layer with every diaper change when the boys were little but as they got older I just applied a thick layer at night or whenever I remembered during the day.

    homemade diaper cream recipe

    Diapers: Finding your favorite diaper (whether it’s cloth or disposable) may take a lil trial and error. I personally think it’s all about the fit. Right now I’m trying out the new Target’s up & up cotton enhanced diapers.  They were on sale for $19.99 for 64 size 6 diapers!

    homemade diaper cream recipe


    homemade diaper cream recipe

     So far so good when it comes to absorption. They have soft-stretch on the waist and sides which helps get a good fit. I was drawn to the fact that the core is enhanced with cotton.

    homemade diaper cream recipe

    Ok so I’m stepping off my mommy-opinion soapbox and inviting you all to step on!

    What baby advice has helped you the most? Leave your comment below and automatically be entered for a chance to win one $100 Target GiftCard!

    (Oh and I’ll give you a serious side eye if you say “sleep when baby sleeps” because we all know that is rarely possible and I’m pretty sure the woman who thought of that had a nanny! )

    Sweepstakes Rules:

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    Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

    October 20th, 2014
    “Easy creamy chicken noodle soup recipe loaded with chunks of chicken, onions, carrots, celery, fresh parsley, noodles and garlic in a savory, creamy broth.  Even more comforting than regular chicken noodle soup!”

    Creamy chicken noodle soup recipe

    This fresh, easy, creamy chicken noodle soup is quickly  becoming my favorite. Every year I tend to crave a particular soup all season long. Last year it was broccoli cheddar soup and this year it’s creamy chicken noodle soup. I’m ashamed to say how many times I’ve made it. We can’t seem to get enough of it around here and it’s a true winner since  Isaac & Ethan likes it.


    This creamy chicken noodle soup comes together so easily too especially when you cheat and use leftover rotisserie chicken.  I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve been cheating a lot with Targets rotisserie chickens. We always have leftovers so I whip up this soup to get rid of it.

    Creamy chicken noodle soup recipe

    If you thought regular homemade chicken noodle soup was cozy and comforting then wait until you taste his luscious, creamy cousin. This creamy chicken noodle soup is full of all the fresh flavors of homemade chicken noodle soup like chunks of chicken, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, fresh parsley and noodles but with a creamy twist.

    If you normally love cream based soups then you MUST try this one. I knew I was going to fall in love when I first made this soup because I can never resist a creamy style soup (um heeellllo creamy cheeseburger soup)

    Creamy chicken noodle soup recipe

    This is pure comfort food so don’t go asking me about calories and thang. I’m not sure I want to know since I’ve had many, many…. many bowls. Lord help me. If you’re looking for an easy, quick, filling and delicious dinner to make on a crisp fall or winter evening then this is what you want honey!

    Creamy chicken noodle soup recipe


    Watch me make this creamy chicken noodle soup from start to finish!


    5.0 from 3 reviews

    Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
    Serves: 10

    • 3-4 carrots, diced
    • ½ white onion, diced
    • 3-4 celery stalks, diced
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 7 cups chicken broth (I used Better Than Bouillon chicken soup base)
    • fresh parsley, chopped
    • 3 cups egg noodles, dry
    • 1 lb chicken, cooked and diced
    • ¼ cup butter
    • ¼ cup flour
    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

    1. In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
    2. Add carrots, onions and celery and sauté until tender.
    3. Add in chicken broth and fresh parsley.
    4. Bring to a boil.
    5. Add in noodles and cook until noodles are tender, about 7-8 minutes.
    6. Remove from heat.
    7. In a saucepan over medium heat melt butter.
    8. Stir in flour and whisk constantly for about 1½ – 2 minutes.
    9. Slowly pour in milk, whisking constantly.
    10. Stir in heavy cream and bring to a light boil.
    11. Boil lightly until sauce thickens, continue stirring.
    12. Pour sauce into chicken noodle soup and stir until combined.
    13. Add in cooked diced chicken.
    14. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
    15. Serve immediately.
    16. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.



    Oven Baked S’mores Bars

    October 14th, 2014
    “Hot, gooey, soft and chewy oven baked s’mores bars recipe. Easy to make and downright delicious! All the taste of campfire s’mores without bugs!”

    This past week has been stressful! We were still in limbo with our living situation and whether or not we wanted to build, buy, rent or just relocate to a new city period! We thought we had it all figured out and actually put in an offer on a beautiful new house last week (which was accepted) only to do some soul searching and realized we weren’t ready to be tied down to such a high mortgage and an HOA.

    I’m a homebody and I like to feel settled…and decorate and all those homey things.  That just hasn’t been the case for the past year with all this moving and undecisiveness. I was about ready to say screw everything, let’s just move to the beach or the mountains because if mama aint happy aint no- Sweet mother of God look at that hot sexy marshmallowy chocolate goodness down there!!!

    easy baked smores recipe2

    Chocolate has a way of making it all better and these oven baked S’mores gave me life this weekend!  My inlaws have been camping all week and they invited us over. Whew talk about a much needed break from “stuff”. My mother use to always tell me “if you’re stressed out about a decision just go out and spend a day in nature and by the end of the day you’ll have your answer.” I love being outside in the Fall time and it was so nice to just be outdoors with the fam doing and thinking about …NOTHING!

    easy baked smores recipe4

    One of my favorite things about camping is hands down S’MORES!! I love s’mores, hence these s’mores cupcakes and s’mores popcorn balls! This time of year is all about bonfires and s’mores MUST be on the menu. Unfortunately the night we were going to make s’mores, it rained! Sucks but that didn’t stop me from getting my s’mores fix.

    easy baked smores recipe1

    Isaac and I cranked up the oven and had these better-than-campfire oven baked s’mores right at home. These oven baked s’mores are amazing! The graham cracker cookie layer is  soft and chewy, almost like a blondie meets graham cracker. And you already know what a power couple marshmallows and chocolate are. These were nothing short of amazing! So soft, chewy, and messy just like a s’more should be!

    NOTE: If you need these babies to cut neatly let it set completely so that the chocolate hardens. You can also pop it in the fridge to firm up the chocolate and marshmallow fluff to create beautiful cuts that shows the layers. I think these oven baked s’mores taste best hot though.

    easy baked smores recipe3

    I really hate to say I like them better than s’mores made on a bonfire because that is such a classic dessert but….I do. I really do. Sorry….and I have a feeling you will too.  The crunchy campfire smores with toasted marshmallows are great don’t get me wrong, but this recipe takes them to a new, yet familar territory.

    easy baked smores recipe5

    So choose a rainy day, set up a tent inside, make these oven baked smokes bars with your favorite little people. And simply enjoy the memories that s’mores are so good at creating for reason. Oh and p.s the day out in nature really did grant us an answer. We finally decided to build! Case closed…for now : ) Oh what unforeseen adventures lie ahead! Either way, I’m taking you guys with me. Stay tuned…..

     Watch me make these oven baked s’mores from start to finish!!!

    Oven Baked S’mores

    • ½ cup butter, room temperature
    • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
    • 1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow cream fluff
    • 21 snack-size hershey bars

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. Grease an 8 x8 inch pan. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
    4. Mix in egg and vanilla. Set aside.
    5. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and graham cracker crumbs.
    6. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients a little at a time.
    7. Use a rubber spatula and stir until a soft dough forms.
    8. Divide dough into two equal sized balls.
    9. Press one ball of dough evenly into the prepared pan.
    10. Place the hershey bars in a single layer on top of the dough.
    11. Use an offset spatula to spread on the marshmallow fluff in an even layer.
    12. Press the remaining dough into small, flat circles and place them on top of the marshmallow, pressing together the seams so that it is one uniform piece.
    13. Baked for 30 minutes or until golden. (may need less time so keep an eye on it)
    14. Let cool slightly before cutting and serving.


