Cheese Ballin’ & Jalapeño Poppin’

Cheese Ballin’


Jalapeño Poppin’


Ok, Folks!!! Today I’m giving you a 2 for 1. The EXACT SAME CheeseBall, also doubles as a kick ass Jalapeño Popper Filling. I’ve learned a few things along the way, so I’ll share and let you run free! This is a super easy recipe that I just threw together on the fly. I’ve never made Jalapeño Poppers before, but have always wanted to.  They were super tasty and…. pretty easy to assemble. So, here’s what you need:

Jalapeños & Ingredients Prepped

Jalapeño & Ingredient Prep

  • 8 oz. Organic Lower Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup diced Fresh Pineapple
  • 6-8 oz shredded Sharp Cheddar
  • Handful of Cilantro chopped (stems & leaves)
  • as many jalapeños as you want to make (seeds and membrane removed)
  • Applewood Bacon

TIPS: I used 9 LARGE Jalapeños. I mean, these suckers were HUGE!!!! We def had to use a knife and a fork for these bad boys! (You can also use the smaller jalapeños and make them more “popper” size. Instead of wrapping an entire piece of bacon around them, you would just use half. Easy Peasy!!!) Also, I recommend the Neufchatel Cream Cheese as it has 1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese. But, I would NOT Substitute Fat Free ANYTHING EVER!!!! Usually the Fat Free versions are chock full of other bad ingredients (sugars, calories, preservatives, natural flavor, etc). The small amount of added fat in the lower fat or even the full fat versions are in actuality better for you. The more natural and wholesome the product, the better! And, for the love of food, Do NOT use Fat Free Cheese. I mean, YUCK!!! That stuff doesn’t even melt right!!! Also, if you don’t like pineapple…leave it out! And if you hate cilantro, you can sub in another herb of choice. I’d recommend Parsley, Chives, Garlic Chives, or Thyme.


For the Filling/CheeseBall

Yeah, Yeah….I know this is a blurry pic, but I was working fast in the kitchen. I just wanted to show you what I did with the Pineapple. After dicing up, I placed it on a paper towel to drain off the excess water and juice while I prepped the rest of the ingredients. Nobody likes a soggy CheeseBall!!!

Cheese Mixture

Cheese Mixture

Now, the cheese mixture should look like this. Yes, that is a LOT of pineapple. We love pineapple and cilantro. I thought that the sweetness of the pineapple might counteract the spicy jalapeño. Here’s what I learned. Yes, you CAN taste the pineapple in the cheese ball. And, no, you can NOT taste the pineapple in the poppers. I’m not sure if its because we smoked them on the grill with apple wood, or if the heat of the jalapeño masked it. But, if I make poppers again, I will leave out the pineapple, I think.  Maybe it does do some undercover work making the mixture a little sweeter?  And, it IS a healthy addition!!!  In fact, it was delicious in the cheese ball…….until the next day. We had some leftover and ate it for a game day appetizer on Sunday. For some reason it tasted BITTER. Not very good. So, apparently the cheeseball is best eaten the day its prepared if you add pineapple. And, be sure not to roll it in the bacon and jalapeños until the day you serve. You want to bacon to be crispy, but once it is refrigerated, it becomes chewy.

Stuff the Jalapeños

Stuff the Jalapeños

I wasn’t sure how to go about the Jalapeños. I could either slice them lengthwise and try to clean out the seeds and some of the membrane (this is where the heat hides in peppers). I did that to my first Jalapeño, I started with 10. I ruined it. I think they were so large that this method was difficult to accomplish without splitting the pepper. Down to 9 peppers. This time I decided, Off With Their Heads!!!! This worked fabulously!!!! So, for smaller “popper” size jalapeños, I would use the slice down the middle method. For these Big Daddy Jalapeños, the Off With Their Heads method worked best. TIP: When stuffing the peppers, be sure to start with a small amount of filling and push it down to the tip of the pepper. Then go back for more filling for the upper half of the pepper. No bite left unfilled!!!

Put the Tops back on!

Put the Tops back on!

Now, secure with a toothpick. Not really sure what I was doing here since these guys were HUGE. I inserted 1 toothpick through the top “hat” of the pepper and tried to secure it to the base. Maybe next time I’ll use 2 toothpicks and secure them in a crisscross fashion??? I didn’t use 2 because I thought the bacon “wrapping” would help keep them intact.  Lesson Learned.



