Sugar Cookies and Snickerdoodles

Sugar cookies are one of the simplest cookies you can make. They’re also pretty versatile. You can leave them plain, ice them, turn them into snickerdoodles, or so much more. This week, I’m sharing my favorite sugar cookie recipe. Bonus—they’re not cut-out cookies, so you don’t have to roll them out or waste tough scraps!

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Banana Bread with Macadamia Nuts

We’ve all had banana bread before. But, you’ve never had my banana bread before. Maybe you have, though, and that’s why you’re reading this blog to begin with. Did you meet me at Show Me Your Books KC and try my yummy baked stuff? If so, hello! Get ready for some weirdness.

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Freshly: a meal delivery service

I'm back, bitches! I've had to involuntarily take some time off due to moving and getting settled, but I should be back on track now and have a new blog each week.

Do you want to know the shittiest part about moving? My new kitchen is tiny. I have half as many cabinets and nowhere to put all of my stuff. My counters, stove, and floor were piled with boxes for a couple of weeks while I kept bringing in more boxes and unpacking what I could. But there is no space! I had no room for my various baking dishes, all of my food, or my small appliances. I also only have ONE cabinet under the counter in which I can put pots and pans. One? Seriously? My canning pot lives outside in the storage closet now. I can't see any way that I'll have room to home-can apple butter this year. 

I haven't had room or time to cook anything. And you guys, I fucking hate spending money on fast food. Also, the food is gross. It makes me feel disgusting, groggy, and fat. I also don't want to eat out at a real restaurant every day. So what the fuck is a girl to do? 

Freshly. They send fully cooked, freshly prepared meals in individual servings right to your door. No pots and pans or even plates needed! All you need is a microwave, a knife, and a fork. I know what you're wondering, though... Is it worth it? Maybe...

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New York Dick Steak

I got the greatest thing ever in my last Butcher Box. My New York Strip steaks. Like usual, they were tender, flavorful, and delicious. Unlike usual, one of them was cut slightly wrong so that it was too narrow in the middle. This left me stunned and for a moment, I just stared at this penis-shaped hunk of steak in my kitchen. Then it dawned on me. "Oh my god, they sent me New York dick steak!" I'm sure the neighbors heard me. Who knows what the hell they thought of that. 

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Baklava

Every year for Ramadan, I make baklava for my husband. I'm not Muslim, but he is since he was born in Palestine. I respect his opinions and beliefs, even if I don't share them. Anyway, he loves my baklava. He even told me that it's better than his mother's. And trust me, he's a total mama's boy, so that's a huge deal.

This year, I decided to share my secrets. Are you ready? I hope so, because here we go.

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How to Cut a Watermelon

Summer is upon us, which means cookouts and watermelons! But how the hell can one easily cut a watermelon? Some people just say fuck it and they put out huge, monster-sized slices of watermelon that are bigger than your face. And while that's cute for photos, it's really just an awful way to eat a watermelon. The juice gets all over your face, maybe in your hair, and it drips on your clothes. No one wants to be sticky, right?

I suppose I could think of worse ways, though. You could melon-ball it, thereby bruising it, ruining it's texture, wasting a whole bunch of it, and making it go bad much faster. You could hack at it with a machete, flinging juice and various-sized chunks around the room. You could face-plant into a watermelon half and eat it without using your hands. Sounds kinda fun, actually, but I don't think anyone wants a watermelon seed in their eye.

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Slow-cooker Beef Stroganoff

I found a recipe online several years back for beef stroganoff that sounded easy, so I gave it a shot. It was okay, but it needed more flavor, richness, and tang. Thus began my fucking with it, like I do. I added this and that, found other similar recipes, and incorporated parts of them. It's taken a dozen different versions, but I've finally settled on what I believe is a great recipe for beef stroganoff.

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The Secrets of Janelle's Peanut Butter Brownies

I've made these brownies for years. My husband loves them. My whole family loves them. They are so popular that people at my work have come to expect them anytime we have a food day. (Super Bowl, Fourth of July, Christmas Eve, etc.) People who used to work with me years ago will seek me out and pay me to make my brownies for them. Today, I'm going to teach you my secrets for these brownies that never have leftovers.. 

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Mediterranean Meatloaf

That's not what it's called, but what else should I call it? Kufta? Khufta? Kofta? I don't even know how to spell it in English, but I guess no one else does, either, because I've seen all of these spellings while trying to figure out how to make it. Anyway...my husband has wanted me to make this for four years. For four freaking years, he's grumbled that he wanted me to make him his favorite dish that his mother used to make. Are you fucking kidding me? How daunting is that? To try to replicate her recipe without having it? Without having her show me how to make it I was terrified of it being a disaster. Yeah, he loves my steaks and ginger chicken and fish, but how could I ever meet his expectations for his favorite food?