    Apple Fritter Doughnut Bites

    October 3rd, 2014

    It’s almost State Fair time here in NC! It’s been about 3 years since I’ve been to the State Fair and all of a sudden I’m craving those funnel cakes, apple fritters, seasoned corn and those jumbo turkey legs!!! Ughhh but yummmmmm, right?

    apple fritter doughnut bites recipe

    The fair is not on the agenda this year so I thought I’d bring a bit of it to me  by frying up some of these delicious Apple Fritter Doughnut bites! I know what you’re probably thinking, besides how you wish you were sinking your teeth into one of these apple fritters right now.

    You’re probably wishing you didn’t have to fry them huh?  I know right! I absolutely HATE frying foods. The whole grease thing…and then the smell of it in the house. And oh yeah it’s not the healthiest thing.  But hey you can’t have a true fair experience without something fried so suck it up and just do it! *cat hiss* I’m sassy  today!!!

    apple fritter doughnut bites recipe

    Let me tell ya honey, these homemade apple fritter doughnut bites lasted for 30 minutes in my house. Did you hear me? I said THIRTY. MINUTES! How sad. That might be a record for us. We usually have the common decency to let  things like this last for at least an hour or so geez.

    apple fritter doughnut bites recipe

    We were helpless to their gravitational pull and just HAD to have one every time we went into the kitchen. Tip: Don’t leave them sitting out on the counter if you’re a Sweets Whore. You’re just asking for it. That bumpy, glazed surface is just promising something amazing on the inside. They are truly some delicious, fluffy, moist, apple-cinnamon goodness and the fact that they are so tiny can be a good or bad thing.

    apple fritter doughnut bites recipe

    If you are an apple fritter fan like I am then you will definitely appreciate these little cuties.  I mean who needs the fair when you can whip up homemade apple fritters right at home right? They are lightly sweetened so don’t skimp the glaze, it really adds the perfect amount of sweetness to these apple fritter doughnut bites.

    apple fritter doughnut bites recipe

    Watch me make these apple fritter doughnut bites from start to finish!

    4.0 from 1 reviews

    Apple Fritter Doughnut Bites
    Serves: makes about 24

    • 1 cup flour
    • ⅓ cup white sugar
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • Pinch of salt
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
    • 1 egg, slightly beaten
    • ⅓ cup + 2 Tablespoons milk
    • 1½ cups finely diced apples ( I used 1 medium granny smith and 1 medium gala apple)
    • GLAZE
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 tablespoons milk (may need more)
    • drop of vanilla extract
    • Canola oil, for frying

    1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
    2. Make a well in the center of bowl .
    3. Add in milk, butter, egg and vanilla.
    4. Stir just until combined.
    5. Gently fold in apples.
    6. Heat oil in large frying pan to about 350 F. (may need to adjust)
    7. Use a mini ice cream scoop to scoop out balls of dough and drop them into the hot oil.
    8. Cook for about 1½ -2 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and let the other side brown for about a minute or until brown.
    9. Remove fritters from oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.
    10. Mix together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla to create the glaze.
    11. Dip each doughnut bite into the glaze, covering completely. Let excess glaze drip off.
    12. Place on a wire rack over wax paper and let sit until glaze has hardened.
    13. Enjoy!

    Recipe adapted from


    Autumn Breakfast Burrito

    September 29th, 2014

    Last year my hubby and I thought it would be cool to spend fall and winter tucked away in the mountains. We packed up and headed to Asheville, NC for eight months. While living there I experienced some of the best food in my life! That place is a natural foodies’ paradise! We both fell in love with this little organic coffee shop down the street from us. One of my husband’s favorite items on the menu was the Autumn breakfast burrito.


    It was huge, rustic and downright delicious!! This colorful, monstrous burrito was loaded with scrambled eggs, roasted sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, fresh baby spinach, seasoned sausage and lots of cheese all wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. Sounds delicious? It was! Whew, talk about filling and comforting! It made for the perfect healthy and portable breakfast, lunch or dinner.


    My husband still talks about this burrito so I thought I’d surprise him by recreating it for breakfast this week. With such simple ingredients, how hard could it be?

    Weeeell… after my third attempt and a few not so lady-like words, I finally got it right! Geez, sometimes the simplest recipes can be the hardest to recreate, huh? The easy part was gathering up all the fresh ingredients.

    Pretty straight forward stuff there. The hard part? Trying to replicate that juicy, flavorful sausage they used. This was such a key ingredient because it really perked up the flavors of the other ingredients beautifully!


    Finally, Johnsonville’s Turkey Fully Cooked Breakfast Sausage came to my rescue. BINGO! I’m not sure what sausage that little coffee shop used but this Johnsonville sausage was spot on, if not better! These would also taste great with the Fully Cooked Smoked Turkey Sausage Links.

    One thing I love about Johsonville Sausage is how doggone flavorful they are! I didn’t even have to add salt or any other seasonings.  Can you believe that as much as I love seasonings and spices! I had to shoo Isaac away from the pan while the roasted filling cooled because he kept sneaking all the sausage.


    If you haven’t noticed, I try to stick with chicken or turkey in my house as much as possible. It’s really hard finding good breakfast sausages that don’t contain pork.  You’ll appreciate these Johnsonville Smoked Turkey Sausage Links, if you’re in the same boat.  They have 70% less fat and are made from premium cuts of turkey with no fillers. Winning!! (Yes I still say that.) And unlike most other fully cooked sausages, Johnsonville uses absolutely no fillers for a juicy and firm texture and bite.


    Now, you can certainly add in more ingredients like fresh avocado or black beans if you wish. The coffee shop served these burritos with salsa verde but I don’t think it needs a sauce at all. My husband likes it with fresh salsa and a avocado-sour cream dip.

    I served these Autumn breakfast burritos with fresh fruit and a grand latte. It made for an amazing breakfast fit for a busy, crisp fall morning. I don’t wanna toot my own horn here (toot toot) but we thought these tasted way better than that little coffee shop in mountains.

    What’s your favorite comforting fall breakfast?

    Leave your comment below and automatically be entered for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!  

    4.7 from 29 reviews

    • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into ¼ inch cubes
    • ½ green bell pepper, seeded and cut into ¼ inch cubes
    • ¼ large white onion, cut into tiny pieces
    • 9.6 oz. Johnsonville Fully Cooked Smoked Turkey Sausage Links or Johnsonville Turkey Fully Cooked Breakfast Sausage, cut into small pieces
    • 7 eggs, scrambled
    • 5 burrito-size tortillas (white or wheat)
    • Mild cheddar cheese, shredded
    • Fresh baby spinach, shredded

    1. Preheat oven to 425.
    2. Drizzle sweet potato, green bell pepper and onion lightly with olive oil.
    3. Place on a greased cookie sheet in a single layer.
    4. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
    5. Add in sausage during the last 5 minutes to heat it.
    6. Generously grease a griddle with butter over low heat.
    7. Place tortilla on griddle.
    8. Sprinkle cheese over the entire surface of the tortilla and allow to melt slowly.
    9. Sprinkle shredded spinach on top of cheese and allow to wilt slightly. (keep the heat low, the tortilla should not be browning or getting crisp.)
    10. Add a layer of scrambled eggs down the center (leave enough room on the bottom and top to fold burrito style)
    11. Add the sweet potato sausage mixture on top of the eggs.
    12. Transfer burrito to a cutting board or plate and roll up burrito-syle. Place seam die down.
    13. Cut at a diagonal and serve.

    Sweepstakes Rules:

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    This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

    The Official Rules are available here.

    This sweepstakes runs from 9/29-11/2.

