Stuffed Peppers

I'm sorry.  I apologize for this super-long hiatus in posting.  Life has been, shall we say, really effing crazy lately.  I've barely had time to piss, let alone cook, photograph, and blog about some amazing foods.  I feel bad about the time that has passed since our last encounter.  It's way too long in my book, really.  Oh, FKS blog, how I've missed you.


Hard Candy

I fondly remember my mom making lollipops in various flavors for us as kids. My favorite flavors were the cinnamon ones but I also loved the root beer flavor. I recently got into making hard candy, and the candies I made here are lemon flavor.  I haven't made a career out of making hard candy, and honestly never could, but it's an easy and fun way to make some yummy candies at home.


Strawberry Shortcake with Buttery Pound Cake

You know how every once in a while you have those amazing moments with your children that make all the bullshit worthwhile?  I had one of those a few weeks ago with my 8-year old daughter.  It's probably not what you think.  She did not form a charity for autism.  Nor did she save a baby from a burning building. However, what she did was remarkable all the same.


Corn Chowder

This summer my addiction to corn has reached new heights.  I've eaten so much corn this season I'm pretty sure I'm single-handedly supporting the local farmers.  I've had friends from the past and co-workers emailing me corn recipes (all of which look delicious).  The old lady who sells corn at the end of her farm's driveway has become my new best friend.


Cherry Tomato Salads ~ Caprese and Tuscan

I'm going to apologize now for yet another tomato recipe.  I have so many from the garden it seems it's all we eat anymore and I'm always looking for new ways to prepare and showcase them.  For some damn reason, I decided to plant 32 tomato plants, 16 of which are cherry tomato varieties.  I mean, really.  Who can eat that many cherry tomatoes?  It seems we can.  You know how babies who eat too much squash get orange skin?  I'm pretty sure we five will turn red any day now.


Cheese Crostini with Anchovy Herb Butter

Let it be known that I hate fish.  I despise the taste of fish, the look of fish with their beady eyes and hard mouths and scales and fins, the smell of fish which makes me gag, the fact that they swim and don't have arms and legs, the nasty water they live in, the tiny bones, and the open gaping mouths.  Don't get me wrong - I think some of them are beautiful and I always feel sorry for them when they have a big hook crammed in their bleeding mouths.


Tomato Pie

Last night, I met a fantastic group of women.  My friend A hosted a slumber party for 6 of her friends.  There were no kids and no men.  And lots of booze.  There was a massage therapist there to work out the kinks and a pool to laze by.  And piña coladas and martinis and margaritas.  Each of us contributed to the meal - a baked potato bar with homemade garden salsa and other fixin's, fresh salad with home-grown tomatoes and hot peppers, luscious desserts, and plenty of alcohol. Have I mentioned that already??


Fried Green Tomatoes with Chipotle Buttermilk Dip

As many of you know, I have a garden full of damn tomatoes.  Like totally full.  I planted 32 tomato plants and found many rogue ones sprouting up as well.  It's a jungle in there.  Since I got a late start planting, as many of us did due to heavy rains and cool weather, I didn't have any freshly ripened red tomatoes by mid-July as I normally do.  Seeing these huge tomato tentacles with a million unripe tomatoes on them, screaming na-na-na-na-boo-boo, pissed me off.  What did I do?  I fought back.


Tropical Oatmeal Brulee with Ginger-Orange Cream

I have been craving oatmeal lately and wanted a "summery" way to eat it.  I usually gorge on the good stuff during fall and winter so I thought making a tropical fruit oatmeal would make it seem more appropriate for the season.  Well, it is delicious but it's also heavy and rich. 


Pecorino Romano Caprese Pasta

Another of my addictions, in addition to corn, is cheese.  The stinkier, moldier, smellier, the better.  One of my favorites is Pecorino Romano.  When it's real - that is to say imported from Italy with the stamping on the rind to prove it - it's outrageously pungent and flavorful.  It smells a bit like a boy's locker room filled with sweaty feet.  Which means it's damn good.


Grilled Beef Kebabs

Last night we took the girls and a friend to dinner at a pub. This place is a total hole in the wall.  It's old and the furniture looks like it was purchased in 1968. There are neon beer signs everywhere, as well as shuffleboard games and pool tables. The clientele usually go there to drink but they really do have killer chicken tenders (brined, hand-battered and deep fried to order).


