Homemade Artisan Bread

I know this may seem silly, but I have always wanted to take a cooking class.
Yes, I read a lot of cookbooks.  And yes, I watch A LOT of Food Network.  But there is a certain energy that comes from a group of people, cooking together in a kitchen, that you just can't get any place else.  So when I saw that my local kitchen store, The Cook's Shop , was having an Artisan Bread making class I immediately signed up.

I LOVE bread.  I have been known to travel 2 hours to stock up at the most amazing bakery called Omega Artisan Baking located at North Market in Columbus, Ohio.  I love the crusty outside and light airy inside.  *sigh*  Shall we just have a moment for bread?  Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the class and I learned a lot of old world techniques.  Something else I learned, Artisan Bread takes a LONG TIME.  In a best case scenario 24 hours.  And in the words of this housewife "Ain't nobody got time for that!" So I set out to make beautiful, artisan bread in the same amount of time it would take to make a basic white loaf.  It took me a couple goes, but I am pleased to say that I got it and I am going to share it with you!

Let's get started!


Pizza Calzones

Pizza Calzone on a cutting board

I love cooking.  You all know that.  But let's be honest.  I don't always WANT to cook.  However, here it is, the end of the month, the week before the big Thanksgiving meal.  I do not have the extra cash to be eating out, so I have to make something.  I am tired of stir-fry.  I am tired of heavy meats.  I.am.just.tired.  So what do you do?  How about some simple calzones?

In the same way that stir-fry is a great mid-week go-to, calzones are so easy and versatile that you can use just about anything you have on hand.  For today's recipe I am going to keep it simple.  A basic Pizza Calzone, but you can put ANYTHING you like in yours.

Let's get started...


Tomie's Bacon Cheddar Ranch Crockpot Chicken

Y'all know I love a good family recipe.
Things that get passed down are great.  In fact, I have many family heirlooms in my kitchen, but things can get broken or lost.  A recipe lives on throughout generations.

Today's family recipe is really special to me because it comes from my little sister, Tomie. (Yes, her name is REALLY Tomie.)

Tomie is not only a FANTASTIC mamma to two of my adorable nephews, but she is one of the most beautiful, talented, & free-spirited people that I know!  She is the first to celebrate with you, laugh with you, cry with you.  She is truly one of my best friends and I love her so much.

Recently I was able to go and spend a weekend with her and her family in Ohio and she shared with me one of her favorite go-to recipes.  I will admit I was a little skeptical at first, but MAN-O-MAN am I glad I tried it.  Not only is it super flavorful, but it is so easy that I am not even sure it qualifies as cooking!  *lol*

It is so very special to me and I can't wait to share it with you!
Let's Get Started...


Chicken Parmesan Easy Recipe

 We've not had the massive amounts of snow that many of you are enduring, but we re finally starting to get our fair share.  I will confess that I don't really mind it though.  Why you ask?  Because this is the season where I get to indulge in some of those heavier, heartier meals.  You know the ones.  Pure comfort food.  And for me, it doesn't get any more comforting that a good Chicken Parmesan.

The finished Chicken Parmesan with the title at the  bottom.

It's saucy, and crunchy.  Cheesy and tender.  Mmmm....It's truly divine and not nearly as difficult to make as you may think.  In fact, I dare say you can even whip this up on a week night.  I know you are going to love it, so let's get started!


Edameme Stir-Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

I have posted a few stir-fry recipes on here, I know. But the thing is, whether you need a quick and easy weeknight meal or you're just trying to clean out the fridge, stir-fry is a fantastic go-to.  Last week I was CRAVING Thai something fierce.  We don't really have any Thai places around here so if you are craving it, you better be willing to go for a little drive or make it yourself.  So, I decided to rummage through my fridge to see what I could come up with.  I found carrots, red bell peppers, mushrooms, edameme, ladies and gents we have a stir-fry!  The star of this dish...The Spicy Peanut Sauce!  It is out of this world and I KNOW you are going to love it!