    Be sure to visit the Johnsonville Sausage brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


    Easy Oven Baked Beef Ribs

    September 24th, 2014


    “Easy oven baked BBQ beef ribs that are well-seasoned to the bone, slow baked, tender, juicy and fall off the bone perfection!”

    oven baked beef ribs bbq recipe

    For some reason, it never fails that my sister and I get stuck making the beef ribs for family functions. Maybe it’s because we make really great oven baked beef ribs but truth be told we have no clue what we’re really doing and our oven baked ribs are, use to be,  really hit or miss.

    Here is how the conversation usually went. My sister calls me up-

    Sister: Mama wants you to make beef ribs for  {insert any occasion}.

    Me: No she didn’t, you know good and well she asked you to make them.

    Sister: Yes, but I don’t want to. So I’ll buy them and let you make them ok.

    Me: Umm…no ma’am! Sister: Ok I’ll drop them off.

    Me: Shon don’t bring them ribs over here!!  I’m not even at home. (total lie)

    Sister: Ok then I’ll just leave them by the door m-kay. Byeee. Thanks boo!!!!!! (and she hangs up before I have a chance to respond)

    That girl gets on my nerve sometimes!! LOL Gotta love her!! I think we use to hate making the beef ribs because we really didn’t have a tried and true recipe to work off of. Yes, I have another oven baked beef rib recipe on my site but I grew tired of that one. It was a little too saucy and time consuming. Not to mention, it wasn’t doing the best job at making my husband do the “air booty slap dance” after he ate them. Which is what he does when I make something amazing.

    oven baked beef ribs bbq recipe

    I wanted an oven baked beef rib recipe that was simple, easy and made the best beef ribs all the time. Well I decided to do what any girl does when she needs a tried and true recipe to wow ‘em, I called grandma!!! Ms. Barbara never disappoints honey. She made my hubby and I some oven baked BBQ beef ribs when we went to visit (yes she cooks a full spread for ANYBODY who tells her they are coming over. Like seriously. She is insanely sweet like that.) and he raved about how good they were. I love when my food makes my man happy so I was determined to recreate my grandma’s ribs for him.

    oven baked beef ribs bbq recipe

    Well guess what happened? My husband liked this oven baked BBQ rib recipe better than Grandma Barbs!!   The only thing I did differently was add more spices to the rib spice rub recipe. I think this kicked up the taste of BBQ sauce and even helped to tenderize them a little more.

    oven baked beef ribs bbq recipe

    Now I ONLY make this oven beef rib recipe and after you try it, you may never make it any other way either. Hubby says I’m not allowed to experiment with other recipes because these beef ribs took him on a journey somewhere and he couldn’t stop eating them. He seriously almost ate the entire pan.I won’t lie, they are amazing! Juicy, fall off the bone tender, well- seasoned, perfectly saucy and sticky! Everything I look for in a good oven baked BBQ beef rib.

    oven baked beef ribs bbq recipe

    Ok enough blabbering about these doggone beef ribs. Go make them for your man. For your wife.  For yourself. For your kids. Somebody! Just make them. And devour them one by one until you push back from the table totally stuffed. I may or may not have done that. I served these oven baked BBQ beef ribs with sweet corn, steamed broccoli , garlic Texas toast and cinnamon mashed sweet potatoes…and of course sweet ice tea!

    Watch Me Make These Oven Baked BBQ Beef Ribs From Start To FInish!

    5.0 from 1 reviews

    Oven Baked BBQ Beef Ribs

    • 3 lbs meaty beef ribs
    • Liquid smoke (optional)
    • 2-4 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon onion powder
    • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
    • 2 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt, can used a smoked salt as well. (I used 1½ teaspoons because we kinda like our ribs a tad salty)
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 2 teaspoons oregano
    • Favorite BBQ Sauce (I only used a few tablespoons of Sweet Baby Ray’s)

    1. Rinse ribs and dry COMPLETELY with paper towels.
    2. Douse dry ribs with liquid smoke if using.
    3. Lightly coat ribs in olive oil.
    4. Mix together seasoning and sprinkle generously over ribs, front and back. (don’t have to use all of seasoning mix)
    5. Massage the spices into the ribs, adding more olive oil to help distribute the spices well if needed.
    6. Place the ribs in a large ziplock bag or covered bowl and marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
    7. Preheat the oven to 250 F.
    8. Place the ribs on a foil lined baking tray in a single layer.
    9. Add another piece of foil on top to create a pouch for the ribs to cook in. Be sure to seal the edges of the foil so that it’s tight and steam won’t seep out.
    10. Bake on the middle rack of 3½ -4 hours. (Mine only needed 3½ hours) Check on it after the 3½ hour mark. The oven temperature is very low so you can afford to cook it a bit longer without worry)
    11. When the ribs are done to your liking, drain off the excess fat.
    12. Brush the ribs with desired amount of BBQ sauce.
    13. Broil on low until the sauce is sticky. (this won’t take long so keep an eye on it)
    14. Serve hot and enjoy!!


    Cinnamon-Sugar Quick Bread

    September 18th, 2014

    “Swirls of cinnamon-sugar baked right into this moist cinnamon-sugar quick bread recipe. Easy to make and great with coffee!”

    I made this cinnamon sugar bread specifically with my son Isaac in mind. He loves all things cinnamon, always has. He walked into the house from playing and the first thing he says is, “mmmmm something smells SO good!  Mommy what did you make me?”  Yes he just assumes I cook desserts mainly for him, never mind the other 3 people in the house.


    cinnamon sugar quick bread recipe

    For some reason I get really into quick breads in the fall time. This is the perfect quick bread to bake on a crisp fall morning. The cinnamon fragrance just floats throughout the house even after it’s out of the oven making everything feel all cozy.

    cinnamon sugar quick bread recipe 5

    This cinnamon sugar bread is practically begging for a cup of fresh brewed coffee and a really good novel.  I wouldn’t know though because I didn’t get to enjoy it with coffee…or a novel because ISAAC and MY HUSBAND ate it all! I was fortunate to snag a small slice right when it came out of the oven though which was heavenly. It tastes good warm and room temperature.

    cinnamon sugar quick bread recipe 1

    Surprisingly this bread isn’t as sweet as you might think with the amount of sugar, glaze, and those swirls of cinnamon-sugar. Yes I know my sweet tolerance is a little bit “advanced” than the average person but I was seriously expecting it to taste like a cake. It’s definitely a breakfast bread. Sweet but not cake-sweet.

    cinnamon sugar bread recipe

    It really reminds me of that cinnamon swirl bread that Starbucks use to sell back in the day.

    Watch me make this cinnamon-sugar quick bread recipe from start to finish!


    5.0 from 4 reviews

    Cinnamon Sugar Quick Bread

    • ½ cup butter, softened (1 stick)
    • ½ cup white sugar
    • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla, extract
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ cup white sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
    • ½ cup powdered sugar
    • 1-2 Tablespoons milk

    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside.
    3. In a large bowl cream together butter, white sugar and brown sugar.
    4. Mix in egg and buttermilk.
    5. Mix in vanilla extract.
    6. Mix together flour and baking soda and add to batter.
    7. Stir JUST until flour is combined. Be careful not to over stir. Batter will and should be slightly lumpy.
    8. Mix together cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
    9. Add half of the batter to the pan
    10. Sprinkle on half of the sugar mixture and swirl batter with a knife and then smooth it out.
    11. Top with the remaining batter.
    12. Sprinkle on the remaining cinnamon sugar and swirl with a knife and smooth out.
    13. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    14. Remove from oven and let bread cool.
    15. When pan is warm to the touch, remove bread from pan and let bread cool completely.
    16. Mix together milk and powdered sugar to create a thick but pourable glaze (may need more or less milk)
    17. Drizzle glaze over cooled bread.
    18. When glaze has hardened, slice bread and serve.



