Thursday, July 9, 2020

Ice Cream Pizza

This is a sponsored post by Hudsonville, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

For me, summer is synonymous with family time. I have sweet memories of vacations to Michigan, long bike rides around Mackinac Island, and cooling off with a scoop of ice cream from Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor.

Sadie's serves Hudsonville Ice Cream, which is a family-owned business that operates out of Michigan. They have more than 50 flavors, and I love sampling the wide variety. Plus, it's always very rich and creamy.

As I was thinking of cool treats to make this summer, I knew I wanted to incorporate Hudsonville Ice Cream, and I thought it would be fun to create an ice cream pizza that actually looks like a pizza.

I found Hudsonville Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream at Meijer, and I knew the tangy ice cream with tart strawberry swirls would complement a brown sugar cookie crust perfectly.

When I was ready to make my ice cream pizza, the first thing I did was move the ice cream carton from the freezer to the refrigerator. You want the ice cream to soften in the refrigerator for about 30 to 60 minutes before using it.

Then I prepared the cookie dough and pressed it into my favorite deep dish pizza pan. Forewarning: the pan I use is 14 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches deep, so it makes a very large ice cream pizza. If you prefer, you can use a regular pizza pan instead or make a "personal pan pizza" using a cake pan. You'll probably have leftover dough, but you can just freeze it to use on another occasion.

Once I baked the cookie crust and let it cool, the ice cream was soft enough to spread on top. I used the entire 48-ounce carton, but you may use less if your cookie crust is smaller. Then I stuck the ice cream pizza in the freezer while I prepared a strawberry topping.

I love how the strawberry topping on top of the ice cream looks like pizza sauce. To play up the pizza theme even more, I used a box grater on a bar of white chocolate, and the end result really looked like parmesan cheese. I recommend grating the white chocolate while the strawberry topping is cooling because you need to sprinkle it on top right after you spread on the topping.

Now for the final touch—pepperoni! Of course, I didn't use actual pepperoni; I used red candy melts!

You can use this same ice cream pizza recipe with any cookie and ice cream flavor combination. For example, it might be fun to try this with a brownie crust and Hudsonville's Traverse City Cherry Fudge ice cream or Hudsonville's Creamery Blend Vanilla ice cream. Or try it with a peanut butter cookie crust and Hudsonville's Bananas Foster ice cream!

I think one of the best parts about this dessert is it's meant to be shared with others, so no matter what your summer plans entail, you'll surely create sweet moments and memories serving up slices of ice cream pizza.

Use this Scoop Locator tool to find which Hudsonville flavors are available at your local grocery stores, and click here for the Sweetest Summer Ever coupon to get a discount on any flavor.

Ice Cream Pizza
Pizza toppings
For the brown sugar cookie crust
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the strawberry topping
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
For the brown sugar cookie crust
  1. Remove ice cream from freezer and place in refrigerator between 30 to 60 minutes before cookie crust will be done
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray pizza pan with nonstick spray
  3. In large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy
  4. Mix in eggs and vanilla extract
  5. In separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt
  6. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture until just combined
  7. Press dough into prepared deep dish pizza pan and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  9. Spread ice cream in even layer on top of cookie crust and place in freezer
For the strawberry topping
  1. Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat 
  2. Bring mixture to a simmer and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Mash the strawberries as you stir
  3. Remove it from heat and allow it to cool
  4. While it's cooling, grate the white chocolate using a fine box grater so it resembles parmesan cheese
  5. Remove the ice cream pizza from the freezer and spread the strawberry topping on the ice cream
  6. Immediately sprinkle the white chocolate on top and place the red candy melts on the pizza so it resembles pepperoni
  7. Cover and store in freezer until you're ready to serve it

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Buffalo cauliflower salad

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

The creation of this buffalo cauliflower salad was by accident, but it is certainly a delicious accident.

I’ve been trying to follow a low(er) carb diet for the most part. As a result, I eat a LOT of cauliflower, and I’m always trying to come up with new ways to use it.

I love baking with cauliflower because of its versatility. It pretty much takes on whatever flavor you give it. If it can be transformed into breadsticks or pizza, then it can become anything!

Recently, while I was trying to create a salad that incorporated cauliflower, I ended up creating a side dish best described as potato salad. But buffalo flavored. And cauliflower instead of potatoes.

The cream cheese / sour cream combination makes it creamy, but the sauce isn’t overwhelming, so it becomes too much like a dip.

