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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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    Fresh Roasted Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Sticks

    September 24th, 2016
    “A simple & delicious fresh roasted tomato soup with grilled cheese sticks! Easy recipe with big flavor!”

    Are you are visual learner?  Check out my step by step video for this fresh roasted tomato soup & grilled cheese!

    As I’m typing this post the rain is really coming down here in NC.  I LOVE days like this. It makes me wanna just cuddle up on the couch, read, bake, eat and repeat!

    My husband looooves tomato soup on rainy days! He’ll crack open a can and grab a sleeve of saltine crackers in a heartbeat.

    homemade-roasted-tomato-soup-recipe

    While eating a bowl of canned tomato soup I asked if he’d ever had homemade tomato soup made with, you know, real tomatoes and stuff. He replied “nope” and happily woofed down his mystery soup.

    Bless his heart. Since tomato soup isn’t really my thang I’d never even bothered to make it.  I knew he’d loose his mind over a batch of REAL tomato soup so I was excited to “show him the light”.  I didn’t even have to go to the store. Just simple, easy, fresh ingredients that I had in stock! The perfect way to use up fresh tomatoes!

    Nothing beats roasted tomatoes for tomato soup! That’s the only way to go for maximum flavor in my opinion.

    roasted-tomato-soup-recipe

    Let me just say this now…tomato soup is the BOMB!!! I can’t believe I’ve been ignoring this stuff for so long!  Or maybe I should say fresh, roasted tomato soup is the bomb!!! I couldn’t stop eating this soup and the grilled cheese sticks just made it all a match made in heaven!

    Talk about bold flavor. I don’t remember it tasting this good when I was younger. I’ve made it twice already. And that splash of heavy cream at the end….. mercy! It’s so good and as with most tomato dishes, it’s even better the next day!

    fresh-roasted-tomato-soup-recipe

    Tomato soup certainly has a bit of elegance to it. Maybe it’s the simplicity and richness.

    Now you certainly can get all fancy on me and roast up some pepper, carrots, celery and thangs to add some ump! But I seriously prefer this soup simple with just that hint of sweet onion and roasted garlic and herbs. Delish!


    Fresh Roasted Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Sticks
     
    Author:
    Serves: 4 servings
    Ingredients
    • TOMATO SOUP
    • 5 medium-sized vine-ripe tomatoes
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
    • ½ white onion, sliced
    • 4-5 cloves garlic
    • 4-5 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnishing
    • oregano, sprig
    • 1½ cups chicken broth
    • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (can use more or less)
    • smoked sea salt, to taste
    • black pepper, to taste
    • heavy cream
    • GRILLED CHEESE
    • 8 slices sandwich bread ( I use potato bread)
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I like to use a mixture of different cheeses)
    • ¼ cup mayonnaise
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (can add more if desired)
    • parsley
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
    2. Brush a foil-line baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.
    3. Cut tomatoes in half and place cut side down on the prepared baking sheet.
    4. Place onions and whole garlic cloves on the baking sheet.
    5. Arrange everything in a single layer.
    6. Roast for 35-45 minutes.
    7. Remove from oven and let cool.
    8. Remove the skins from the tomatoes (they should slip right off. You can leave the skin on the cherry tomatoes if you plan on blending it really well)
    9. Peel cooled garlic and place into the blender, followed by the tomatoes, onions, basil and oregano.
    10. Blend until smooth (or lightly chunky if you prefer.)
    11. Transfer mixture to a large deep skillet or pot.
    12. Stir in enough chicken broth just until your desired consistency is reached.
    13. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently until hot.
    14. You now have a GREAT base. Time to bring it to life!
    15. Add in smoked salt and black pepper a little at a time until well seasoned being sure to taste after each addition. Salt & pepper really brings out the flavor!
    16. Use white sugar to bring down the acidity and to lightly sweeten if needed.
    17. Feel free to add in garlic powder, onion powder or dried oregano and parsley for more flavor.
    18. Ladle soup into bowls & garnish with fresh basil and a splash of heavy cream.
    19. To prepare the grilled cheese, heat griddle on medium heat.
    20. Mix together mayonnaise, garlic and enough parsley for a pop of color.
    21. Brush 4 slices of bread with the mayo mixture and place mayo side down on the griddle.
    22. Spinkle on cheese.
    23. Brush the top slices of bread with the mayo mixture and place on top of the cheese (mayo side up)
    24. When the underside of the sandwiches are golden, flip over and allow the other side to turn golden.
    25. (Press the sandwiches a little with a spatula to flatten.)
    26. When both sides are golden, remove from griddle and cut into 3 sticks.
    27. Serve alongside the tomato soup.
    28. Enjoy!