    Mom’s Easy Baked Ziti

    September 11th, 2014

    “Over the top baked ziti recipe loaded with over 10 different cheeses, 3 kinds of meats, fresh basil, garlic and onions. It’s truly restaurant quality that’s easy enough for a weekday and good enough for company!” My mother use to love to make baked ziti. It was her go-to dish on Wednesdays when she had to hurry to choir rehearsal but still wanted us to have a hot, homemade dinner.

    baked ziti recipe easy 2

    She’d whip up her famous baked ziti, twist some canned biscuit dough and brush them with basil parmesan butter to make them look like mini breadsticks and throw together a simple green salad. I could always tell when it was “baked ziti day” in the house.

    That fragrant aroma of fresh basil, onions and garlic traveled all throughout the house and even outside where we were playing. Seeing that bubbling cheese cook away in the oven was pure torture and we NEVER let it cool off before digging in.

    baked ziti recipe 8

    It’s a meal I will never forget and I have YET  to find another baked ziti recipe that is as good as this one. It’s just the perfect blend of…. EVERYTHING! Maybe I’m biased because it’s the way mom made it : ) I remember everybody asking for this recipe growing up. It was right up there with my grandmother’s yeast rolls.


    baked ziti recipe 6




    Even though my mother has passed, every now and then I’ll run into a childhood friend and they will remind me of what an amazing baked ziti my mom use to make. That’s when you know you have a special dish!

    baked ziti23

    Strangely enough I probably only make baked ziti once a year. Not sure why, probably because there is just no way I can make it as special as she did.  I feel blessed to be able to share this recipe with you guys and relive some great childhood memories of eating this delicious baked ziti almost every Wednesday.

    Watch me make Mom’s Easy Baked Ziti recipe from start to finish!

    5.0 from 8 reviews

    Mom’s Easy Baked Ziti
    Cook time

    Total time


    Serves: 10

    • 1 lb. ziti noodles, prepared ( a little under al dente.)
    • 1 lb. ground breakfast sausage (I used Jennie’ O turkey)
    • ½ cup pepperoni, diced (I used turkey)
    • 3 oz Italian sausage, diced (I used Archer Farms Italian chicken sausage)
    • ½ cup onions, diced
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
    • 14.5 oz can basil, garlic & oregano diced tomatoes ( I used Hunts)
    • 12.5 oz homestyle Marinara sauce (I used Mezzetta Napa Valley Bistro)
    • 12.5 oz Three Cheese Spaghetti sauce (I used Bertolli)
    • 1 egg
    • ½ cup ricotta cheese
    • ½ cup cottage cheese
    • 3 cups Italian cheese blend, shredded, divided (I used Sarengto’s 6 cheese Italian which is smoked Parmesan, mozzarella, asiago, fontina, Romano & Provolone)
    • 1 cup mixed cheddar cheeses, shredded ( I used Kraft’s Triple Cheddar blend)
    • 3 oz smoked gouda cheese, sliced thin
    • Fresh basil, chopped

    1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
    2. Prepare the ziti according to package, except cook it a little under al dente.
    3. Rinse with cold water to cool noodles, drain and set aside.
    4. In a large deep skillet, brown the meat over medium heat.
    5. Add onions, garlic, and Italian seasoning and cook until onions are slightly tender.
    6. Drain the fat and return to heat
    7. Stir in the diced tomatoes, marinara sauce and spaghetti sauce.
    8. Reserve a cup of meat sauce for later use.
    9. Bring sauce mixture to a light boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
    10. In large bowl stir together beaten egg, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, 1-2 tablespoons fresh basil and 1½ cups of Italian blend cheese.
    11. Toss in the noodles and stir gently until noodles are coated.
    12. Add in the reserved cup of cooled meat sauce.
    13. In a 9×13 casserole dish spread out a thin layer of meat sauce.
    14. Top with half of the noodle mixture.
    15. Next layer on half of the meat mixture.
    16. Sprinkle with the mixed cheddar cheeses and then lay on the slices of smoked gouda.
    17. Top with the remaining noodle mixture and remaining meat sauce .
    18. Top with remaining Italian cheese blend.
    19. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly!
    20. Garnish with lots of chopped fresh basil.
    21. Let baked ziti sit before serving.
    22. Enjoy



    Autumn Cleaning: 4 Steps To A Sparkling Clean Kitchen

    September 8th, 2014

    Fall is almost here (eek! I’m so happy)! Every fall I give my home a good ol’ cleaning from top to bottom. I really enjoy it, matter of fact, I start getting excited just thinking about it. This is probably a sign that I should get more hobbies but whatev’s! There is just something about entering into a new season with a sparkling clean and organized home. I like to start with my favorite room in the house…The Kitchen!!! Here are my 4 steps to a fresh and clean kitchen! Follow along with me! First open up those windows and let that crisp autumn air flow through the house. Grab a cup of coffee, sit down and let’s get started.

    1. Make A List. Create a checklist of everything that needs to be done in the kitchen from scrubbing around the sink fixtures to wiping down the baseboards. Get the whole family involved if you can. Here’s what my deep cleaning kitchen list looks like.

    Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 7.59.33 AM

    2. Gather Cleaning Supplies. I like to keep it simple when it comes to my cleaning supplies. These are my weapons of choice.

    • Target’s up & up Disinfectant Wipes: It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with cleaning wipes. I’ve confessed many times, even did a video on them. I use to make my own but lately I’ve been using Target’s up & up brand. It’s .85 cents cheaper than the popular brand I used to buy and these babies are strong! I can rinse them out and use them again and again. A big plus since we go through these wipes so quickly in my house. It’s just so doggone convenient for wiping & sanitizing things quickly. And they have a clean lemon scent. Love them!
    • Targets up & up All-Purpose Cleaner w/ Bleach: I’m not very brand loyal when it comes to my all-purpose cleaners. I usually just get whatever’s on sale when I run out. However my husband ALWAYS goes for the store brand for everything and he picked this up for me. Can’t beat $2.19 for a 32 oz trigger bottle! This stuff is great. I love that it has bleach in it for killing germs, just be sure your kitchen is ventilated well when using a bleach cleaner. I use it to clean out the sinks, toilets, trash cans and other places where germs like to fellowship.
    • fall clean1
    • Baking Soda: Baking soda is my best friend when it comes to cleaning off stuck on stains and deodorizing. I make a thick paste by mixing it with a little water, lemon juice or vinegar (depending on what I’m cleaning) I also sprinkle some in my trashcans, down the drains, dishwasher and place a box in the fridge for freshness.
    • Newspaper (or Tracing Paper) : This is my favorite way to add a streak-free shine to glass or shiny surfaces like windows, oven door and so forth. After cleaning and drying slightly, I take crumpled piece of newspaper and buff it to a shine. Works like a charm and yes newspapers still exist.
    • Blue Dish Soap & Water: Yes it has to be blue. Something about the blue dish soap just does the job better in my opinion. Maybe I’m crazy. Give me some good ol’ hot, soapy water and I can clean anything.


    3. Get Cleaning. This is the fun part right? If not, then make it fun! Put on some comfy cleaning clothes, turn off your phone (hey stay focused, no face booking!) crank up the music, dance, sing and clean! You’ll be done in no time!

      fall cleaning

    4. Add A Special Touch. Stand back and admire what you’ve just accomplished. Your kitchen is clean, sanitized, and organized. You are ready for Fall!! Add a special touch to your kitchen to make you smile. I usually opt for a vase of bright fresh flowers or a simmering pot of cinnamon sticks, cloves, water and orange peels for a natural autumn air freshener.


    Congratulations, one room down!! Now go run yourself a bubble bath and grab a glass of wine or at least thats what I plan on doing : ) Happy Fall cleaning everyone!! 

    To check out more up&up cleaning products, check out the following link or visit your local Target store.

    What are your favorite kitchen cleaning tips?

    Leave your response below and automatically be entered to win a $100 Target 

    Sweepstakes Rules:

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    3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
    4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

    This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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    Good Ol’ Hotdog Chili

    August 31st, 2014



    Easy, hot dog chili made from scratch! No more canned chili! Create this quick, southern homemade hot dog chili simmered with spices and broth and full of flavor.