It gets kinda messy, but No Worries!!! The filling also acted as a sort of “glue” to let you put the tops back on the jalapeños and secure them with a toothpick. However, we lost some of the tops while grilling. Apparently, I should have used 2 toothpicks for these Big Daddys. I figure 1 toothpick would be sufficient for a normal size jalapeño. TOOTHPICK TIP: I used natural bamboo toothpicks that I had presoaked in a cup of water for about 20 mins. You don’t want them to burn! This will help.

Wrap Em' Up!

Wrap Em’ Up!

Next, take a whole slice of bacon and wrap it around the entire pepper, tucking the ends in. If you are using a “normal size” jalapeño, a half slice should be enough. I used a local applewood bacon for super flavor. We were also smoking these on the grill with applewood chips. Flavor Boost!!! You can also use regular bacon or turkey bacon!

Plate and Pop in Fridge until ready to cook!

Pop in Fridge until ready to cook!

Now, to put these on the grill and try to keep them easy to turn.  I skewered 3 poppers on 2 skewers before placing them on the grill. This helped keep them stabilized and easy to flip. Got to get all sides of that bacon CRISPY in this household, per the hubs.

Throw 'em on the Grill or in the Oven

Skewered Poppers

Throw ‘Em on the Grill.  Smoke ‘Em.  Put ‘Em in the Oven. Broil ‘Em.  Put ‘Em on a Grill Pan.  All sorts of cooking choices.  Use what works best for you.  We Popped ‘Em on the Grill and Smoked ‘Em over Apple Wood for #SUPERFLAVOR.  Yes, yes, YES….it was amazing.  I highly recommend it.  Now, let’s get Cheese Ballin’

Kicked Up Pineapple-Cilantro CheeseBall

Leftover Cheese Mixture

Leftover Cheese Mixture

Ok, so after stuffing all the jalapeños, I had some of the Cheese Mixture Leftover. Hence, the creation of the CheeseBall. Cheese Balls are simply cream cheese mixed with your choice of cheeses and herbs and fillings and rolled into a ball. I thought, what a quick app already made for me!  No waste, No worries. (I also debated using it for stuffed chicken).

Cheese Ballin'

Cheese Ballin’

Simply Roll the Mixture into a Ball and wrap in Saran Wrap.  Let chill in the fridge at least 30 mins or while you get the toppings ready to roll it in. Most people use a variety of nuts to roll their cheeseballs in. The Hubs is allergic to tree nuts, so instead I decided to crisp up some bacon and that naughty leftover jalapeño that I ruined earlier and use that as a crispy outer layer. Turned out DELISH!!!  Do It!!!!

Sautee Bacon & Jalapenos

Can you Smell the SIZZLE!?!?!

Drain the bacon and jalapeños on paper towels until cool.  Make sure they are pretty small.  I chopped mine up roughly with a knife.  You want your CheeseBall to be evenly coated in bacon deliciousness.  Tip: Again, you can sub turkey bacon.  It just won’t be as delicious.

Crispy Coating

Crispy Coating

Roll the chilled cheeseball in the bacon/jalapeño pieces.  Serve Immediately with Crackers, Bread, Crudités, Pita.



Cheese Ballin’ & Jalapeño Poppin’




Organic Herbed Cream Cheese

Serve with Rach's Rainbow Medley of Baby Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Serve with a side of Rach’s Rainbow Medley of Baby Tomatoes  & Cucs w/ a dash of Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper

Hello Friends!  I’m about to pass along a recipe my friend Rachel and I created, that is so simple…..YOU CAN MAKE IT IN A HOTEL ROOM!!!!  That’s right.  Literally.  We whipped up this tasty organic cream cheese in the mini-kitchen of our hotel room.  Who says you can’t enjoy healthy, fresh, delicious choices while traveling?  Not these Girls!!!  All you need is 2 Chicks & a Bowl, (that’s the name of our future cookbook collaboration, right Rach?!?!?! Cute, huh???)