The bacon is definitely not necessary, but after I made this for the first time, I thought, “You know what would be good in this—bacon!” So I added bacon to it, and as you can imagine, it was THAT much better.

Anyway, I wanted to share this recipe with you all as we approach the holiday weekend because I think it would make a great dish to prepare for your family cookout.

Buffalo cauliflower salad

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce, divided into two 1/4 cups
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Challenge cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine cauliflower florets, 1/4 cup buffalo sauce, and olive oil in bowl and mix until cauliflower is coated
  3. Spread cauliflower in single layer on baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes
  4. In large bowl, mix together cream cheese, 1/4 cup buffalo sauce, sour cream, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper
  5. Add cauliflower to bowl and mix until cauliflower is coated in sauce
  6. Add bacon, blue cheese, green onions, and parsley, and stir until just combined

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Puff pastry and lox

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I love eating bagels and lox for breakfast on special occasions, and recently on a trip to Trader Joe's, I noticed they had Everything But the Bagel Seasoned Smoked Salmon. The product was practically shouting at me to use it for a bagels and lox brunch.

Sometimes I think bagels are too heavy, and they overpower the thinly sliced salmon and light, whipped cream cheese. As I thought about it, I realized serving it on puff pastry would be a good solution.

Before baking the puff pastry, I brushed egg wash on top, poked it with a fork a few times to prevent it from puffing up too much, and sprinkled Everything But the Bagel Seasoning from, you guessed it, Trader Joe's on top. If you don't live near a Trader Joe's, you can purchase the seasoning on Amazon., or the Food Netwok has a recipe for it here.

Since puff pastry is pretty delicate and flaky after it's baked, I wanted to make sure the cream cheese spread onto it smoothly. Using a mixer, I beat together my favorite Challenge cream cheese with a little bit of sour cream so it was less dense. I also added a little chopped dill and garlic powder to the mixture to jazz it up.

Once I spread the cream cheese mixture onto the puff pastry, I topped it with Everything But the Bagel Seasoned Smoked Salmon, red onion, thinly sliced lemon, capers, dill, and chives. You can customize this dish with whatever toppings you desire. Avocado, cucumber, arugula, and other pickled vegetables might be good additions, too!

Side note: I recently found out that smoke salmon and lox are actually not the same. Essentially, smoked salmon is smoked after it is cured, whereas lox is cured but not smoked. Technically, this recipe should be named "Puff pastry and smoked salmon," but I wanted the title to be a play on "bagels and lox."

Puff pastry and lox
For the dill cream cheese spread
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 ounces sour cream
  • 4 Tablespoons dill, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
For the pastry
  • 1 sheet puff pastry (Wewalka is my favorite because it's refrigerated, not frozen)
  • Egg wash (1 egg, 1 Tablesoon water, mixed together)
  • 2 Tablespoons Everything But the Bagel Seasoning
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, or lox
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 lemon, very thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons chives, chopped
For the dill cream cheese spread
  1. Beat the cream cheese at high speed for about 3 minutes or until it's light and whipped.
  2. Add sour cream and beat until smooth
  3. Add dill and garlic powder and beat until combine.
  4. Let sit in refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the dish.
For the pastry
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Unroll puff pastry and brush with egg wash. 
  3. Use a fork to poke it a few times to prevent it from puffing too much.
  4. Sprinkle Everything But the Bagel Seasoning on top.
  5. Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it starts to puff up and turns golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven—you may need to poke it in the center if it puffed up too much.
  7. Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before spreading the cream cheese mixture on top.
  8. Slice the smoked salmon into small pieces and evenly spread them out on top of the cream cheese mixture.
  9. Add the rest of your toppings and cut into rectangular pieces. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Easy recipes using food pantry staples in honor of FOX59's Pack the Pantries

Central Indiana food pantries have seen a dramatic increase in demand over the last few months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Even before the COVID-19 surge, the need in Indiana was great. More than 1 million Hoosiers go hungry every year, and one in six Hoosiers goes to bed hungry every night. 

Each year, FOX59 teams up with Gleaners and Midwest Food Bank to help fight hunger by raising money. Find more information on how to donate here.

In honor of the Pack the Pantries fundraising event, I’m sharing two easy recipes using food pantry staples. 