    Labor Day is tomorrow and as far as I’m concerned summer can kick rocks!! So long, buh-bye, peace out!! This summer has been nothing but a blur with all this moving and unpacking. We didn’t even take any family vacations and I’ve neglected you all so much! I’m sorry, tastier days are coming for Divas Can Cook as well as a super long fall beach vacation. I’ve already lined up my new posts and videos to keep you all company while I’m away. See I’m learning!

    easy hot dog chili recipe

    I’ve been getting a lot of requests for a good recipe for homemade hot dog chili lately and thought what better time to post this recipe.  Growing up my grandmother always did hot dogs on Labor Day. Maybe it was because she was exhausted from all of those summer cookouts.

    easy hot dog chili recipe homemade

    Bring On the Hot Dog Bar!!!

    A hot dog bar is the perfect easy & quick way to wrap up the summer. Loaded Hot Dogs + Potato Chips +Baked Beans/Potato Salad= The Best Labor Day Cook Out. Oh and don’t forget a super easy dessert like this Snickers Ice Cream Cake or this Oreo Ice Box Cake.

    creamy coleslaw recipe

    And for Christ sake don’t forget the homemade cole slaw!!!

    Here is the menu I grew up with every Labor Day!  Writing this out brought back so many memories!

    Grandma Barbs Hot Dog Bar Menu:

    Toppings: chili, cole slaw, diced  red & white onions, relishes (chow chow, sour kraut, sweet relish, dill relish), shredded cheddar cheese, dice tomatoes, various peppers, chopped bacon, (ketchup, mustard, BBq sauce, mayo, chili sauce)

    Various Buns: potato buns, poppy seed buns, whole wheat buns, Hawaiian buns

    Hot dogs: various flavors and hot links

    Side Dishes: baked beans,  potato salad, chips

    Drinks: Ol School Party  Fruit Punch 

    Desserts: Vanilla Ice cream w/sugar cones and various toppings (m & m’s, hot caramel, hot fudge, sprinkles, crushed cookies, crushed peanuts)

    Easy enough right? I mean it’s labor day, don’t spend your day off in the kitchen!!

    easy hot dog chili recipe

    Ok… what was this post suppose to be about? Oh yes hot dog chili!! This is my go-to recipe for  some good ol’ crowd pleasing hot dog chili that kids and adults enjoy. It’s perfectly seasoned with herbs and spices (no packets folks) and doesn’t require any lengthy simmering. And best of all it’s EASY!!! If you’re one of those people who enjoy the “pourable” kind of chili instead of the chunky kind, no problem! Just break the meat up really fine and increase the broth and tomato sauce slightly.


    easy hot dog chili recipe

    My grandmother lets her hot dog chili simmer all day and throws in fresh onions, garlic, celery, BBQ sauce, chili sauce and everything! Yes, it’s delicious but AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT  on labor day!! (although I’ll post that recipe in the future for folks that like to  show off). Even though this hot dog chili recipe is quick, easy and basic it never fails to get rave reviews.


    There is really no need to ever by the canned  chili stuff. It simply doesn’t compare.  I better not ever hear about you buying the canned chili stuff. Ever!  (And I’m looking at you with the fed-up mama look. I bet you know exactly the face I’m talking about lol)

    easy hot dog chili recipe

    Oven Chili Cheese Dogs

    In the video I also show you how to make oven chili cheese hot dogs. It’s simple. Here’s a recap.  Place some buns in a pan, squirt in some ketchup and mustard, add the dog, top with chili, cheese and onions, cover, bake at 350 for 15-20, take ‘em out the oven and ravish them like a beast!!! The buns get really toasty so if toasted buns aren’t your thing then just stick to making them the normal way and pop them in the microwave to melt the cheese.

    Watch me make this homemade hot dog chili from start to finish!

    5.0 from 2 reviews

    Good Ol’ Hotdog Chili

    • 1lb ground beef or ground turkey (I used turkey)
    • 1 cup beef broth, divided
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon onion powder
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon oregano
    • ½ cup ketchup
    • ¾ cup tomato sauce (unsalted)

    1. Add ground turkey or beef to a pan, with a little oil and cook until almost done.
    2. Drain.
    3. Add in ⅓ cup of broth.
    4. Mix together the spices and sprinkle evenly over the meat.
    5. Mix together until spices are well distributed and broth is absorbed.
    6. Mix in ketchup & tomato sauce
    7. Add in the rest of the broth (may not need all of broth but you will need enough to simmer the chili)
    8. Bring to a boil.
    9. Reduce heat, cover and let chili simmer for about 15 minutes.
    10. Taste & season to your liking (I always add in more chili powder, black pepper , onion powder & garlic powder)



    Roasted Pepper Chicken

    August 24th, 2014
    Easy, juicy, flavorful roasted pepper chicken recipe seasoned with herbs & spices and roasted with fresh red bell pepper,  green bell peppers, celery, and onions.

    Have I ever told you guys just what an amazing cook my grandmother is? I’m pretty sure you already know being that so many of her recipes become fan-favorites on this site. She’s a southern cook who happily shares all of her passed down recipes (something that is rare these days ya know).

    fajita roasted chicken 3

    Whenever I ask her for a recipe she just lights up and always starts off with, “well, it’s real simple really…”  She cooks with so much love and dedication. Never anything too complicated or fancy. Just easy, home cooked meals that stay etched in your memory forever.

    She invited us over for dinner some time ago and served up this roasted pepper chicken. I think it’s also called roasted fajita chicken. It was delicious. So juicy, flavorful and rustic looking. Just from the name I was expecting a very peppery chicken but it’s not at all. It’s well seasoned with flavor hints of red & green bell peppers, onions, and celery.  She said it was something she just threw together and really didn’t have a recipe for it, but gave me a rough draft. I’ve tried to replicate her recipe 3 times and this is as close as I can come to grandma Barbs roasted pepper chicken.

    fajita roasted chicken 7

    This roasted pepper chicken makes for a downright easy, delicious and quick dinner and so versatile. I’ve made it 3 times in 1 month! If we have leftovers I shred it up and make fajitas for lunch (hubby loves this because the chicken is super flavorful the next day) or I do  this mexican chicken soup recipe.

    fajita roasted pepper chicken 5

    I think the beauty of this roasted pepper chicken recipe is that you can really just add any seasonings you like. It’s the essence of those red bell peppers and celery that really makes it sing. I don’t think I’ve ever roasted a chicken with red bell peppers before and had no idea how much flavor they added. Love it when I learn something new!! Those grandmothers are the best teachers!

    fajita roasted pepper chicken1 My grandmother’s roasted pepper chicken looks much darker than mine because she uses poultry seasoning. I didn’t have any on hand so I skipped that part, but I’ve included it as an option in the recipe just in case you want to add it in. It’s still good either way.

     Watch me make this Roasted Pepper Chicken from start to finish!

    4.9 from 11 reviews

    Baked pepper chicken

    • 5 lb. chicken, cut up
    • ½ – 1 tablespoon olive oil ( I used a little under a tablespoon. Use just enough to coat chicken)
    • SPICE MIXTURE (double if you like lots of spice. I didn’t double)
    • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt or plain salt (can add more if you like it a tad bit salty)
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon brown sugar, packed
    • 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning (optional)
    • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
    • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
    • 4 celery stalks, cut up
    • ½ red onion, sliced
    • Melted butter

    1. Toss chicken with olive oil.
    2. Combine spices and sprinkle generously over chicken and under the skin.
    3. Cover at let sit overnight or for at least 4 hours
    4. Preheat oven to 425.
    5. Line a casserole dish with foil.
    6. Spread peppers, onions and celery in an even layer in pan.
    7. Place chicken on top of vegetables.
    8. Bake for 45 minutes
    9. Remove from oven and spread melted butter over chicken.
    10. Return to oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until fully cooked. (you can also broil for the last few minutes to crisp up the skin)
    11. Let chicken rest for a few minutes before serving.