Our Fancy Lunch in our Hotel Room

Our Fancy Homemade Lunch in Our Hotel Room

Rachel is a wonderful friend and amazing in the kitchen!  I learn so much from food to organic gardening from her!!!  I just wish she lived closer.  We met in Alpharetta, GA for few nights to go to a couple of Phish shows.  She knew I had just moved and didn’t really have a garden yet, so she brought along all sorts of goodies from her own!  Just because we were staying out of town in a hotel, did NOT mean that we had to sacrifice our love of cooking and eat out the whole time.  Actually, we cooked in the entire time for ALL OF OUR MEALS!!!  And we ate so, so, so, soooooo good.  So, take some goodies from home and liven’ up your road trips a little!  Rach even surprised me with a Fresh Picked Bouquet!  We like to travel in style….

Rach's Fresh Flowers from her Garden

Rach’s Fresh Flowers from her Garden

and a few Festive Decorations make a cheerful mood...the empty bottles by the end didn't hurt the cheerful mood any either!!!

Festive Decorations Make a Happy Hotel Room (TIP: Now you know what to do with your empty bottles)

Ok, I think I’ve forgotten the whole reason for this post now.  THE RECIPE!!!  Whoops, getting back on track….

Of course, this is just a basic recipe.  Herbed Cream Cheese can be changed up so many ways…leave something out, add something in, or just use 1 Simple Herb…Like Chives…and KISS (keep it simple stupid).  Look around and see what ingredients you have fresh and need to use, and go from there.  We compiled a variety of herbs in this particular recipe, because Rach had brought so much to choose from.  Maybe at the end I’ll try and give you a few suggestions…but basically: add or omit: Garlic, Lemon, Zest, Pepper, Jalapeños, Onions, Shallots etc to taste.  When you are cooking, you want to make something YOU LIKE!  If you hate Mint, and we do have it in this one, JUST LEAVE IT OUT.  It’s as simple as that to make something your own.  So here goes….

Beautiful Fresh Organic Herbs from Rach's Garden

Beautiful Fresh Organic Herbs from Rach’s Garden

1. Choose Your Herbs


ORGANIC: Dill, Thyme, Sage, Mint, Marjoram, Parsley & Chives

2. Chop Herbs and add to Softened Cream Cheese

Chop Herbs and add to Softened Cream Cheese

3. Add Chopped Organic Veggies of Choice

Add Organic Chopped: Red Onion, Garlic & Jalapeño

Red Onion, Garlic & Jalapeño

4. Add Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice & Zest

Mix to Combine

Mix to Combine

5. Refrigerate & Enjoy!

Use as a dip or Smear on a Local Everything Bagel.  Add Organic Avocado and Rach's Organic Cucs

Use as a dip or Smear on a Local Everything Bagel. Add Organic Avocado and Rach’s Organic Cucs

Add some Sprouts for a delicious Veggie Bagel

Add some Sprouts for a delicious Veggie Bagel

Fresh, Creamy, Crisp & Satisfying

Fresh, Creamy, Crisp & Satisfying


Organic Herbed Cream Cheese

  • 8 oz Organic Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 T EACH chopped Organic Herbs of Choice (NOTE: Mint and Cilantro…a little goes a LONG way)
  • 2 T EACH chopped Veggies of Choice (garlic, red onion, jalapeño, shallots)
  • 1 T Fresh Organic Lemon Juice & Zest (can substitute lime)
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Mix to Combine all Ingredients

We went for a rustic, chunky cream cheese.  We wanted to be able to taste the bits of garlic and onion and spicy jalapeño, because we were going to use it right away instead of refrigerate it.  The longer it sits, the more time the flavors have to marry!  If you want a smoother consistency, you can always put into a food processor and chop the herbs and garlic finer and then pulse the cream cheese to combine.  You could also use a microplane grater for the garlic and onion and get smaller bits and lots of the juices for flavor.  That would work as well.  Like I said, we were in a hotel and did not have the foresight to bring along a good knife.   TIP: If going on a road trip, BRING A GOOD KNIFE!!!  Lesson Learned.  Lucky for us, all fingers remained intact!

Ring around the Sun

Ring around the Sun

It’s so fun to go on a road trip!  You never know what’s gonna happen.  But, you can be sure that you make good choices while traveling by making your own food.  And, it was so much fun for us to be able to cook together!  Not much we’d rather be doing!!! Although we did have some craziness, see above pics and below pics of the Ring Around the Sun, we sure had some good damn food for a hotel room!



For awhile I really thought I was the only one seeing least I got the pics for PROOF!!!

For awhile I really thought I was the only one seeing this….at least I got the pics for PROOF!!!

