Archive for the ‘guilty pleasure’ Category

mac + cheese heaven


posted by on guilty pleasure, Oakland

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You hear the word homeroom and immediately think of school but visit this local joint in Oakland and that will forever leave your mind (minus the brown bag and chalk + board vibe).

I’ve been reading reviews about Homeroom since I found the place on Foursquare (two days ago, mind you!). I didn’t have to dig too deep to know this was my next stop. Just down the street off of 40th at Shafter Avenue it was an easy hit after work today.
homeroom on FoursquareI may be a mac + cheese freak but ya’ll know by now what my first decision was, right? Beer! I went straight for Oakland Brewing Company‘s IPA. Their website may not be anything to look at right now, but their IPA? I’m a huge fan!

Oakland Brewing Company IPA served in a Mason Jar of course!

the mason jar made this cold + tasty local IPA even better

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A better BLT


posted by on guilty pleasure, Nebraska, quick


BLT ingredients

Summers in Nebraska meant visiting Grandma Herbert on the farm. It also meant fresh tomatoes and the best tasting BLT you’ll ever have. Times change, but luckily Grandma lives close to me here in Arizona and every time I make a BLT I think of her. She always made the best (so does my pop!) and I guarantee it had something to do with her tomatoes.

Now, I try and think of ways to not totally ruin a good, basic BLT but I am always curious to see how I can enhance the flavors of what a BLT is all about. Here’s my version! P.S. do not skimp on the bacon, don’t even bother with turkey bacon and buy really excellent (organic or homegrown if you can!) tomatoes. Heirloom are the best!

What you’ll need:

  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • 1 package of bacon (get all natural and center cut if you can – I love Applegate’s)
  • Mayo & mix-ins like cayenne, basil, cumin – whatever you like
  • 1 tomato
  • Bread of your choosing (grandma of course used good ol’ white bread – I use whole wheat now)
  1. Cook your bacon – I’m not giving you instructions on this. You may like it burnt, or undercooked, done in the microwave, oven or grill. I don’t care – just cook it.
  2. Clean up your greens (please use both, the arugula gives it an extra kick that’s fantastic – you could also add in spinach if you prefer)
  3. Slice up the tomato (thinly for easy stacking)
  4. Toast up your bread
  5. Assemble your sandwiches (duh).

My order usually looks something like this:
bread, mayo, bacon, tomato, lettuce, arugula, tomato, bacon, bread

Get creative with that mayo too! The mix-ins make a huge difference and enhance the taste. I also sprinkle my tomato with fresh ground black pepper!

posted by on baking, guilty pleasure

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Giant, chewy chocolate chip cookies with a slight crunch on the outer edges. I’m all about put together now, bake later. Scoop out the dough into ¼ cup portions, freeze and package in a freezer baggie so you can bake a cookie whenever you’re craving one!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2¼ cups flour (minus a few tablespoons)
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 12 tbsp. butter, softened (or 1.5 sticks)
  • ½ cup + 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup + 1/8 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ package of dark chocolate chips
  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a bowl and set to the side.
  2. Mix together the butter, sugar, brown sugar in a bowl until it’s creamy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla (maybe a tsp. extra) and keep mixing until it’s well blended.
  4. With a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture a little bit at a time until well combined.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. In ¼ cup measurements, slightly flatten the dough out to form a flat circular shape.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes. You only want the edges to be golden brown and then let them finish by leaving them on the baking sheet to cool.
  8. I usually bake 6 at a time to give them room to spread a bit and then freeze the remainder of the balls for baking later.


posted by on Grilling, guilty pleasure, Hors d'oeuvre, Kansas

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A few years ago in Kansas, my good friends Tim & Tyra taught me how to make these little gems! My tastebuds at the time were unsure if I’d like the jalapeño and the combination of ingredients seemed weird to me but, luckily, they proved me wrong!

The boyfriend and I grilled out with our friends last night and I decided I’d whip these up. Not really sure there’s ever been a name for them, but the boyfriend’s seems to do just fine. photography by Brandon Quester

What you’ll need:

  • 12 jalapeños, sliced in half, seeded, and rinsed
  • 1 block of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (approx.) apricot (jam, jelly, preserves… whatever you like)
  • 1 package bacon (I use the center cut)
  • toothpicks
  1. Clean and prep the jalapeños. Rinse well and set aside. (plastic gloves are handy with this, especially if you plan on doing more than a dozen)
  2. Mix together the cream cheese and apricot jelly (I used to heaping spoonfuls).
  3. Fill one half of a jalapeño with the cream cheese mix and put the other half on top.
  4. Wrap one slice of bacon all the way around.
  5. Poke a toothpick to hold it all together.
  6. Place on a cookie sheet and do the remainder of the jalapeños.
  7. Grill on the top rack over medium heat until the bacon is cooked to a crisp and the cheese mix has set up!

These go quick but a dozen seemed to be the right amount for the four of us.

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