    Peanut Butter Cake w/ Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting

    August 14th, 2014

    I don’t know to many things that are as comforting as a slice of this fluffy, moist peanut butter cake with whipped peanut butter frosting. Pair it up with a glass of milk or coffee and all is well with the world.


    peanut butter bundt cake recipe3


    My hubby and I have been in a cake mood all week. He said to me “I want something fluffy and fattening”.  (This is our code for cake!) He’s married to the right chick because fluffy and fattening are my drugs of choice. FYI: I don’t recommend to foodies getting married unless one can balance out the other. Normally we do pretty well with making sure the other isn’t indulging too much but sometimes we just can’t resist.


    peanut butter bundt cake recipe 9



    That was the case this week. Oh you want fluffy and fattening mister? Coming up!!!  Meet Miss Peanut Butter Cake!! I’ve only made this cake one other time and that was a many years ago. I had forgotten all about it, what a shame!  I love peanut butter but I wouldn’t say I’m a die hard fan of it like some folks I know.


    peanut butter bundt cake recipe 1

    What I love about this cake besides it being so moist and fluffy is that the peanut butter taste of the cake is very light and the cake is lightly sweetened. It’s that heavenly peanut butter  frosting that really packs on the peanut butter kick. The two compliment each very well without being overpowering. It’s the perfect balance so don’t skip that frosting it takes the cake to the level it is suppose to be at. They need each other, otherwise the cake alone is kinda, just ok flavor wise, in my opinion.


    peanut butter bundt cake

    Feel free to frost the cake how you like, drizzle it on, pour it on, spread it on, whatev’s. Just get it on there! You can make it prettier by sprinkling on some peanuts or peanut butter chip morsels or even drizzling it with a bit of melted chocolate for some contrast.

    peanut butter cak frosting

    Watch me make this peanut butter cake w/ whipped peanut butter frosting from start to finish!!


    NOTE: This is NOT an intensely rich sweet peanut butter cake. It’s very lightly sweetened with a delicate peanut butter flavor and could pass for a breakfast cake.

    4.5 from 2 reviews

    peanut butter cake
    Recipe type: cake

    • 1 stick butter , melted (8 tablespoons)
    • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1 cup plain coffee
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1 cup brown sugar , packed
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup buttermilk
    • FROSTING (see note)
    • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1½ cup powdered sugar
    • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (may need more)
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

    1. Preheat over to 350 F.
    2. Generously grease and flour a bundt pan. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl mix together butter, peanut butter and coffee until well combined and creamy.
    4. Beat in sugars, eggs and vanilla.
    5. Add flour and sprinkle baking soda and salt evenly over the mixture.
    6. Add buttermilk.
    7. Mix just until flour is well-combined. Do not over mix.
    8. Pour batter into prepared pan.
    9. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.
    10. Let cool in pan for about 5-10 minutes.
    11. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely.
    12. Make the frosting by mixing together all frosting ingredients.
    13. Add additional heavy cream by the spoonful until you reach your desired consistency (depends on how you plan to frost the cake. Less heavy cream makes a thicker frosting great for spreading, more heavy cream makes a thinner frosting which is good for pouring or drizzling)
    14. Place the cake in the fridge to harden up the frosting if desired.
    15. Serve at room temperature.

    FROSTING: can half recipe if only drizzling the cake, otherwise you’ll have a lot left over.



    Southern Tuna Macaroni Salad

    August 10th, 2014

    Tuna macaroni salad holds a special place in my heart. It reminds me of big summertime cookouts and  family reunions in Elberton. In my mind I can see my funny aunt Adrienne smiling her pretty, infectious smile while whipping up her always requested tuna macaroni salad. It’s just not a cookout without Aunt Adri’s tuna macaroni salad!

    cold tuna macaroni salad 4

    I’m surprised to hear a lot of folks have never had  tuna macaroni salad before.  Maybe it’s more of a southern thing because I grew up on this stuff. I didn’t like it as a child though (the whole tuna thing, ick) but as I got older I fell in love. It’s made with elbow macaroni pasta, tuna, mayonnaise (Dukes), hard-boiled eggs, relish, diced veggies and seasoned to perfection. What you end up with is a creamy, cool tuna pasta salad that belongs right next to the potato salad.

    cold tuna macaroni salad recipe1

    Tuna macaroni salad is pretty doggone addictive as well. I find myself dipping into it whenever I go into the kitchen, a spoonful here, a spoonful there. I prefer it plain as a side dish next to grilled meats, but you can eat it with crackers, rolled in lettuce or even as a sandwich topped with fresh tomatoes (which is what my husband does)

    cold tuna macaroni salad

    It comes together really easy and honestly there’s no correct recipe as far as measurements. Everybody makes it different and that’s the beauty of it. It’s one of those pasta salads that you just taste as you go, adding in as much or as little ingredient as you like.

    Watch me make this tuna macaroni salad from start to finish!!

    5.0 from 3 reviews

    Tuna Macaroni salad

    • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
    • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
    • ⅓ cup finely diced mixture of celery, green bell pepper, and onion (see note)
    • ¼ cup dill relish
    • 2 tablespoons sweet relish
    • 2 (6 oz) cans tuna, drained
    • 1½ cup mayonnaise ( I used Dukes)
    • black pepper, Old Bay, seasoning salt to taste
    • parsely, paprika, garnish

    1. Cook pasta according to package and rinse with cold water when done. Drain & set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, add cold pasta, chopped eggs, celery, bell pepper, and onion mixture.
    3. Toss to combine.
    4. Add in dill relish, sweet relish and tuna.
    5. Stir to combine.
    6. Stir in mayonnaise.
    7. Season to taste with black pepper, Old Bay and seasoning salt (if needed)
    8. Spread into a casserole dish.
    9. Garnish with paprika and parsley flakes.
    10. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

    VEGETABLE MIXTURE: For the finely diced vegetable you can use a mixture of onion, celery, bell peppers or even carrots. (whatever you like here!) You can even use just one of them.
    ADD MORE MAYO: If you find your salad isn’t as creamy the next day feel free to add in more mayo.



    Cake Batter Cheesecake (no-bake)

    July 30th, 2014

    Happy National Cheesecake Day!!! Today you get to eat as much cheesecake as you like!! How cool is that?! Well that’s the way I’m choosing to celebrate one of my favorite desserts. I’m just gonna stuff myself full of cheesecake and then start this 21 Day Fix that’s been sitting in my closet for weeks. Fair enough right?

    cake batter cheesecake

    I’m celebrating with a quick and easy cheesecake recipe called Cake Batter Cheesecake!! I went through this thing a few years ago where I was obsessed with cake batter anything. Hence the cake batter rice krispie treats, oh and the cake batter pancakes lol. Do you remember this craze? It’s like the internet was buzzing with recipes that used cake mix. I think it was the sprinkles that sucked me in.  I’m over it now.


    But since you guys have been asking for another no-bake cheesecake recipe (wink) and since it’s national cheesecake day….why the heck not right!!! I made this cake batter cheesecake for my cousins baby shower (made mini cheesecakes and used pink and sage sprinkles ) and everyone loved them!! It’s a winner and super easy.

    cake batter cheesecake1

    The golden Oreos make such an amazing crust and it goes so well with the yellow cake flavored cheesecake. This cake batter cheesecake is a great alternative to the traditional birthday cake. no-bake cake batter cheesecake recipe

    I love that I don’t even have to fool with the oven with this recipe and I speed up the setting time by throwing it into the freezer for a few hours. I think you are really suppose to let it set in the fridge overnight but I always cheat with the freezer for these types of no-bake cheesecakes.

    cake batter cheesecake


    Choose your texture: Do you like your no-bake cheesecakes to be fluffy, soft and creamy or do you like it partially frozen? Choose your favorite consistency here. I like the slightly frozen texture, it’s like a cream cheesecake ice cream so I store it in the freezer and let it sit out for a bit before I cut into it. My husband prefers it on the softer side because he says the crust is too hard to cut into when it’s frozen so I keep some for him in the fridge. It’s good both ways.

