Winter Madeleines | Recipe


Madeleines are probably my favorite treat to bake.  All it takes is a few basic baking ingredients and a $10-ish madeleine pan to make a lovely cake-like cookie.

I regularly make lemon (my personal favorite), pumpkin spice, blueberry and honey madeleines but I was looking for something a bit more festive for Christmas when I found an image of deep red madeleines while scrolling on Pinterest.  Swoon.

Looks like winter, tastes like summer.
(I started thinking of the song Drops of Jupiter after I typed that because of the line “She acts like summer and walks like rain” and so I had to look up who did it.  It was a band called Train.  I didn’t realize they’re still making music.  Do you guys remember that show Behind the Music on VH1?  Hmm, this makes two posts in a row where I’ve mentioned something VH1 related.  Weird.  I don’t even think they play music anymore.)

Wait, where was I?
Rosemary and strawberry blended together in the middle of winter?  
Yes, please!

Living in the deep South means I can wear shorts on a Monday in December and have a forecast for snow on Friday because we’re ridiculous like that.  Since Georgia actually received some snow fall this week (not my area, thankfully) and I’m puttering around the kitchen in wool socks now, it felt like a great time to use up some strawberries we froze this summer and remember the scorching 90+ degree heat and humidity.

These cookies are beautiful, delicious with a unique flavor thanks to the rosemary simmered in butter, and you can dress them up several different ways!


Rosemary & Strawberry Madeleines
from A CupCake For Love

(makes 24)


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10-15 drops of red food coloring (optional, just add if you want the dark red)


  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.
  2. Add rosemary and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn off stove and remove pan from heat, letting rosemary butter rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Using a blender, puree the frozen strawberries until thick.
  5. In the bowl of your mixer, add the eggs and sugar; blend on low until foamy.
  6. In a separate bowl, stir flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  7. Add strawberry puree to the egg mix.
  8. Add the flour mix to the wet mixture and stir until just combined.
  9. Pour your melted butter through a strainer into the mixing bowl.  (You want the strainer to catch all of the chopped rosemary so it doesn’t get in your batter.)
  10. Optional:  Add food coloring a few drops at a time, stirring between for your desired red.
  11. Put your batter into the fridge for 20 minutes and preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you’re waiting.
  12. Fill each madeleine mold 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
  13. Cool for a few minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack.
  14. Once madeleines are cool, you can add icing/glaze and/or powdered sugar to dress them up.







Oh Snap! Gingerbread Cookies | Recipe

As Andy Williams croons, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
I had to look up who sings that song because I just assume every Christmas song on the radio is sung by Bing Crosby.  Or that one Mariah Carey did in the early 90’s that will apparently never go away.

There was also that time Bing Crosby and David Bowie sang Little Drummer Boy together.  I have the VH1 channel of my childhood to thank for introducing me to that gem.

So, Christmas= lots of baking.  We usually make sugar cookies and lather them in icing and sprinkles but this year I thought it’d be fun to try gingerbread cookies.


The biggest issue folks seem to have is finding cookie recipes that won’t spread out when they bake.  If I’m making cookies without a shape then I don’t really mind; if one cookie comes out the size of three, I can still say I only ate one cookie so there’s less guilt.  That’s my pro baking tip of the month.
But when you’re working with cute cookie cutters the worst thing is pulling your cookies from the oven only to discover they have oozed into some unidentifiable shape.

I tested three recipes and did some tweaking to create this recipe and I can assure you that these cookies will hold their shape beautifully!  The only problem you’ll have is making sure the legs don’t snap off when you remove them from the cookie sheet or while decorating…  which is how I came up with the name Oh Snap! Gingerbread Cookies.


Oh Snap! Gingerbread Cookies
(you’ll get about 24  gingerbread folks but that’ll change depending on size/shape of your cutter choices)


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and whisk the first five ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Using a mixer, cream together the butter and and brown sugar in a separate bowl.
  3. Add the egg and mix.
  4. Add molasses, vanilla, and lemon extract (the extract is just an extra flavor touch but not necessary).  Mix until incorporated.
  5. Pour your flour mixture from step 1 slowly into the mixing bowl until dough forms.
  6. Roll dough out on wax paper (or a floured surface) to 1/4″ or 1/2″ thickness.
  7. Use your cookie cutters to create the desired shapes; carefully peeling and placing them on greased cookie sheets.
  8. Bake 9 minutes at 375 degrees.
  9. Transfer cookies (carefully, unless you’re going for the snapped limbs on your gingerbread people) to a wire rack to cool before decorating.
I love a golden brown cookie.
Some cookies did not make it off the cookie sheet with all limbs intact.



