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.