     Watch me make this Cake Batter Cheesecake from start to finish!!

    5.0 from 10 reviews

    Cake Batter Cheesecake (no-bake)
    Serves: 8

    • CRUST
    • 2½ cups golden Oreos, finely crushed
    • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
    • ¾ cup powdered sugar
    • ½ cup yellow cake mix
    • 2 tablespoons milk (if mixture is too dry to mix)
    • 8 oz Cool Whip (plus more if you’re going to decorate with it)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup crushed Golden Oreos (optional)
    • 3 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles, plus more for decorating

    1. In a large bowl stir together 2½ cups Oreos and butter until well combined.
    2. Press mixture evenly and firmly into the bottom of springform pan.
    3. Freeze crust for at least 20 minutes.
    4. In a large bowl combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, cake mix, vanilla extract, and milk (if needed).
    5. Fold in Cool Whip & vanilla extract.
    6. Fold in crushed oreos and rainbow sprinkles.
    7. Give it a taste, add more sugar if desired.
    8. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
    9. Freeze for 2-3 hours or refrigerate overnight, or until set.
    10. Decorate as desired.
    11. If completely frozen, allow to sit at room temperature to soften up a bit before cutting.


    Melon Ball Punch AKA Bottled Summer

    July 15th, 2014

    I have been dying to use my melon baller again after using it for my drunken melon balls recipe.  I’d been eyeing this melon ball punch for a long time on Pinterest and with this intense heat we’ve been having, it was time to give her a go! ( with a little tweaking of course ; )

    melon ball punch recipe white sangria virgin

    If summertime could be bottled up it would taste exactly like this melon ball punch. This punch just screams lazy summer days in the country.

    Maybe because it’s bursting with melon-liciousness (love that word) and it’s paired up with tart lime slices and fresh mint leaves, flavors that just compliment each other so well.  Oh FYI:  Now don’t you go letting the taste of the plain drink alone scare you off when you first mix it up like I did.

    melon ball punch recipe white sangria virgin

    Let me tell ya, when I first mixed this melon ball punch up in the pitcher I was not impressed…. AT ALL. Yes it was good but not something I’d rush to make again. My recipe critic husband was all like….”um…yeah it’s ok. I mean it’s not nasty if that’s what you’re asking”.  But then when I added the frozen melon balls, mint leaves, and lime wedges…HELLOOOOO FLAVOR!!! Wow who would have thunk that those ingredients could awaken this punch so much!  It’s like a virgin white sangria!

    melon ball punch recipe white sangria virgin

    The melon balls and mint leaves give off their flavors pretty quick and it’s definitely the missing piece to this flavor combination. The mint leaves add that touch of coolness that goes GREAT with the other flavors. So whatever you do, DO NOT SKIP THE MELONS & MINT LEAVES . Promise me!

    This melon ball punch would be GREAT for brunches, baby showers, weddings, etc. It presents very well don’t you think?  And we thought it was pretty darn fun having colorful little melon balls in our drink to snack on when we were done. Especially since they were slightly frozen and had soaked up all that yummy punch.

    melon ball punch recipe white sangria virgin

    Make up a test batch to take poolside with ya. You’ll see that the flavors just gets better and better as it sits.  It’s so refreshing that it got guzzled up pretty fast around here though.

    Light, fizzy, perfectly sweetened, refreshing and crisp, yep that pretty much sums it up. Make it!

    melon ball punch recipe white sangria virgin

    Watch me make this melon ball punch from start to finish!


    5.0 from 1 reviews

    Melon Ball Punch
    Serves: 6

    • 25.4 oz Sparkling white grape juice
    • 2 cups clear lemon lime flavored soda (I used Sprite)
    • 1 cup lemonade (I used Simply)
    • 1 small ripe watermelon
    • 1 small ripe cantaloupe
    • 1 small ripe honeydew melon
    • fresh mint leaves
    • 2 limes, sliced, plus more for garnish if desired

    1. In a pitcher stir together grape juice, soda and lemonade.
    2. Place in the fridge to chill.
    3. Use a melon baller to scoop out the flesh of the watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon.
    4. Place melon balls on a cookie sheet lined with foil.
    5. Freeze.
    6. Once frozen add a few cups of melons balls to pitcher along with fresh mint leaves and slices of lime.
    7. Stir.
    8. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
    9. Serve cold using additional frozen melon balls as ice cubes.
    10. Garnish glasses with lime slice and mint leaf.




    Gluten-Free Carrot Cake (Moist & Fluffy)

    July 11th, 2014

    “It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you, without a dope recipe to bake to. Bake to, Bake to!” Ha! Wow has it really been almost a month since my last recipe??? OMG I’m so sorry guys! Please forgive.


    gluten-free carrot cake recipe dairy-free


    We’ve been moving. Like AGAIN. Like back into the  house that we previously moved from!!! Who does that!!?!? I’m all unpacked and settled in for now…. and then we’ll be moving again in about 3- 4 months while this house gets gutted and remodeled.

    Whew talk about anxiety! Jesus fix it!!! lol I just keep telling myself it will all be worth it in the end. Woosaaaah!

    Ok enough about that. I’m back and I’m all yours. So let’s do what we do best, TALK FOOD baby!!I’m just now getting hip to this whole gluten-free thing and how to bake gluten-free cakes. It seems like so many people are going gluten-free by choice or for medical reasons these days. My sister-in-law and my aunt are both gluten-free, which is the reason for this gluten-free carrot cake recipe.


    gluten-free carrot cake recipe



    I promised my aunt I would make her dinner and dessert while she recovered from surgery (I haven’t forgot aunt Lisa!!) so I’ve been playing around with a few gluten-free cake recipes. I tried my hand at baking a gluten-free chocolate cake and gluten-free chocolate cupcakes a few years ago and lets just say it was wrong on all levels.  A true EPIC FAIL!!! Gritty, gummy,  super dense, flat, just gross!

    gluten-free carrot cake recipe dairy-free


    I thought this was just how gluten-free cakes tasted. I mean how good could something be without the help of fluffy white wheat flour right? Well it wasn’t until I was in Asheville, NC and tried a slice of gluten-free carrot cake from a cafe called Green Sage that my mind was totally changed. This carrot cake was light, fluffy, moist and it tasted exactly like a regular cake made with white wheat flour. Shut the front door!!!

    gluten-free carrot cake recipe 4

    I went on a mission to create a amazing gluten-free carrot cake. It needed to have a beautiful, moist crumb, loaded with sweet fresh carrots and also pass the stick to the back of the fork test. BINGO we got action Jackson!! I don’t know about you, but my greedy-self  professional cake eating self can totally just look at a cake and tell if its moist and fluffy. Can’t you just see how amazing that first bite is gonna be from looking at this picture?  You now exactly how that fork is gonna glide through dontcha? Have mercy! I could weep. Let us pray. gluten-free carrot cake recipe 9

    Ladies and gentlemen,  I present to you the very first gluten-free cake recipe on Divas Can Cook, homemade gluten-free carrot cake! I wish I could just drop the gluten-free from the title because seriously I couldn’t even tell it was gluten-free! This gluten-free carrot cake bakes up light, fluffy and moist just the way a carrot cake should! It’s lightly spiced with just the right amount of cinnamon & sweetness to pair up with that silky cream cheese frosting.

    gluten-free carrot cake recipe rice flour

    To replace the white wheat flour I used Pamela’s Artisan Flour. It’s a gluten free all-purpose rice flour blend that’s great for baking cakes. You can use it cup for cup, as you would with regular flour. You can get it on Amazon or in most whole food type stores. I’ve tried Bobs Red Mill gluten-free flour in the past and ick!  I didn’t like how gritty it made the cake taste, but some folks swear by it. Hey, whatever floats your boat! My sister-in-law uses Pamela’s a lot in her baking and she makes really great gluten-free cakes so I’m sticking with Miss Pam for now.

    gluten-free carrot cake recipe 6

    Isaac LOVED this carrot cake and my husband did the “pretend to slap an imaginary booty” dance after the first bite. That tells me that this one is a keeper for whenever we have gluten-free guests over : )

    I’ve only been playing around with gluten-free cake baking for a short amount of time and I’m def. no expert but here are a few tips I’ve picked up to pass along to ya.