Some other ideas for Hotel Room Food

Alexia Onion Rings w MicroGreens & Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice.  Raw Plate (Beets, Carrots, Cu

Late Night Snack after Phish Show: Alexia Onion Rings w MicroGreens & Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice. Raw Plate (Beets, Carrots, Cucs & Whole Grain Mustard) and Homemade Guacamole



Late Lunch/Snack before Show

Late Lunch/Snack before Show: Cucs, Guacamole, Habanero Lime Tortillas & Bread

Totally worth it to decorate your hotel room if your staying a few days!

Totally worth it to decorate your hotel room if your staying a few days!



WIth Love & Safe Travels

2 Chicks & a Bowl

Kari & Rach


Greek Smothered Hummus

Greek Smothered Hummus

Crisp, Cool & Creamy

Crisp, Cool & Creamy

It’s that time of year…..It’s FOOTBALL TIME!!!!!  Heading to parties, get togethers, or just staying home to tailgate….this season can really pack on the pounds.  Here is the perfect Healthy appetizer to make that is bursting with delightful, refreshing flavor.  It’s easy on the thighs and on the wallet!!!!  A few fresh ingredients take a basic dip and turn it into a masterpiece.  Use a cute serving dish to make it fancy, y’all!  I used my Grandma Sarah’s dish…Green…in honor of the Packers for the Hubs.  (Go Pack Go!!!!)  All you need is a few fresh ingredients, hummus, and a knife; and you’re good to go!


Fresh Organic or Homegrown is best!

Fresh Organic or Homegrown is best!



Diced Tomatoes

Diced Cucumbers

Diced Red Onion

Diced Red Pepper

Minced Garlic

GOOD Quality Feta

Hot & Spicy Oregano




TIP:  Drain excess water from Toms and Cucs by dicing and spreading in a single layer onto a paper towel.  Sprinkle generously with Salt (and pepper if you like).

TIP: Drain excess water from Toms and Cucs by dicing and spreading in a single layer onto a paper towel. Sprinkle generously with Salt (and pepper if you like) and let sit for at least 10 mins.  I always dice these guys first so they have time to sit while I prepare the other ingredients!

Next, locate a fancy dish to match your team colors!  Spread a layer of Organic Hummus on the bottom.  (I actually made my Hummus from scratch.  It was a Cilantro-Jalapeño Hummus and it was tastetacular.  However, it is quite time consuming and you have to soak the chickpeas overnight and shell them for a supercreamy hummus.  I’ll post the recipe sometime…But this Smothered Version is packed with so much flavor from the Fresh Veggies & Herbs, I would omit that step and simplify it.  Just purchase a GOOD Organic Store Bought Hummus that you like or just make a quick Garlic-Lemon Hummus from Organic Cans of Chickpeas.  TIP FOR USING CANNED CHICKPEAS:  After Draining and Rinsing, be sure to simmer in fresh water for about 10 mins first before using….that will help take out the metallic taste from the can!!!)

Cilantro-Jalapeño Hummus on the bottom layer

Cilantro-Jalapeño Hummus on the bottom layer

Now, simply mix together all Ingredients in a bowl.  Add a couple swirls around the bowl of EVOO (2 T) and season with Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper.  Crumble the Feta on top and toss.  You can substitute any fresh herb for this that you like.  I used my Homegrown Organic Hot & Spicy Oregano and Parsley.  I was going for a Smothered Greek Hummus, with the Oregano and Parsley, but had to change it up when I realized I didn’t have any Olives or Artichokes to add.  They are a SUPER TASTY addition to this….and another way to change it up!

You Veggie Mix should look something like this:

You Veggie Mix should look something like this.  Fresh & Crisp

Last Step is to spoon the Mixture right on top of the Hummus.  So Simple, right?!?!

Quick & Healthy.  Your friends (and thighs) will Thank You!!!!

Quick & Healthy. Your friends (and thighs) will Thank You!!!!

I served mine with Sea Salt Pita Chips, Carrots & Snap Peas

I served mine with Sea Salt Pita Chips, Carrots & Snap Peas




SuperFruit Salsa

SuperFruit Salsa

With a few healthy, delicious ingredients, you can make a refreshing, revitalizing SuperFruit Salsa.  The sweetness of the pineapple paired with the heat from the jalapeño will tantalize your tastebuds with it’s cool, crisp texture.