I put it off for as long as I could, begging for patience, explaining my fear of wasting food. His patience was not infinite. He could not wait for us to be able to afford to either visit his parents or bring them here. Last year, he found a video on YouTube that he wanted me to try to use to make it. Eleven months later, I finally did.

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My Secret Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe

Bestill your racing hearts, folks. I'm really going to do it. Today, I'm going to teach you my secret recipe that I've perfected over the years. It is a nice balance between throwing together pre-made stuff and making it full-on from scratch. People who know me go crazy over this dip, especially my husband. But, it is really cheesy and I don't want his heart to explode, so I only mix up a batch a few times a year. It's better than anything you've ever gotten at a restaurant, grocery store, or deli. Fair warning, though--it's going to take a while, so settle in, strap on, and get ready for one hell of a ride.

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Egg and cheese breakfast bake

Since my overnight oats recipe only makes breakfast for six days, I need something to make on the seventh day, right? I've been making my breakfast bake for years. Before I got married, I used to make it with ham. Now, I make it with turkey or chicken. The cheese remains the same, though. It will always be a creamy, delicious, smoked gruyere. 

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Overnight Oats

So many people skip breakfast. Too many, in fact. We've all heard it a million times--breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But mornings are so hard! Especially if you're like me and you are a night owl. I'm not at all a morning person. I am grumpy, surly, and I'm always running late because it is so hard for me to wake up to an alarm. I barely have time to make coffee, let alone breakfast! That's where my overnight oats come into play.

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Finding Good Pizza in NYC

Every year since I was a debut author, I go to NYC for ThrillerFest. This summer will be my third time. It will also be my first time going entirely alone. Since my husband and I are trying really hard to save money so we can go to Palestine and visit his parents, I've made the difficult choice to go alone. I decided to start planning my trip in the cheapest way possible and figuring out where I'd be eating while on my trip. Last year, my niece and I found this awesome pizza place that had two slices and a can of soda for $6. I couldn't remember the name of it, though. 

Enter--Google Maps.

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I bought an air fryer

We all want to eat healthier, right? But fried foods are just so damned delicious! No one wants to give them up entirely. But what can we do? Technology to the rescue! I'm a night owl, so I'm frequently subjected to infomercials. While under the fog of decision fatigue, hour-long commercials ply their wares to unsuspecting insomniacs across the country. "Look at how fantastic and perfect and easy it all is! Check out this versatility! Recipes! Payment plans! Money back guarantee!"

Damn it. They got me.

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Butcher Box, part four: Organic Chicken Thighs

A person can't live on red meat alone. There must be balance in all things. When we don't find balance, we fall. When it comes to food, we can fall into a rut, cycles of bad health, bad habits, etc etc. So, for a bit of variety, we're going to talk about chicken this week. Tender, juicy, organic, free-range, Butcher Box chicken.

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Butcher Box, part three: SIRLOIN STEAKS!

Remember Kid 'N Play? Did you know Kid is a comedian now? I saw him on that Byron Allen show, Comics Unleashed. He told this joke about how his girlfriend calls herself steak and lobster. She said that when you go to the grocery store, you see Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper, Chicken Helper, but you don't see any Steak Helper or Lobster Helper. Because steak and lobster "don't need no help!" I'm making sirloin steaks this week. Juicy, succulent, beautifully marbled, Butcher Box steaks!

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Butcher Box, part two: Success!

It’s time for week two of my Butcher Box adventures!

Who doesn’t love a big, juicy steak? I don’t know…Vegans, I guess. And don’t get me wrong, veggie people—I love a good salad as much as you do. But, I get anemic and need some red meat from time to time. So, yeah. Not ever gonna be a vegan. You keep being you, though. Because for us meat-loving people, there are things like Butcher Box. After much anticipation and trouble, I have finally gotten a box of beef and chicken that I can cook!

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Butcher Box, part one: the butchered box

What food blog would be complete without meat? I figured if I’m going to do this cooking blog thing right, I need to get some meat. Big, delicious, juicy, mouth-watering meat. This adventure in culinary delights started back in November when I saw a big Cyber Monday sale for Butcher Box. I hopped on board and bought a huge box of steaks and chicken. It’s organic, grass-fed, humanely raised, and all that good stuff. I know happy meat tastes better, so I was eager as hell to try this meat.

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Home Chef vs Hello Fresh

In my meal delivery adventures, I decided to give Home Chef a shot as my second one. Again, I got it at a discounted rate, but then, don’t all of them seem to offer half off for the first week? I got Home Chef deliveries for two weeks this time instead of three. In some ways, it was better than Hello Fresh, but in other ways, it was worse.

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Falksalt Gourmet Mediterranean Sea Salts

Salt is salt. It doesn’t matter what you use to cook, as long as you use it sparingly, right? No, no, no. Wrong. If you have the right salt, the right pepper, and the right oil, you don’t really need much else to season your foods. And let me tell you folks, I found the right salt! Falksalt!

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