     

     

     

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    Homemade Chocolate Poke Cake

    September 9th, 2016
    “Decadent chocolate poke cake made from scratch! Topped with whipped chocolate topping”

    Poke cakes are so fun to make. There is something satisfying about poking holes in a cake and then flooding it with a luscious filling!

    chocolate-poke-cake-recipe

    Today we’re gonna be whipping up this homemade chocolate poke cake. It’s one of my favorite poke cake flavors. You can expect to see more poke cakes around here. Remember when I went through my brownie/ blondie phase? Well now I’m all about poke cakes! Oh the variety!!!

    homemade-chocolate-poke-cake

    Wait…have you ever had a chocolate poke cake before??? If not, think fluffy, chocolate  cake with pockets of melted chocolate lustfulness topped with chocolate whipped cream topping and mini chocolate chips.

    Yeah…it’s amazing and yeah it’s chocolate insanity. A side of vanilla ice cream and world peace could be achieved momentarily.

    This cake has three steps (the cake, the chocolate sauce and the whipped chocolate frosting) Sounds time consuming right? No worries though because all the steps are crazy easy!

    chocolate-poke-cake

    If you have a homey, lover, or friend who loves chocolate, this cake will make them love you forever so be careful who you make it for! It’s perfect for special occasions, date night or in my case, no reason at all!

    Watch me make this homemade chocolate poke cake from start to finish!

    5.0 from 7 reviews
    Homemade Chocolate Poke Cake
     
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • CHOCOLATE CAKE
    • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 cup plain prepared, hot coffee or hot water
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda

    • CHOCOLATE FILLING
    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk

    • CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder, sifted
    • ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (garnish)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
    2. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl cream together butter, oil, brown sugar, and white sugar.
    4. Mix in eggs and vanilla extract.
    5. Mix in unsweetened cocoa powder.
    6. Mix in buttermilk and plain hot coffee until all ingredients are well incorporated.
    7. Add in flour.
    8. Sprinkle in salt, baking powder and baking soda.
    9. Mix until batter is smooth.
    10. Pour batter in prepared pan and smooth out.
    11. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted into the center.
    12. To prepare the filling (while cake is baking) add sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl.
    13. Stir and microwave in 10 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Set aside.
    14. When cake comes out of the oven, poke small holes all over the cake about an inch apart.
    15. Pour the chocolate filling all over cake.
    16. Let cake cool completely. (I place it in the fridge)
    17. To make the whipped topping, add heavy cream in a medium bowl.
    18. Mix until cream begins to thicken and fluff.
    19. Do not over mix, once cream is fluffy, stop mixing.
    20. Stir in unsweetened cocoa powder and powdered sugar until smooth.
    21. Fold in vanilla extract.
    22. Spread whipped topping over cooled cake.
    23. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
    24. Refrigerate until whipped topping is firm (I normally skip this step and dig right in)
    25. Serve!
    26. Store cake in the refrigerator.

    Adapted from lifelovesandugar.com

    10 Comments "

    Homemade Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

    September 1st, 2016
    “Creamy homemade strawberry ice cream full of fresh strawberry flavors Easy recipe and no cooking required!”

    All of a sudden, now that summer is coming to an end, I’m in the mood for all kinds of summery foods. So typical of me!

    I almost fell outta my office chair  when I realized I didn’t have a homemade ice cream recipe on this blog! Like what the heck!?

    fresh strawberry ice cream

    I grew up with that brown barrel self- churn ice cream maker at every cookout.  Homemade ice cream is embedded in the fibers of my being so how could I not have a freakin ice cream recipe?!

    homemade strawberry ice cream

    Let’s change that! Quick!

    Because not having a homemade ice cream recipe on a female-owned food blog is like…super lame! Ice cream is everything! It’s the temporary remedy for anything in life. So let’s make some shall we.

    homemade strawberry ice cream soft serve

    To deflower my blog, we’re gonna be making some really good homemade strawberry ice cream! Have you ever had homemade strawberry ice cream? I’m talking about the kind made with fresh strawberries without the typical custard prep?

    best homemade strawberry ice cream recipe

    Homemade strawberry ice cream use to be my least favorite ice cream but it turns out I was just getting a hold of the wrong kind. The kind that was made with a ton of vanilla extract, huge icy blocks of strawberries and that eggy custard base.

    homemade fresh strawberry ice cream

    Let me introduce you to my currently favorite homemade strawberry ice cream recipe. It’s sweet, SUPER creamy, fluffy (yes fluffy) and tastes and smells like fresh, sweet strawberries. Oh and none of those hard icy strawberry chunks.