Be sure to use Fresh, Organic Ingredients! Local, when possible!!!


Pineapple, diced

Papaya, diced

Red Onion, diced

Jalapeño, diced

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

Cilantro, leaves AND stems chopped

Organic Lemon Zest & Juice (I had an Organic Meyer!!! Oh Happy Day!!!!)

3 Sweet Peppers, diced (I had a Red, Yellow & Orange…such a pretty combo!!!)

1-2 T Local Honey (depending on heat of pepper and sweetness of fruits)

Dash of Fresh Ground Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper



My Secret Ingredient

A Dash of………….



That’s right.  Cinnamon.  Just Remember: a LITTLE goes a LONG WAY!!!!  But, it is a divine addition!  And the numerous health benefits of cinnamon are always a tasty plus! You will thank me for this later.

(quick side note about Cinnamon: this delightful spice is also very tasty in Rum Punch! Really. Try It. You will thank me later for this one too!!!)


Chop and Dice and Throw It In a Bowl!


Add Gorgeous Organic Lemon Zest and Juice


Don’t forget our little secret!!! A Dash of Cinnamon with the Salt and Pepper


The colors are absolutely stunning.


Mix In the Chopped Cilantro and Drizzle Honey


Toss with a Fork to Combine.


I served mine over a Ponzu Marinaded Flank Steak with a side of Grilled Onions. Yes, it was delicious.


Steak turned out just right!!! No complaints from the Hubby!!!


Leftovers for Lunch the next day! Whole Wheat BLT with SuperFruit Salsa and Stacy’s Naked Pita Chips. So good!!! No complaints from the hubby on this one either!!!!

This is a really tasty way to get those fruits in to the kiddos, too!  They LOVED it!!!!

If you don’t have Papaya around (I just like to buy crazy unique fruits at the market when I can find them, especially when they are organic or local!!!!!  The kids love cutting into them and tasting them.  Do this with your kids…you will be surprised with how much they like!!!  Starfruits and Kiwi are always big hits!)  Anyway, as I was saying…….If you don’t have Papaya around, feel free to substitue mango, kiwi, melons, etc This is a pretty basic recipe that you can’t really mess up!  I’ve made it with Mango numerous times!!!


Here’s to Eatin’ Clean in the Dirty South!



KickAss Crostini

KickAss Crostini

Simple & Delicious

Crostini. One of the Most Versatile Appetizers In Existence!!! There are so many topping options, the possibilities are endless. (Bruschetta, Olive Tapenade, Roasted Red Pepper & Feta, Garlic & Herb, Salmon, Cream Cheese & Capers, Pimento Cheese & Chive, Pear & Brie, Roast Beef, Rosemary & Horseradish, Lox, Red Onion & Dill, Nutella & Berries….Seriously, I could go ON and ON!!!)

Nothing better than a crisp, delicious blank canvas to deliver simple culinary bliss. Ingenious, I say! Now, all you have to do is master the basics of making a scrumptious Crostini, and Appetizer Heaven is within your reach!

To do this, all you need is One Little Thing.

garlic. Garlic. GARLIC.

One Simple Garlic Clove

One Simple Garlic Clove

That’s it. Just one itty bitty clove of garlic. It doesn’t matter if the clove is fresh and raw or if you have been using it beforehand to make a quick Garlic Infused Butter or Olive Oil.  Regardless, don’t waste that tiny morsel that is about to take your basic Crostini to a whole other level!  Waste Not, Want Not.

Organic Butter, Organic Garlic Clove, Salt & Pepper

Organic Butter, Organic Garlic Clove, Salt & Pepper

Organic EVOO, Organic Garlic Clove, Salt & Pepper

Organic EVOO, Organic Garlic, Organic Parsley, Organic Garlic Chives, Salt & Pepper


1. Cut Baguette (Local and Organic, if possible! Or even better, HOMEMADE!!!) into slices on a diagonal.

2. Drizzle EVOO over BOTH SIDES.

3. Put on Hot Grill, Grill Pan, or Broil in Oven a few minutes.

4. Flip, and let other side get browned.

*Be sure to watch closely during Steps 3 & 4 so you don’t burn the crostini. DO NOT WALK AWAY from the grill, stove, or oven!!!!