Huli Huli Chicken

I've never been to Hawaii.  So I'd never experienced the delicious Huli Huli Chicken of the tropical state.  Typically they roast the split chickens on huge rotisseries and are continuously turned over hot coals and smoking special Hawaiian wood called kiawe.   While on a recent family trip to Gatlinburg, my cousin Chad (who is fondly known as Choo Choo) made an easier version of Huli Huli Chicken for dinner one night.


Cornmeal Biscuits

I am under treatment for a self-diagnosed (have you heard about my ability to diagnose despite the fact that I do not have a degree??) addiction.  This little habit of mine involves eating pretty much anything made from corn.  It's really an obsession.  I love corn on the cob, frozen corn, corn chowder, caramel corn, canned corn, cream corn, corn with bacon, corn fritters, pop corn, hush puppies, cornbread (both northern and southern), polenta, Johnny Cakes, fried corn, corny jokes, Mexican grilled corn, corn casserole, spicy corn, corn in salads, cornbread crumbled into milk, corn dogs, corn muffins, and hominy.


Garden ~ What's growing now

Petunia Easy Wave Red

For those of you who have followed my successes and failures this season in the garden, you'll be happy to hear (or perhaps not - it depends on how you feel about me) that the garden is a raging success as of now.


Greek Salad

The other day I ran into a gas station to purchase a drink.  First I peed, where I saw an employee who had to be at least 87 years old, scrubbing the toilets.  I hate to see the elderly working their asses off when in all reality, they've earned the right to do a whole lotta nothing during their senior years.


Cheesy Corn Casserole

So this Cheesy Corn Casserole looks like slop.  So what?  It's amazingly delicious. As some of you may know, I do happen to have a healthy (naturally...) obsession with corn in all forms.  In fact, I've never met a corn I didn't like.  When I saw this recipe, I had to try it.  Plus, it has bacon in it.  I think corn and bacon have this secret love affair going.  The lights dim, Marvin Gaye pipes through the speakers, Mrs. Corn peels back her husks...  Sorry, that got a little creepy.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Garlicky Potato Salad

I have been struggling lately.  Not with lifting some heavy object or being forced to speak in public (which I did at our HOA meeting in March about just about blew chunks from nerves).  You see, I've gone back to work and I am struggling to find that balance among kids, husband, house, errands, work, and my favorite thing ever: cooking, gardening, and blogging.


Spicy Grilled Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

As you may know, I don't eat a lot of meat.  I'm usually not a fan of eating anything with a face.  However there are a few exceptions to my disgust at eating animal flesh.  Bacon, for one.  I mean, bacon  isn't really considered meat anyway, right?  Another of my carnivorous weaknesses is hot dogs.  And aren't they kind of the worst animal bi-product one could ever eat?  Hooves and snouts ground up and piped into a casing?  Nasty!  But a dog grilled until charred nestled in a steamed bun is fabulous.  And let's not forget chicken wings.  Crispy, saucy deep-fried wings are amazing.  But heating 87 gallons of hot oil sucks ass.


Hawaiian Pasta Salad

I am very picky about my pasta salad.  And my cole slaw, now that I'm thinking about it.  I don't like the typical from-a-box pasta salad that rears it's ugly head at many a summer cook-out.  It's not enough to boil some pasta to death, throw in some chopped peppers and olives, and drench it in bottled Italian dressing.  I prefer a macaroni salad that is flavorful and creamy with some thought put into it.  I realize I'm a pasta salad snob.

I'm kind of a food snob in general, I suppose.  And a grammar snob.  (So if you ever see any grammatical errors in these posts, please let me know.  I want my grammar to be bad-ass.)


Baja Burgers


There's this dude named Noah that I've secretly fallen in love with.  He's one of those bad-boy hot guys that have a rough exterior but a teddy bear heart.  My husband has no idea that I have been dreaming of Noah but I don't think he'll mind.  See, Noah isn't real.  No, I'm not schizophrenic.  He's a character in Katie McGarry's soon-to-be-published book Pushing the Limits.