I spoke with representatives from Midwest Food Bank Indiana and Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana to determine what ingredients are readily available.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, John Whitaker with Midwest Food Bank Indiana says they have maintained a very good supply of nutritional food at their pantries, especially thanks to USDA food boxes. They are packed with a variety of fresh fruits, dairy products, and meat.

He said one ingredient they have a LOT of but clients aren’t sure what to do with is veggie burgers. That served as the inspiration for my vegetarian burger macaroni and cheese.

I wanted to show veggie burgers aren’t just for sandwiches. They’re packed with protein and very easy to prepare. The recipe is comparable to Hamburger Helper, but instead of using ground beef, I used crumbled up veggie burger patties.

I also added diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to the dish—two ingredients that Gleaners Nutrition Manager Sarah Wilson, RDN, says clients frequently seek recipes for.

Wilson said cabbage is another ingredient clients receive but need inspiration for. So for my second recipe, I decided to make a spicy cabbage slaw to go on top of tacos.

You can obviously make any kind of tacos you want (you could use crumbled veggie burger patties here, too!), but I decided to try something more unique and make potato tacos.

You may be thinking, "Why potatoes?" Well, first, I think it's important to remember that meat on the dinner table isn't an expectation for many Hoosiers who experience food insecurity—it's a treat. Maybe meat isn't in the budget this week, or maybe, like what we just experienced during the pandemic, it's unavailable at the grocery store.

So then what? Since both potatoes and cabbage have long shelf lives, you can keep the ingredients on hand to use when you’re out of other options.

It’s also a good thing that we're using raw cabbage in this recipe because heat breaks down the chemicals that give cabbage many of its nutritional superpowers.

Vegetarian burger macaroni and cheese
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 12 to 16 ounces vegetable burger patties
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional: Parsley
  1. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. 
  2. Sauté the onion for several minutes until it starts to soften. 
  3. Add the vegetable burger patties and break them up with spatula so they resemble ground beef crumbles.
  4. Add mustard, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne powder, salt and pepper and stir to incorporate.
  5. Stir in the milk, macaroni, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce.
  6. Bring pot to boil then cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir occasionally.
  7. After it’s done cooking, remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese until it’s melted.
  8. You can sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Potato tacos with spicy cabbage slaw
For the spicy cabbage slaw
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound red or green cabbage, shredded
For the potato tacos
  • 3 pounds potatoes, cleaned and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the spicy cabbage slaw
  1. Combine the mayonnaise with apple cider vinegar, Sriracha, salt, and pepper.
  2. Mix with shredded cabbage and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the potato tacos
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Rinse the potatoes under cold water until the water runs clear to remove excess starch. Dry the potatoes as best as you can.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the olive oil and seasoning.
  4. Pour onto a baking sheet and spread in a single layer
  5. Roast potatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes
  6. Remove from oven
  7. Prepare tacos by putting potatoes in tortilla and topping with spicy cabbage slaw. Add cheese and cilantro if desired.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Homemade Rice Krispies Treats Cereal

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Some experiences in life are so special they become engrained in our minds forever. For me, one of those events is the first time I tried Rice Krispies Treats Cereal. Let me be clear, I'm not talking about regular Rice Krispies. Oh no. Rice Krispies Treats Cereal is essentially clusters of actual Rice Krispies treats that Kellogg's somehow managed to pass off as a breakfast food.

Before I was old enough for school, I was watched by a babysitter every day while my parents were at work. For me, the best part about going to the babysitter's house was getting to try all the processed foods my health-conscious mother deprived me of.

My parents always fed me breakfast before they dropped me off, but that didn't stop me from consuming the sugary cereals the other children were treated to. Fortunately, Rice Krispies Treats Cereal was among their favorites. This may appall some of you, but I remember finishing other children's bowls of cereal just for a taste.

But sadly, I grew up, and no longer needed to be watched by the babysitter. And I never got my hands on another box of Rice Krispies Treats Cereal. I think that's the reason I've been so fixated on it.

I know Kellogg's came out with a new version of the cereal, but it is not even remotely the same. So I finally decided to create my own version of the original recipe!

Typically, I like gooey, marshmallowy Rice Krispies treats, but I knew the structure if the cereal needed to be different so it wouldn't fall apart when soaked in milk. Also, one ingredient you typically don't see in Rice Krispies treats is powdered sugar. But I added it at the end so the clusters don't all stick together. You don't want to add a lot of it, just a few tablespoons.