5. Place on Platter HOT SIDE UP!!!!


*The Garlic Oil will penetrate the Crostini and allow you so smear garlicky deliciousness all over the slice. YUMMMMM………

7. Top however you choose! Crostini Nirvana is YOURS!!!


Oil BOTH sides

Oil BOTH sides


Rub Garlic Clove Over Hot Side



Here I was doing a Bruschetta Topping: Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella, Balsamic Vinegar

Beautiful & Delicious!

Beautiful & Delicious!

Hope you Enjoy and Utilize my Simple Secret to KickAss Crostini!

Let the Crostini Madness Begin!!!



Easy Entertaining

~ Easy Entertaining ~

Beautiful & Delicious

Beautiful & Delicious

Now that the weather is warming up, we all want to entertain.  I am going through some old photos and finding some cute, easy ideas to pass along.  Enjoy!

Above: Roll a Log of Goat Cheese in fresh chopped herbs and lemon zest.  Garnish with Chive Flower (I believe I used fresh organic thyme, chives, parsley, lemon zest, s&p)


Table Display

Bright & Colorful Display Ideas

Starting Bottom to Left: Herbed Goat Cheese, Edamame Hummus & Fresh Veggies, Caprese Bites, Radish & Herbed Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches, Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Foraged Quinoa and Berry Salad, Drunken Pasta, Smothered Greek Hummus, Baked Brie with Grapes and Thyme

This was actually for another BookClub that I hosted.  I tried to use all my own produce and herbs and local ingredients.  I had chosen the book Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter.  I needed more lettuce than I had, so I even foraged dandelion greens from my yard!!!  Gotta keep with the spirit of the book!  I have some of the pics, so I’ll post them.  Not 100% of all the recipes, but I’ll do my best to remember what I can.


Veggie & Hummus

Veggie & Hummus

Just Slice Veggies of your choice and put a dip in the middle!


Edamame Hummus:

1 package Organic Edamame (cooked & drained)

1-2 T organic Tahini

2 Cloves Organic Garlic

1 Organic Lemon Zest & Juice (or lime)

1/2 – 1 Jalapeño (to taste)

1 T Organic Chili Powder

Put in Blender or Food Processor.  Blend.  Drizzle in GOOD, LIGHT ORGANIC EVOO until desired consistency (4-7 T)  I kept this one a bit more rustic rather than creamy.  Less EVOO….healthier.  Put in cute serving dish and sprinkle with Chili Powder or Paprika. Cilantro is also good in this!

Makes a great

Use a Variety of Veggies & Color Coordinate!

Caprese Bites

Caprese Bites

Pretty Basic:

Layer Basil, Mozzarella & Tomato on Fork

Drizzle with GOOD Balsamic Vinegar & EVOO

salt & pepper

Radish Tea Sammies

Herbed Radish Tea Sammies

Supereasy.  Bought Tea Sized Rye/Pumpernickel Bread.  Made a custom herb cream cheese to spread.  (soften 1 package organic cream cheese, blend herbs of choice, salt & pepper.  I think I used thyme, chives & parsley)  Slice Radishes.  Top with 2 Radish Slices and Sprinkle with Fresh Herbs (thyme & chives)


Foraged Quinoa & Berry Salad

Foraged Quinoa & Berry Salad

Variety of lettuce and foraged greens, Quinoa (cooked & cooled), My Fresh Raspberries, Local Blueberries, Local Goat Cheese (could substitute Feta or another creamy cheese….I like the tanginess the goat cheese) s&p.  Tossed with Lavender Balsamic and drizzled with EVOO.

Brie, Grapes, Thyme & Lavender Balsamic

Brie, Grapes, Thyme & Lavender Balsamic

Beautiful & Delicious!

Top Brie with Grapes, Lavender Balsamic, Fresh Thyme, s&p

Bake 400 7-10 mins.


Lemon, Cucumber, Mint

Lemon, Cucumber, Mint

So Refreshing!



Bustin’ Out BookClub

This is how I rock BOOKCLUB

Awesome Apps For Any Event!

I hosted BookClub last month. We read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was good. I highly recommend it! I wanted to serve light and healthy appetizers because I made a heavy main course, Baked Vodka Pasta with Fresh Arugula, Spinach & Caramelized Onions.