Each year, the men in my family all get together and go on a vacation together, called the Mancation.  I'm not sure exactly what they do, and I'm not sure I want to.  I imagine there's a lot of cigar-smoking, beer drinking, and chest-thumping peppered with bathroom humor and colorful language.  My husband loves these annual trips because it's like a big frat party with the coolest men on the planet.


Honey Ice Cream

My husband has apiphobia.  Well, he's not exactly been diagnosed, but since I did take 3 years of psych classes in college, I'm obviously qualified.  Apiphobia is the fear of bees.  It's actually quite humorous to watch, and even after all these years together, I never tire of his amusing reaction to a little black and yellow buzzing insect.  


Grilled Pizza - Margherita Style

Summer is here in full force.  I don't know about you but it's roasty-toasty where I live.  And we all know what happens in summer - we start grilling.  However, I get tired of the hunk-o-meat thrown on the grill.  Don't get me wrong - I'm the first in line for some barbequed ribs or chicken.  But sometimes I want something non-meaty but still on the grill.  We grill pizza quite frequently in my household, especially in the summer.  The glorious thing about it is you can alter the toppings any way you like.  For the cavemen, load that pie up with bacon, prosciutto, pepperoni, sausage, or ground beef.  For me, my favorite is Grilled Pizza - Margherita Style. 


Garden - Worm Castings

This photo is not of soil or compost.  What you're looking at is worm poop.  Yes, people actually make a living harvesting and selling worm crap.  I've never used it before but I was so curious I just had to try it out.  I bought a bag from my local organic supply center.  I paid around $13 for my sack of crap.


Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini

I'm going to start by saying how much I love our neighbors.  Somehow we built a house on a cul-de-sac surrounded by the most amazing people.  We absolutely love to get together to eat and drink and be merry.  There are a few honorary members of our "frat", whom are included in get-togethers.  We have been known to get rowdy from time to time and one of our favorite things is to ask moral and ethical questions and get into friendly debates on a subject. 


Garden Update - Something is eating my plants!


I am leading this post with a photo of my petunias because it is the least disturbing picture of those I'm including.  They love the heat and sunshine and are really taking off.  Now onto the garden where destruction has begun.  As if my seedling problems weren't enough to ruin my gardening skills ego, within a week of planting them outside in the garden, some critter(s) decided that my babies I'd worked so hard to cultivate would make a good lunch.


Caramel Corn Ice Pops

Recently I was at a store, which shall go unnamed, browsing through the plants.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something drop from the greenhouse roof and heard it go SPLAT.  I thought to myself, "That was one big bird crap."  I totally ignored the pterodactyl turd and continued on my merry way.  I rounded the corner and my very thin-soled shoe grazed-slash-smeared something soft on the ground.  I looked down to see a baby bird, which had apparently fallen from a nest only moments before. 


Parmesan Crusted Potatoes and Zucchini

Sadly, I put my French teenage visitor Justine on the plane back to Paris a few weeks ago.  She and I had a wonderful time talking, shopping, and cooking while she was here.  I was so unhappy to say goodbye to my partner in crime. However we made some great memories (and food! - like this French Onion Soup) that we will always remember.  And we will get to see her again next year!


Garden & Seedlings - Update


It's been pretty much forever since I've posted about my garden and seedlings. Truthfully, it's because I'm embarrassed.  I've had success growing from seed every single year since I first started a million years ago.  Yet this year, the year I start a food and gardening  blog, I suck.


Salted Nut Bars

Craving something sweet and salty?  How about sweet, salty, creamy, gooey, and peanut buttery?  Salted Nut Bars are super easy to make and taste a bit like a Pay Day candy bar.  Or perhaps a Fluffer Nutter.  Either way, it's delicious.


Mint Julep

They say the Kentucky Derby is the "most exciting 2 minutes in sports."  I've news for you, friends.  The Mint Julep is the most exciting reward for 2 minutes worth of work.

I had my first Mint Julep 6 years ago at Churchill Downs.  The cool, refreshing drink had instantly become my new favorite adult beverage.  The smokey, vanilla, oak-y flavor of the bourbon mixed with the fresh, crisp mint was mind-blowing.  And you don't have to like bourbon to enjoy this drink.  There are several methods for mixing this cocktail out there, some of which are good, some of which are garbage.  I have been making Mint Juleps for years now and this is the most authentic and delicious I have come up with.