Let's Get Started!


A Thanksgiving Menu

I know that Thanksgiving can be one of the most stressful meals of the year to prepare. So for the last couple of weeks I have been sharing the recipes and step-by-step instructions to my family's yearly menu.  I hope you have enjoyed reading the stories, hearing about my family, and most importantly, I hope you now feel like you can do this!  

To make it easy for you, I thought I would take a moment and put all of my Thanksgiving go-to's in one place.  

How to Perfectly Roast a Whole Turkey

The finished perfectly roasted turkey with the title at the bottom of the image.

Here we are, the final installment of my Thanksgiving 101 Series, I hope this has helped you come up with a game plan for your big day and ultimately relieve you of a little stress!  YOU'VE GOT THIS!!!  There is only one final piece left in our holiday dinner puzzle, the piece de resistance,THE TURKEY!

This may very well be the most intimidating item on your menu.  Why?  Because we have all see that moment in Christmas Vacation where Clark brings the picturesque bird to the table, cuts into it, and POOF! the thing is so dry it practically evaporates right there on the table.  Or what about that time you went to Aunt (you fill in the blank)'s house and the skin on the turkey was yellow and rubbery. Oh, and the worst, when the skin is totally burnt to a crisp only discover that the meat inside is still raw.

Yes, good ol' Tom has been kicking butt and taking names for a while.  Maybe you have even made it on this list a time or two, but not this year!  No, this is the year you show Tom the Turkey who's boss.  This is the year you place the show-stopper on the table and wow your guests.  Yes, this is the year you make the PERFECT Butter and Herb Roasted Turkey!  Just follow these simple instructions and your bird is going to come out flawless.

Let's Get Started!


Homemade Dinner Rolls

*For your convenience this post contains affiliate links.*

Fresh Bread.

I could stop right there and not have to say another word.  I mean, who doesn't like fresh bread?  A better question would be what holiday meal would be complete without a piping hot, Homemade Dinner Roll? Not any of mine, I'll tell you that much.  This dinner roll recipe has been in my family as long as I can remember.  It is my Grandma Racer's and they are delicious.  The thing I remember most about these during the holidays is that my grandma could fit so many of these yummy morsels into a baking pan, but they were still so fluffy.

The finished dinner rolls in a cast iron skillet with the title.

The best part about these Homemade Dinner Rolls is that not only are they probably the BEST dinner rolls you will ever eat, they are effortless to make. I know these are going to become a staple on your table so let's get started!


Made From Scratch Pumpkin Pie

What would Thanksgiving Dinner be without a pumpkin pie?  I, for one, don't even want to think about it.  When it comes to pumpkin pie you have everything from canned pie mix to 100% pumpkin puree to choose from.  But, since this is one of the most special dinners of the year, why not get crazy and try making one from the actual pumpkin!

I know what you are thinking "WHAT!?!  Do you KNOW everything I have to do?!?"  Yes, I do know, but perhaps you break it up like my family does, and everyone brings their own dish.  If the pie is your job why not WOW everyone with this AMAZING recipe because I promise you...You CAN taste the difference!

It's super simple so let's get started...


Homemade Pie Crust

One of the reasons I love cooking so much is that it knows no sense of space or time.  When you are missing someone that is no longer with you, you can simply go into your kitchen, pull out a few ingredients, and they are there. Pies are one such recipe for me.  

This is my Grandma Margaret.

 This picture is from the late 80's, early 90's, but when I think of her, this is who I see.  She was that grandmother that had special drawers full of wonderful costume jewelry and every once in a while, if I was good, she would let me play with it.  She also had THE BEST closet.  It was full of old evening gowns and clutch purses.  I remember on a few occasions she would let me play dress-up with them.  It was then I discovered that each and every purse held a single dime.  I asked her about it once and she told me that her mother, my Great-Grandmother Violet, told her to always keep a dime in your purse in case you get stranded and need to call a cab.  I never told anyone, but for the longest time after that I kept a dime on my person, not realizing that a phone call would cost me a quarter.  It is all of these little memories that filled the weekends and summers of my childhood, but the place I remember her being the most was in the kitchen.  I can see it perfectly in my mind right now.  She is standing at the sink, looking out over the farm from her window.