Rice Krispies Treats Cereal
  • 6 Tablespoons Challenge butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 10 cups (about two 10 oz. bags) mini marshmallows
  • 12 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  1. Melt butter in very large pan or pot on medium high heat. 
  2. Add vanilla and mini marshamllows to pan and stir until completely melted.
  3. Slowly add the cereal and continue stirring until mixed.
  4. Lay out a large sheet of either wax paper, and spread cereal mixture on it. Add another layer of wax paper on top and use a rolling pin to press it down into a thinner layer.
  5. Let it set up for about an hour. Then break off 1/2-inch clusters and put into large bowl or gallon-sized Ziploc bag.
  6. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top of clusters and mix so they're coated and won't stick together.
  7. Pour into bowl and serve with milk.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Dunkaroos Cookies

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Nostalgia can be a security blanket during times of uncertainty. In the past few months, I’m sure you’ve seen friends post old photos and reminisce about past vacations and other joyous events. I think people do these things because positive memories help them to evoke positive emotions.

Personally, food memories are the most powerful for me.

I sometimes think back on my childhood, especially during the summer when I had a long break from school and my family went on vacations. That was the life. I wish I would have appreciated that time more.

When I specifically think of childhood memories, I most often fixate on food. Kraft Mac & Cheese has been at the very top of my mind lately. I’ve also been thinking about Dinosaur Eggs oatmeal, French Toast Crunch, and Spaghetti O’s.

My mother worked hard to make sure we had a home-cooked meal almost every night. So why did I love “junk food” so much? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s because I rarely got a chance to eat it, so now I crave it!

This bout of nostalgia inspired me to create a recipe to help all my fellow 90s kids. I made Dunkaroos cookies. Essentially, they're chewy graham cracker cookies with a Dunkaroo frosting center. The frosting is a mixture of a vanilla cream cheese frosting and a buttercream frosting. My husband says they taste exactly how he remembers Dunkaroos taste.

I'm not sure why Dunkaroos got the boot from store shelves, but hopefully this recipe will satisfy your nostalgic urge for one of the best snacks from the 90s.

Dunkaroos Cookies
Yield: Makes about 12 cookies
For the frosting
For the cookies
  • 1 1/4 cup flour (150 grams)
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (120 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting
  1. Beat the butter and the cream cheese on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until combined.
  3. Beat in the vanilla and the salt.
  4. Refrigerate the frosting while you prepare the cookie dough.
For the cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter together until creamy.  
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.  
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  
  6. Scoop dough into Tablespoon-sized balls. Stick your thumbs into the center of the dough to form a cavity.
  7. Remove frosting from refrigerator. Stuff the cavity with about a teaspoon of the frosting.
  8. Place cookie dough on baking sheet about 1 to 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.  
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.
  10. There will be leftover frosting. Unfortunately, there's no great way to make a smaller batch. You can freeze the leftover frosting, spread it on graham crackers, or eat it with a spoon.
This isn't a pretty photo, but I wanted to share it so you know what the dough will look like before you bake them!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

How I spent the past 8 weeks in quarantine

I realize I haven't written a blog post in a long while. As many of you know, I work for a local news station, and my husband works in the healthcare industry. That being said, I am hyperaware of the coronavirus’ effects—on our physical and mental health and on the economy. It has been a heavy weight on my chest throughout the past eight weeks, and my heart hurts for all those affected.

Normally, when I’m stressed or sad, I turn my focus to cooking and baking, but that hasn’t felt right. I try to avoid the grocery store, opting instead to get our food delivered, and I’m very sensitive to the fact that many people in my community are struggling with food insecurity.

I am also using this time to slow down and focus on my priorities. I've spent a lot of time throughout the past decade comparing myself to others. I've been worried about my appearance, whether my pictures are Instagram-worthy, whether anyone will like the recipes I make, etc. The past month, I've tried to spend less time consuming and more time living.

The following photos show what I've been up to since I started quarantining. They aren't "professional" pictures by any means (not saying my pics normally are), but I'm realizing that's okay.  I wanted to share this part of my life with you. I don't need to give the impression my meals only consist of perfectly plated food because they don't.

