About Me

I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where I also attended college and met the love of my life. I lived in NYC for five years with my husband and Westie, Mack Brown before recently moving all the way across the country to Los Angeles. I'm an amateur chef, total foodie, lover of Westies, sports fanatic and self-proclaimed book worm. You'll find a little bit of all these things I love on this blog. And...most importantly, I'm a new mom to the most precious baby boy, Austn Robert, born this past October.





Austin Robert

Austin Robert

Mack Brown

Mack Brown

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pork Tenderloin with Red Cabbage & Applesauce

Remember this pork tenderloin one pot meal that I made a couple of months ago?  This recipe is the fall version, with red cabbage in place of the asparagus and applesauce instead of potatoes on the side.  It is just as delicious, and even easier to make.

I cooked one {1 lb.} pork tenderloin for two {with some leftovers for lunch the next day}.  To increase the recipe to feed four, add a second 1 lb. pork tenderloin.  There's no need to increase the amount of red cabbage, it makes plenty!

Pork Tenderloin with Red Cabbage & Applesauce

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 pork tenderloin {about 1 lb.}
salt and pepper
1 small head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
applesauce {as much or as little as you like}

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Season the pork on all sides with salt and pepper.  Cook the pork tenderloin in the skillet for 8 to 10 minutes, or until all sides are nicely browned.

Turn off the heat, and remove the pork from the skillet and add the red cabbage.  Toss the cabbage gently, coating it all evenly with the pork juices from the pan.  Lightly salt and pepper the cabbage.  Add the pork tenderloin back into the pan on top of the red cabbage.  

Put the skillet into the oven, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes.  Once the pork is cooked, remove the tenderloin from the pan, and allow it to set for 5 minutes before slicing.

In the meantime, add the red wine vinegar and parsley to the red cabbage.  Toss to combine.

Serve the sliced pork and cabbage with applesauce on the side.

Recipe adapted from Real Simple

Monday, December 3, 2012

Menu Monday

Happy Monday everyone! It's been a rainy past couple of days here in SoCal, but I think we are finally through the storms, and we couldn't be happier!  I won't be taking that beautiful California sun for granted again anytime soon.  Monday night's dinner is actually leftovers from what I made for dinner last night.  It's a total comfort food meal {which we don't eat very often around here}, but after 5 days of cold and rain, it was just what the doctor ordered.  What are you making this week?

Three Cheese Baked Macaroni & Cheese
with Green Salad

Chicken Picatta 
with Lemony Asparagus

Beef & Butternut Squash Stew



Saturday, December 1, 2012

Green Beans with Bacon-Balsamic Vinaigrette

This might be THE BEST green bean recipe of all time.  Seriously.  It is sinfully delicious.  I made these with our Thanksgiving meal and they were my favorite thing on the plate.  The balsamic vinegar adds the perfect sweetness to the bacon and shallots making the perfect side dish for any meat dish you might be cooking.  I'm making this again for Christmas with prime rib, and I can't wait!

Green Beans with Bacon-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 6-8 people

2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
4 slices of bacon, crumbled
2 large shallots, minced
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Cook the green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes, or until they just turn green.  Rinse in cold water to stop the cooking, and set them aside while you get the bacon-balsamic vinaigrette ready.

Cook the bacon in frying pan until crispy.  Lay the bacon on a plate covered with a paper towel to cool and soak up the grease.  You can use the grease leftover from the bacon in the pan to cook the shallots (which would be de-licious) OR you can opt for the slightly healthier option, pour off the bacon grease and add 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil to the pan.  I did the second option when I made this for Thanksgiving, and it was delicious.  I didn't miss the bacon grease at all.

Cook the shallots in the pan with either the bacon grease or olive oil for 1-2 minutes, or until softened. Remove the pan from the heat.  Add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  

Pour the bacon-balsamic vinaigrette over the green beans and you're ready to serve. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Steak Salad with Red Pepper Relish

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We had such a relaxing holiday with our baby boy.  Here he is all dressed up for his first Thanksgiving...