    Gluten-Free Cake Baking Tips:

    Increase the flavor: I’ve noticed that gluten-free flours tend to dull the flavor of cakes just a tad. I usually double the amount of cinnamon or extracts if I’m baking a gluten-free cake adapted from a regular cake recipe. I always taste the batter. Regular cake batter is sweet and so should gluten-free cake batter.

    Add moisture: Look for ways to throw in moisture since gluten-free cakes can be notorious for being dry, crumbly and gummy. I like to use buttermilk or sour cream. Fruits also add moisture. Apples, carrots and pears are great for adding moisture. I also LOVE adding pureed fruit or veggies into the cake batter.

    Don’t over bake: This may just be me but I swear gluten-free cakes require less baking time and they aren’t as forgiving as regular cakes if you over bake them. I start eyeing my cakes like a hawk at the 15 minute mark. As soon as the middle springs back I get that baby out of the oven quick. I also like to take my cakes right from the oven to the freezer to cool. This technique creates a really moist cake and does a rapid cool since cakes continue to cook as they cool on the countertops.  I prefer to bake gluten-free cakes at a lower a temperature like 325F. if it doesn’t have many “moisture helpers” in the batter.

    Play up the texture: Certain ingredients are great for giving gluten-free cakes a moist, fluffy crumb texture. I swear by buttermilk, whipping cream and/or vegetable/canola oil for the best gluten-free cake texture. Also be sure not to over mix the cake as this will result in a flat, dry cake. Gluten-free pudding mixes are also great to throw into the batter for extra fluffiness.

    “But Monique  I can’t have dairy either, HELP!”

    No Worries Make a Gluten-Free & Dairy Free Carrot Cake!

    Oh now don’t you go worrying your pretty little head about that. Here are a few suggestions for substitutions. Now the texture won’t be quite as fluffy but it will work. Ok you ready?  Replace the buttermilk with sour rice milk or sour coconut milk (add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice and let it sit for a few minutes to “sour” it up a bit). For the cream cheese frosting use Tofutti’s “Better Than Cream Cheese” spread. I had to go dairy-free for 8 months while nursing and loved this stuff for making dairy-free cream cheese frosting. Use your favorite dairy-free butter substitute for the butter replacement. I like Earth Balance. Can’t have nuts? No biggie, just leave them out.  Can’t have eggs?…hmmmm… well now you’ve stumped me but I’ve heard of several egg replacement that might work like using chia seeds.

    Watch me make this Gluten-Free Carrot Cake From Start To Finish!!

    5.0 from 12 reviews

    Gluten-free Carrot Cake (Moist & Fluffy)
    Serves: 8

    • 1 cup white sugar
    • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 cups Pamela’s artisan gluten-free flour
    • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
    • ½ cup buttermilk
    • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    • 2-3 cups carrots, finely shredded (I used a little over 2 cups)
    • ½ cup pureed carrots (optional but great!)
    • ½ cup sweet coconut flakes, finely shredded
    • FROSTING (double the recipe if you like a thick layer of frosting)
    • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
    • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
    • 2 cup confectioners sugar (may need more to thicken if desired)
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. Grease and flour (with Pamela’s flour) 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Set aside
    3. In a large bowl cream together oil, sugars, and eggs. Set aside.
    4. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
    5. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
    6. Mix just until fully combined. (careful not to over mix)
    7. Fold in shredded & pureed carrots, coconut flakes and vanilla extract.
    8. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
    9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until center is set. (do not over bake!)
    10. Place pans directly into freezer to cool.
    11. While cakes are cooling prepare the frosting by first creaming together the butter and cream cheese.
    12. Add in the confectioners sugar and vanilla extract.
    13. Mix until silky and creamy. Add more sugar if a thicker texture is needed.
    14. When cakes are cooled remove them from pans and frost, sprinkling the tops with walnuts.

    This carrot cakes tastes even better the next day!


    Recipes In Rehab : (

    June 25th, 2014

    Often times here in the Divas Can Cook kitchen I’ll cook up a recipe only to decide it’s not good enough for my “best friends in my head” (that would be you). Sometimes I’ll nix the recipe altogether but often times I’ll put it in my “Recipes in Rehab” folder.

    This folder consists of recipes that are really good but just need a little something else. That extra oomph! I usually make a few notes and come back and play around with the ingredients and measurement until I feel it’s ready to be posted.

    It sucks when recipes don’t come out the way I hoped but it’s such a learning experience and have really helped me become a better cook. So today I decided to share with you guys the recipes that have been added to the folder for this month. Hopefully I will have them all doctored up and rehabilitated to share next month!

    Ice Cream Brownie Bars w/ Caramel Waffle Cone Topping

    I posted about this little creation on my facebook fan page this week. I had high hopes for it and yes it was good, (Isaac loved it!) but something was still missing. I wanted to take a bite of this and be in heaven but I was still left here on earth. Booooo! I’m thinking maybe changing the ice cream layer to cookie dough ice cream and crushing some chocolate chip cookies on top with caramel and chocolate drizzle. Then I thought about doing a red velvet brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and a cream cheese/cool whip frosting and then sprinkling the top with walnuts. So many options to make this thing amazing right! The brownie layer was perfect! It was frozen yet still soft and chewy which was exactly what I was going for. This dessert also cut like a dream. It has potential and I can see it being a cookout favorite. I’m excited about tweaking this one! Stay tuned… ice cream brown bars

    Pan-Seared Sriracha Lime Chicken Skewers

    We nailed these things for dinner one night and I just knew this video recipe would be a success but after eating them I felt like they were just “ok”. It wasn’t something that I’d want to hurry and make again. That tells me that it needs more work. Not sure what it was but I think it needed more spices. It tasted kinda flat. I mainly just tasted  Sriracha and limes. I wanted more depth with this one. A flavor explosion! I’m thinking a good spice mixture on the chicken would take these babies over the top. My hubby really liked these though .

    sirachi chicken skewers

    Peach Cobbler Cake

    This cake was really good and had all of the buttery gooeyness of a homemade peach cobbler… it just needed some more tweaks to the peach mixture. Maybe a bit more cinnamon and nutmeg with a tad bit of lemon juice to balance out the sweetness.  The cake and glaze was pure perfection. This will be an easy fix that I can’t wait to share! Also I plan to use fresh instead of frozen peaches with this one. peachcobblercake

    Baked BBQ Sweet Potato Fries

    I’ve made this recipe 7 times!! Yep 7 times just to get the texture of these things right. Trying to get crispy sweet potato fries in the oven was a pain! But I finally figured it out by salting them last and using a bit of flour and cornstartch while letting them dry out on the counter a bit before baking. The problem? The spice mixture. I wasn’t happy with the spices on this one. I wanted a BBQ taste. Something smoky, sweet, and spicy the made you wanna just keep eating them. Still working on getting that proper balance.

    baked sweet potato fries 1

    I hope you enjoyed looking at my recipes in rehab! I’m excited about perfecting them for you guys!

    Which recipe do you think I should rehab first???


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