Country Pumpkin Bread

I know it's not autumn, although Mother Nature has us fooled here in the upper south.  It's chilly and raining (per usual it seems).  I've got a fire roaring in the fireplace and three loaves of Country Pumpkin Bread filling my kitchen with warm scents.  It feels like fall today, but you certainly don't need a cold, wet day to justify making this delicious quick bread.


Gorditas de Heuvos - Masa Cakes With Eggs

In honor of Cinco de Mayo this week, I decided to make something very Mexican.  I don't know about you, but I get so sick of the Tex-Mex stuff people try to pass off as Mexican food.  Gorditas de Huevos is a delicious way to celebrate the 5th of May.


Beef Jerky - Three-Way(s)

Teriyaki Beef Jerky

I must admit, I do not like beef jerky.  It's too....well....beefy.  I'm not a big meat-eater anyway but to eat something that is pure 100% meat turns me off.  However, my husband and son absolutely love beef jerky.  Not to mention their friends, our neighbors, our family...

I decided to learn how to make the men in my life their special (gag) treat.  And I must admit, it was the most tolerable beef jerky I'd ever had.  I realize this isn't a very good way to promote my recipes for Beef Jerky, but I need to be honest about my own tastes.

These three recipes are for spicy, teriyaki, and peppered beef jerky.  If you make lovey-dovey eyes at your butcher, s/he might just slice the beef for you so you don't have to bother.


Banana Bread

What to do with all those brown-speckled bananas sitting on the counter top?  Why, make Banana Bread of course.  Now, before you start groaning, hear me out.  How many of us have made banana bread that comes out heavy, dense, with very little banana flavor?  I know I'm guilty of it.  I usually slather the dry bread with butter to mask the blandness of it.


Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

It should be easy to successfully hard cook eggs, but so many of us find it difficult. Sometimes the yolks are overcooked and chalky, noted by the sulfurous green tinge on the outside.  Other times the yolk is undercooked and oozes.  On a good day, we can peel the shell without gouging and maiming the cooked white.  Here is a fail-safe method to perfect hard boiled eggs, just in time for Easter.


Soupe à l'Oignon - French Onion Soup

We have a teenager from Paris visiting us for twelve days.  We met their family many years ago and have remained friends since.  Their daughter, Justine, is 13-years old and amazingly beautiful and intelligent.  She and our son, who is also 13, get along famously.


Shredded Slow-Cooked Pork Tacos

So you've made Puerco Pibil and have lots of leftover shredded pork goodness. What to do with all that meat?  I make tacos and they're damn good, if I do say so. They're so good, in fact, that I can't decide if I prefer the traditional way of eating it with white rice, diced tomatoes, and fresh cilantro or piled in toasted corn tortillas topped with other bold flavors.  I've got an idea!  Why don't you, friends, try both methods of consumption and let me know which you prefer?


Seedlings - Lights, Camera, Problem!

I inherited a light fixture for my seedlings and I am thrilled about it.  My husband is equally thrilled because we now have our dining room table back.  However, my seedlings were not so thrilled about their new environment.


Puerco Pibil - Johnny Depp Killed For This!

Puerco Pibil, also known as Cochinita Pibil, is a slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatan Peninsula.  Typically the marinade is heavy on acid, flavored with achiote (ground annatto seeds), and the pork is slow-roasted in banana leaves.  The Hubs and I have been making this for years, ever since we saw Once Upon a Time in Mexico.  In the movie, Johnny Depp's character orders Puerco Pibil everywhere he goes and murders any cook who makes it too well "in order to maintain balance." The movie's director, Robert Rodriguez, gives a little how-to as a bonus feature.


Seedlings - Update and Supplement

I realize it's been a while since I've posted about gardening.  Honestly, there's not been much gardening going on lately, thanks to my good friend Mother Nature.  I have also acquired a set of lights on loan for my babies (thank you kindly, C.!!).  My darling husband doesn't know this yet, but he will be helping me assemble a device to hang said lights over the trays of seedlings.  I will post photos of new lights and hanger once established.