I'll be back later this week with some recipes from our Thanksgiving feast.  Yes, I know Thanksgiving is over, but the recipes I'm going to share can be worked into your everyday menu or {if you're into planning ahead} set aside for a future holiday meal.  I know I plan on making the greens beans with bacon-balsamic vinaigrette again for our Christmas Eve dinner, but I'm getting ahead of myself!

Today's recipe is all about stepping aside from all those Thanksgiving leftovers in our fridge.  If you're anything like us, you've been eating leftovers for days now, and could use a break!  This steak salad is refreshing, simple to make and really delicious.  All you need is a steak {go for a economical cut like a skirt steak or flank steak}, the red pepper relish {which can be made in less than 5 minutes}, and some crumbly blue cheese*.  That's it.  So simple.  So yummy.

*The blue cheese was not part of the original recipe, but a suggestion of Brad's, and a what delicious suggestion it was.  If you don't like blue cheese, though, just leave it off.  The salad would be great without it as well.

Steak Salad with Red Pepper Relish
Serves 2-3 

1 lb. skirt or flank steak
3 large roasted red peppers, diced
{save yourself the work and purchase them jarred}
2 scallions, sliced thin
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
baby romain lettuce leaves
crumbled blue cheese

Turn on the grill and prepare the steak while the grill heats up.  Rub the steak lightly with olive oil and salt and pepper generously.

Cook the steak on the grill for 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare.  Allow the steak to sit for a few minutes before slicing. {Make sure you slice against the grain, so that your steak isn't tough.}

While the steak is cooking, make the red pepper relish.  In a small bowl, combine the diced roasted red peppers, scallions, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.  Add the salt and stir everything together to combine.

Once the steak is sliced, you are ready to assemble the salad.  Layer the steak on top of the lettuce leaves and top with the red pepper relish.  Crumble the blue cheese overtop the relish.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

White Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin cookies are easily in the list of my top 5 favorite cookies of all time.  They are also the perfect treat to make for friends and family this time of year to show someone just how thankful you are for them!  I've tried out many pumpkin cookie recipes over the years trying to find my favorite, and I think this year I've finally done it.  What I love about this recipe is the combination of all purpose flour with equal parts whole wheat flour.  The whole wheat flour adds such a unique and tasty texture to the cookies.  I'm also a huge fan of fall spices like allspice, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon, and these cookies pack in all of those.  So in my eyes, these cookies are pretty much perfect.  I added white chocolate chunks to the cookies {because they're Brad's favorite}, but the possibilites are endless.  Not into white chocolate?  Try dark chocolate chunks, walnuts, cranberries, or raisins.  They would all be delicious in these cookies.

These cookies freeze and travel well too, so make some today and take them along with you on Thursday wherever you are celebrating Thanksgiving.  Just make sure you let the icing dry completely first, and then pack them between layers of wax paper so that they don't stick together and ruin your beautiful icing job!

White Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 cup white chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tbsp. milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl {or mixer}, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and pumpkin.

In a separate bowl, mix together the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and allspice.  Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until fully combined.  Gently stir in the white chocolate chunks.

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets covered with parchment paper.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks to cool fully before icing.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter and milk.  Mix together until you have removed all the lumps.  Frost the cookies, allow the icing to set completely and store in the refrigerator.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Menu Monday: Thanksgiving Edition

Menu Monday is back!  Sorry for the unplanned absence last week, but I've planned some really tasty meals for this week to make it up to you :).  Plus, it's Thanksgiving on Thursday, so we are going to be stuffed full of deliousness by the weekend!

I have so much to be thankful for this week, and even though we won't be traveling back east to see our extended families, I'm so excited to spend a long weekend loving on and being grateful for my boys.

Warm Spinach Salad 
with Quinoa & Shiitake Mushrooms

Chicken with Creamy Mushrooms
& Asparagus

Steak Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Relish


Turkey with Herb Butter and Gravy
Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
Bob's Famous Sweet Italian Sausage Stuffing
Green Beans with Bacon-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Dinner Rolls
Apple Pie

Lots & Lots of Leftovers!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Our Handsome Boy

Here are some of my favorites from Austin's photo shoot this past Monday.  
This kid keeps getting cuter and cuter everyday.

Thanks again to our good friend Nick Onken for the amazing photos.  
You can see more of Nick's work here.
True talent.