    Adding that bie of cointreau gives this homemade strawberry ice cream an amazing soft serve, yet firm texture so don’t skip it if you want to experience the “ice cream cloud”.

    Best of all no artificial strawberry colors or flavors, just pure, fresh strawberry ice cream they way it should be!

     

    Watch me make this homemade strawberry ice cream from start to finish!

    Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1½ cups fresh strawberries, diced
    • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
    • 2½ tablespoons lemon juice, divided
    • 1 tablespoon orange liquor (Cointreau)
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 2 cups heavy cream, warmed
    • 1 cup half n half
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • pinch of salt
    Instructions
    1. To prepare the strawberries, add strawberries, ¼ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, orange liquor, and cornstarch into a food processor.
    2. Puree to desired consistency. (I prefer small pieces of strawberries)
    3. Set aside.
    4. In a large bowl add warm heavy cream and remaining sugar (3/4 cup).
    5. Mix until sugar is dissolved.
    6. Mix in half n half and vanilla until combined.
    7. Stir in a pinch of salt and remaining lemon juice (1½ tablespoons).
    8. Cover with plastic wrap.( Be sure the plastic wrap is touching the mixture to prevent it from developing a skin on top)
    9. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until thickened.
    10. Stir in strawberry mixture.
    11. Add the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the directions for your particular machine.
    12. Place prepared ice cream in an ice cream container and store in freezer.
    13. Enjoy!

     

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    Southern Fresh Peach Iced Tea

    August 23rd, 2016
    “Southern, fresh peach iced tea made with fresh, homemade peach syrup. Refreshing, sweet ice tea, perfect for those hot summer day!”

    Summer is quickly coming to an end (yeaaaaah!!! I’m a fall fanatic!) but I couldn’t let this season pass without making some good ol fresh, southern peach iced tea!

    What is it about making fresh fruit sweet teas that makes me feel all domestic and pioneerish? Like I’m living off the land or something. I know, far stretch. Fresh peach iced tea made with fresh peach syrup is a mini labor of love though compared to making plain sweet tea and it’s so worth!

    fresh peach iced tea

    Hey I’m a classic sweet tea girl through and through! I prefer not to have a lot of bells and whistles when it comes to my sweet tea. However during the summer I like to take advantage of summers bounty by incorporating fresh fruit, like raspberries or peaches!

    fresh peach sweet iced tea

    Fresh peach iced tea is my second favorite! It’s delicious and so refreshing, especially if you’re a peach lover like myself.

    I can sit out on the back porch with a good book, a gentle breeze and a glass of fresh peach iced tea and be just as happy as a lark. Only that never happens in real life around here. Not without the boys calling my name a million times. A girl can dream though.

    peach iced teaJust promise me that you will serve this super cold and let it sit for a few hours to really let those juicy peach flavors do their thing ok? Promise?

    Watch me make this Southern Fresh Peach Iced Tea from start to finish!

    5.0 from 2 reviews
    Southern Fresh Peach Iced Tea
     
    Author:
    Serves: 8-10
    Ingredients
    • 3 large fresh peaches, diced into small slices or cubes
    • 5 cups water, divided (you'll also need more water to fill the pitcher)
    • 2 cups granulated sugar + more if more sweetness is desired
    • zest of 1 lemon (optional)
    • 2-3 family-size tea bags (I normally use 3)
    Instructions
    1. In a large saucepan, add peaches, 2 cups water, 2 cups sugar and lemon zest if using.
    2. Bring to a light simmer and simmer covered until peaches are soft and the peach skins has lost it's dark peachy color, about 15-20 minutes.
    3. With a potato masher, mash the peaches to release more of the juice and continue simmering for about 10 more minutes.
    4. Strain the peach mixture through a mesh strainer and discard the solids. (You'll have about 3 to 3½ cups of peach syrup) Set aside.
    5. Boil 3 cups of water.
    6. Place tea bags in water and let them steep for about 10-15 minutes and then discard tea bags.
    7. Add tea to a large pitcher, stir in the peach syrup, gradually add in water a cup at a time. (Be sure to taste the mixture as you increase the water until you find your perfect sweetness preference.)
    8. If you find that your tea is not sweet enough add in ½ to ¾ cup of sugar. If it's too sweet increase the water(please note the sweetness will increase as it sits in the fridge)
    9. Refrigerate until cold.
    10. Stir before serving and pour over ice to serve.
    11. Garnish with mint and fresh peach slices if desired.