Seeds sown 2.13.11
Photo taken 3.30.11

These are slow-growing little buggers, but man-oh-man do they look gorgeous once out in the hot sunshine and allowed to grow to their full potential.


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I suppose I really am on a childhood favorites kick.  My grandma used to bake me a carrot cake whenever I asked.  I was not into the typical yellow sheet cake with chemical frosting for my birthday, either.  I wanted carrot cake.  I found my grandmother's recipe and it is actually quite similar to this recipe for Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.  However, I wanted something a bit more simple and easy so this recipe is it.


Smoky Macaroni & Cheese

I must be on a comfort food kick.  I'm craving my childhood favorites, it seems (see post on Snickerdoodles).  It must be said that most Americans, and many others, absolutely love macaroni and cheese.  I mean, what's not to love?  It's cheesy and warm and we grew up eating it.  Smoky Macaroni & Cheese is a far cry from that powdered boxed nonsense.  This is a grown-up version of the pasta and cheese we adore.



Let's be honest - we all love the classic kid-favorite cookie known as the Snickerdoodle.  And we've all had crummy ones (crunchy, flat, cloyingly sweet) and we've had good ones.  This classic sweet treat, a butter cookie with a distinctive crackled cinnamon-sugar top, shouldn't be difficult to get right.  Well, friends, it isn't.  The most difficult part will be not eating all the Snickerdoodle dough before baking the cookies.


Irish Soda Bread

Despite the fact that my name is Shannon Marie, I am not Irish.  At least, my family has not originated in Ireland for hundreds of years.  {Update:  New family geneology has shown that we are in fact Irish, from the mid-1800's.  Not that anyone but we give a shit.}Yet, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I am inclined to make Irish Soda Bread.  

Spotted Dick

Spotted Dick.  Spotted Dog.  Railway Cake.  Spotted Richard.  This unusual bread is known by several different names, yet eats the same.  I did a bit of research while coming up with this recipe and found a million variations.  I also realize the recipe published here is not traditional (impostor!) and the purists just might faint at my use of dates and lack of suet.  Whatever you chose to call it, this sweet loaf will make an afternoon snack you'll love.


Candied Bacon

I adore bacon. The scent of bacon popping in a skillet takes me back to being a wee one in the kitchen with my mom, stirring pancake batter for Sunday morning breakfast. All of a sudden I am back at my grandparent's home, watching my grandpa slicing potatoes for his famous fried potatoes (recipe to come!) and flipping bacon in his cast iron skillet. What do you think of when you dream of bacon? Salty, crispy, chewy, smoky? How about sweet and sticky? Candied Bacon is a twist on an old favorite.


Marinated Goat Cheese

My mom and my paternal grandfather were two of the most influential people in my life. They both passed away fairly recently and I miss them both so much it hurts. This recipe involves Mom and Paw-paw, directly and indirectly.


Growing From Seed, Step-by-Step

Growing from seeds can be intimidating.  I too was overwhelmed by the thought of expensive equipment and the fancy fifty-dollar words these professional gardeners threw around.  But after spending way too much money in garden centers on plants, I took a leap of faith and decided to try to grow my own.  I figured I would start my seeds in late winter, and if by planting time they were unhealthy or dead, I'd head to the garden center to buy ready-made plants.  But lo and behold!  They were a success!  Furthermore, I am able to pick and choose what varieties I want in my garden.  Tomatoes alone have hundreds of kinds available.  You can have every color under the sun - red, yellow, orange, green, purple, brown, pink, striped, and multi.  There are grape, cherry, roma, slicing, paste, and burgers.  And let's not forget about the heirlooms with creative names such as Mortgage Lifter, Mr. Stripey, Cherokee Purple, and Grandfather Ashlock.  I want to show how easy and inexpensive it can be to fill your garden with amazing and unusual fruits and veggies.


Chocolate Coffee Truffle Cake with Chocolate Ganache

My husband and I don't go out for Valentine's Day.  We don't exchange ooey-gooey cards, either.  I hate crowds and lines and overpriced grub.  Our tradition is to stay at home, put the kids to bed early, light some candles, and create a restaurant-worthy meal for cheap.  The Hubs is not a big fan of desserts (unlike me) so I made something I wanted.