Here’s the deal. I LOVE to cook and entertain, but last month I was in a SERIOUS time crunch!!! Not to go into details, but I had to rock this out Sandra-Lee-Style…..Semi-Homemade, which is SO NOT MY STYLE! But, with a few twists on these apps, I was able to pull it off quick, fresh and full of flavor.

Organic Crudités


Organic Crudités

Broccoli Florets, Easter Egg Radish, Cucumber Rounds, Orange Pepper Julienne, Asparagus Spears, Fennel Half Moons, Red Pepper Julienne, Whole Snap Peas, Fresh Baby Carrots, Mix Baby Heirloom Tomatoes

Wash, rinse, and slice veggies. Arrange on Platter. Toss with dressing at least 4 hours before party! You can even do it ahead that morning!!

I was able to hit up the Fresh Market for some Fresh, Organic Produce…but I did have the time factor against me. So I used a bottled dressing. That’s right. Normally I would have made a vinaigrette from scratch, but I was not entertaining at my own house, so I had to bring everything with me. I think Kelly (my FAB friend who let me borrow her house and mess up her kitchen!!!) already thought I was crazy!!! 🙂 I think I did add in some fresh Organic Parsley and Organic Basil that I had brought with me. And some Himalayan Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper!



So, here’s what I used. Found it at the Fresh Market…all organic ingredients.      Light & Subtle Flavor. Perfect.

You could definitely used any of your favorite Italian or Balsamic Vinaigrettes. Add Herbs, Spices, Garlic etc to change it up. I was rockin’ the KISS Method again! 🙂 Now, just wrap and refrigerate or set it outside if its a cool day…and let it sit 2 hours to all day! Take wrap off and ENJOY! Raw & Delicious! Crisp & Crunchy! Fresh & Flavorful! Bright & Bursting with Color. A Vivid Rainbow for your viewing pleasure. We all know you eat with your eyes first!


Olives, Pickles & Cheese, Oh My!

Delicious from Start to Finish

Delicious from Start to Finish

Sharp Farmhouse Cheddar,Organic Sweet Gherkin Pickles, Emmentaler Swiss, Greek Feta, Olive Assortment

Again, here I was able to go to the Fresh Market. And it PAID OFF. Or, even better, support YOUR LOCAL CHEESE SHOP and FARMERS and BUY LOCAL!!!  You can go to Kroger or your local grocery and buy those Kraft Cheese Cubes (BOOOO KRAFT!!!!!! DO NOT SUPPORT THEM!!!!!)….or you can go the extra step and actually serve good cheese. That’s up to you. I bought real Greek Feta and cubed it myself….it was rich and creamy and almost tasted like goat cheese. Def worth the Upgrade. I also bought the Olives from the Fresh Market Olive Bar and just got a random assortment. From Stuffed to Pitted…just a nice variety. Again, douse it in the dressing (everything…even the pickles and olives!!!) and let it sit for a few hours or up to all day. Then hit it with fresh salt and pepper before serving.

TIP: I used the Fennel Fronds (leftover from the previous veggie platter) to dust the serving tray and use as garnish. So pretty. Try and use as much as the fresh, organic veggies that you can. Waste not, want not.

Fennel Frond Garnish

Fennel Frond Garnish


Simply Sweet

Chocolate Balsamic & Blood Orange Olive Oil make a Killer Combo!

Killer Combo!

This is about as delicious and easy as you can get.


Chocolate Balsamic & Blood Orange Olive Oil make this platter Unique!

For the Cookie Tray I bought Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons from the Fresh Market that were absolutely amazing. Then I used their Almond Pillow Cookies (took me back to my Grandma’s Pound Cake and was so utterly delicious, it brought tears to my eyes!) Then I used the FM French Vanilla Pound Cake. Cut it in cubes and lightly toasted it in the oven. WOW!!! Toasted Pound Cake is WAY BETTER than regular…and the perfect dipper for my Chocolate Balsamic and Blood Orange Olive Oil. Awesome Flavors!

Surprise Visitors!!

Surprise Visitors!!!

The Organic Strawberries were super easy. Wash, Core & Slice. 2 T Chocolate Balsamic and some Fresh Organic Chopped Mint. Let them masquerade for a bit….WOW. Tastetacular.

So, next time you are having a party or get-together or you need to take a dish, and are in a time crunch,…here are 3 delicious ideas that are quick, easy, enough for a crowd and super yummy!