    2 Comments "

    Cinnamon Sugar French Toast Sticks

    August 18th, 2016
    “Cinnamon sugar french toast sticks! Crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. No syrup needed!” 

    I have been on a meal prepping frenzy around here! Ya see, I’m on this mission to simplify every aspect of my life that causes even an ounce of stress.

    So far it’s been going GREAT! This week I’ve been tackling the food portion of my stress list. To make my mornings and evenings run a bit smoother I’ve been using my Sunday evenings to prep dinner for the entire week.

    french toast sticks recipe

    Mainly just the meats since this is what I dread the most . Oh and chopping up all the side dishes.

    I can’t tell you what a joy it’s been knowing that a wholesome dinner is already planned out and partially prepped. One less thing to worry about. Dear God I hope I can stick with this because it’s amazing. Highly recommended!

    cinnamon french toast stick

    This week I decided to make and freeze these delicious cinnamon sugar french toast sticks for busy mornings! I made one batch thinking I would freeze them for a trial run and we ended up inhaling these things lol  They are so good and easy.

    french toast sticks

     

    Which was a good thing because I didn’t like the way they reheated with the cinnamon sugar coating. For freezing I think I’ll go back to my old french toast recipe that has the cinnamon and sugar mixed into the egg batter.

    Nonetheless, these were awesome though! Sooooo not a healthy breakfast but I had no complaints at all! I paired this breakfast with fresh strawberries, scrambled eggs and turkey sausage.

    cinnamon sugar french toast stick

    Forget about needing syrup! The cinnamon sugar coating is ALL you will need. Trust me!  These could totally be a dessert and perfect for a brunch.

    And I don’t care what anybody says, French toast sticks tastes way better than french toast. Sure they’re the same thing but somehow having it in finger-food form makes it amazeballs!

    Double or triple the recipe because you’re gonna wanna eat the first batch instantly.

    french toast sticks recipe

    How To Make The BEST French Toast Sticks:

    • Use thick, stale bread. Yep bread that’s a few days old and a bit dried out is PERFECT. Soft, fresh bread won’t cut it. At all. It will soak up too much of the egg mixture and will result in soggy french toast. My bread was 3 days old and then I left it out on the counter all morning and afternoon to dry it out even further. I prefer Texas Toast.
    • Cook them in butter. Yes, butter! Lots of hot, sizzling yummy butter. It will give the french toast sticks a golden, crisp, delicious exterior.
    • Make a sample first! It can take a bit of practice to know when you’ve dipped the bread long enough.  If you let the bread sit in the egg mixture too long it will be soggy or undone in the middle.  If you don’t dip long enough then the french toast will be like plain bread in the middle instead of that fluffy, slightly creamy inside texture that great french toast is suppose to have. A test sample is best if you’re just not sure.

    Watch me make these cinnamon sugar french toast sticks from start to finish!

    Cinnamon Sugar French Toast
     
    Author:
    Serves: 12 sticks
    Ingredients
    • 4 slices Texas toast (day old and/or stale)
    • 2 eggs
    • ¼ cup milk ( I use almond milk)
    • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ¼ cup granulated sugar
    • ½ -1 tablespoon cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    Instructions
    1. Cut each slice of texas toast into 3 equal sticks. Set aside.
    2. In a large bowl or container, whisk together the eggs, milk, heavy cream and vanilla until uniform in color. Set aside.
    3. In another large bowl or container, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
    4. Dip the slices of bread into the egg mixture (front and back) quickly, being sure to shake off the excess.
    5. Place them on a plate or baking sheet while you dip the rest.
    6. Heat butter in a large griddle over medium heat.
    7. When griddle is hot place the dipped slices of bread into the pan.
    8. Cook until both sides are golden brown (flipping once).
    9. Take french toast directy from the pan and place into the cinnamon sugar mixture.
    10. Toss to coat. (Work quickly so that each stick is hot going into the cinnamon sugar mixture)
    11. Plate and serve!

     

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