Just as my Grandma Racer was known for her noodles, my Grandma Margaret was known for her cakes, hot dog sauce (it's a West Virginia thing), and her pies.  She made WONDERFUL pies.  And while my crust recipe is slightly different from hers, any time I make it, I think of her and instantly she is right there, in my kitchen, with me.

I can't wait to share my recipe with you.


Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing

Thanksgiving has many controversial issues surrounding it.  From the accuracy of historical events to what was actually served on the first Thanksgiving table.  However, the most controversial issue to ever become intertwined with this culinary holiday is the Great "Dressing vs. Stuffing" Debate!  In my house, my family always referred to it as stuffing so that is what I call it.  I will be honest with y'all.  If I want stuffing on a weeknight I am probably going to grab my favorite "red box" go-to, but for a special occasion such as Thanksgiving it doesn't get any better than homemade and you will not believe how easy it is.

Let's Get started!


How to Make Easy Deviled Eggs

Inevitably someone in my family is early getting to my parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner, and of course we all come hungry.  To help keep us "heathens" at bay my mom always has a few things for us to munch on while we wait for them to finish up.  There are the usual meats and cheeses, veggies and dips, but everyone's favorite appetizer are the Deviled Eggs.

The finished deviled eggs on a plate with the title in the bottom right hand corner.

My mom can hardly make enough  They are so yummy and very simple to make!  I know you are going to love them.

Let's get started!


Country-Style Green Beans Recipe

Green beans are my FAVORITE vegetable!  I love them in a multitude of ways, but my favorite is the Country-Style Green Beans or "cooked to death with bacon" way!

A bowl of the finished Country Style Green Beans.

At Thanksgiving you can never make enough of these for my family. I know what you are thinking "Why in the world would I cook these, from scratch, for hours , when I could make them in a couple minutes from a can?"  Well, once you try these I think the question will be "Why Wouldn't You?"  The best part about this dish, you can make it on the stove-top OR in the slow-cooker, and BOTH ways can be done ahead of time.  Perfect for keeping your Thanksgiving prep as simple as possible. I can't wait to show you so let's get started!


Fruit Pizza

It's day two of my Thanksgiving 101 series (I haven't settled on a name yet.  I'm hoping that will just organically happen soon lol.) and today we are talking dessert!  There is one thing that you can bank on at any large family dinner, LOTS of desserts.  My family is no different.  While we have all the traditional sweet treats that the holiday lends itself to, the one dessert that has been at EVERY family function since I was a child is my mom's (Teese) Fruit Pizza.  Let me just say that before anyone has had seconds, before any pies have been cut and served, shoot, sometimes even before the big meal itself, this confectioner's delight is in SOMEONE's belly (usually my brother's)  It is AMAZING and I am so excited to share it with you!  Oh, and I almost forgot.  This too can be made in advance. ;)

Let's Get Started!

Baked Three Cheese and Macaroni


It is the most anticipated/dreaded meal of the year.  We get so stressed out over what to make and how to prepare it that The Food Network actually has an entire month dedicated to it. But, let's face it, all of this anxiety is totally warranted.  IT'S A BIG DEAL!  This year, however, things are going to be different.  I am going to take the next couple of weeks and share with you my family's traditional Thanksgiving menu, with all of the step-by-step pictures you love, that will ENSURE you have nothing but success at this year's family feast!  

Let's get started with my Baked Three Cheese and Macaroni! It's a REAL crowd pleaser and I KNOW you are going to love it.  The best part, it can be made ahead of time and baked off on the big day!

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