I love larb! Have you ever had it? It's a Lao meat salad. You can get it at Thai restaurants. My favorite place to get it is Taste if Thai in the Castleton area in Indianapolis. It is so extremely flavorful. My version was tasty but not quite as flavorful despite the copious amount of cilantro and mint I used. This was the recipe that served as my inspiration. I am often unable to find special chiles in the grocery store, so I always substitute with red pepper flakes. I made this in my wok. You will see this wok in a lot of my pictures. It's my go-to pan when I'm cooking a lare quantity of something. Pro: It's big and nothing sticks to it. Con: It doesn't have a lid.

I served the larb with cucumber salad. This was the recipe. It was very tasty! I didn't add sugar, and Iused more sesame oil.

This looks very similar to the recipe above, but I promise it's different. This is a Korean ground beef bowl. Same cucumber salad recipe as the one above. It was tasty! Here's the recipe I used.

I love Trader Joe's frozen meals. The "Saucy Scallops with Mushrooms" is a favorite of mine.

I cook the "saucy scallops" in my wok with Trader Joes' cauliflower gnocchi—another favorite frozen item of mine. The scallops plus the gnocchi has a "comfort food" vibe and is plenty of food for two people.

I've made a lot of cauliflower rice while in quarantine. A LOT! I LOVE regular rice, but I started a keto diet before the quarantine, and I've been trying to eat fewer carbs. This is a concoction I made that I'm caulling (I know this word is misspelled. I did it on accident, but I thought it was kind of punny since I'm talking about cauliflower rice) Greek cauli-salad. All the flavors of a Greek salad in cauliflower rice form. I cooked the cauliflower with red wine vinegar, red onion, oregano, and feta. I threw some spinach in there too. It was a good idea, but I've come to realize cauliflower rice will always predominantly taste like cauliflower no matter what you do to it. 

The frozen salmon from Costco is fantastic. The filets are individually wrapped, and easy to move from the freezer to the fridge the night before you want to cook them so they're unthawed by the time you're ready. I made a mustard sauce for this salmon. It was the first time I've ever done that, and it was fantastic! Here is the recipe.

This is in the category for top two worst pictures I took in quarantine. It's cauliflower risotto with leeks. I realize it doesn't look appealing, but I really loved it! I had leeks I didn't know what to do with and I love risotto, so somehow I landed on this. I used this recipe, but no mushrooms. I like mushrooms, but I didn't have any.

Fennel was available, and I hadn't had it in a very long time, so I decided to get it! I made this recipe, except no Granny Smith apples, red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice, and blue cheese instead of parmesan.

This takes the cake I think for worst picture I'm posting. It was supposed to be a healthy meatloaf, but it wasn't very good. I used golden flax meal instead of breadcrumbs. The golden flax seed meal gave it an odd aftertaste. I was kind of disappointed.

This is literally just Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi (always pan roasted or baked in oven—never boiled), pesto, and parmesan cheese. It's an easy comfort meal.

Four avocados for our Cinco de Mayo guacamole. One of the most important parts of making good guacamole is to never overmix it!!! I don't want your guacamole soup. I want chunky guacamole!

The best guacamole has the fewest ingredients, in my opinion. The guacamole I make is my favorite guacamole. Find the recipe here.

The most beautiful pork carnitas. Corn tortilla + guacamole + pickled red onions + carnitas = perfection! Get my recipe here.

Now onto some non-cooking projects... We purchased this credenza on Facebook Marketplace in October. It was pretty beat up, but it was very cheap and it fit the space which is an awkward size.

We originally thought we would stain it, but then we decided a pop of color would be nice since we already have a lot of wood in the living room.

We went with blue to match the tile near the fireplace and our blue chair.

We also added new handles and knobs from CB2. I love the way it turned out!

We took this picture on Easter Sunday. It was sad not to be able to attend Traders Point Christian Church for service, but we're fortunate they are streaming the services online. We dressed up to watch it in our living room.

William grilled Costco steaks I had in the freezer for Easter dinner.

A very non-traditional Easter meal, but it was delicious.

I went on a cleaning kick and decided to clean the grout in our bathroom.

I decided it was way too much work for almost unnoticeable results.

Did you know you're supposed to clean your washing machine filter? I had no idea. It was one of the most disgusting things I've ever done.

Also, I had no idea that I can and I should be cleaning my range hood vents!

So much better!

Another painting project.

Our bedroom went from beige to white—we're very bold.

I had a really tough and stressful day at work, and when I returned home, William had a candlelit dinner set up. It was so thoughtful!

He was even wearing a suit. I took a picture of us to remember the moment.

I love this beautiful, flowery tree. I stare at it outside our living room window every day.

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