Any time I photograph food there’s guaranteed to be a photo on the memory card of my daughter’s blurry hand darting into the frame.
Here’s my decorated Oh Snap Gingerbread Dude.  I’m a minimalist when it comes to cookie decorating.  Maybe one day I’ll get fancy.
My favorite Christmas cookie tin of Norman Rockwell’s “The Discovery.”  It gave me the idea to recreate the scene with my daughter this year!
My painterly photo of Haven, inspired by Norman Rockwell.


Pumpkin Latte Streusel Muffins | Recipe


I guess it was around five years ago that the pumpkin spice craze began.  Fall came and with it that year (and every year since):  leggings, oversized sweaters and every food and drink item known to man suddenly flavored with pumpkin.  Each fall the world suddenly has a sixth Spice Girl.

While pumpkin pie is a traditional Thanksgiving dessert, my husband won’t eat pie.  Any kind of pie.
The weirdo.
Just kidding.
(But seriously, what a weirdo.)

What I’m trying to say is that if I make a pumpkin pie and I’m the only one in the house who will eat it, then I will eat it.
All of it.
In one sitting.

Since this is the season of pumpkin flavored everything, I have plenty of options to include it in our Thanksgiving meal.
My brainstorming led me to remember some amazing blueberry muffins with a streusel topping a friend of mine gave me the recipe for last summer after Haven and I picked a ridiculous amount of blueberries, then while looking at waffle recipes (because we finally added a waffle iron to our kitchen appliances!) I found a recipe for pumpkin chai waffles and that made me think of a chai latte.
Then it hit me:  why not put pumpkin and a chai latte into a muffin and top it with streusel?

I  used the base for my sweet friend’s muffin recipe, added pumpkin puree with chai spices and topped it with a traditional streusel to create a Thanksgiving breakfast or after dinner dessert.



Pumpkin Latte Streusel Muffins
makes 12 muffins


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (vegetable/canola oil will be just fine also!)

Chai spice mix:

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • tiny pinch of black pepper

Streusel topping:

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups all purpose flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray your muffin pan with cooking spray before adding the muffin liners.
  2. In your mixing bowl, lightly whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg, milk, vanilla, and oil.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together all the spices for your chai spice mix, then add the flour, brown sugar and baking soda and stir together.
  4. Add your bowl of dry ingredients to the mixing bowl of wet ingredients.  Set your mixer to stir (or the lowest setting) until just combined.
  5. Using a teaspoon, scoop the batter into the muffin liners, filling each about half full.
  6. Make your streusel topping by mixing together the butter, sugars, and cinnamon until sugar begins to dissolve.  Add flour a cup at a time and stir until you get a dry paste (like the consistency of wet sand).
  7. Add streusel topping to the top of each muffin.  Make sure you get lots of crumbs to cover the batter of each completely.
  8. Place muffin pan in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.
  9. Muffins are done when you stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean.
  10. I chose to pop mine back in the oven under the broiler for 1 minute to give the tops a nice golden/dark brown coloring.  Totally up to you if you want to do that.  If you choose to, make sure it goes no longer than a minute or you will have some burned muffins!

Store leftovers in an airtight container and re-heat muffins for 10 – 12 seconds in the microwave.

This tea towel is amazing, right?  I started collecting them and now they don’t fit in the tiny kitchen drawer designated for kitchen cloths/towels and my husband may think I have a problem.  He’ll probably still build me a special cubby for them because he’s an enabler though.


Do you like my well-loved muffin pan?  I bought 2 muffin pans about 9 years ago and I still have them.  Some people don’t like how dirty/stained they get over time…
but it makes me feel legit, like I bake lot and know what I’m doing.
Can you really trust someone whose muffin pans are spotless?


Hocus Pocus | Spellbook Brownies Recipe

Halloween is a two month long celebration around here!  We start in September to get the maximum enjoyment out of it.  Halloween movies are in heavy rotation around the house:  Monster House and The Adventures of Ichabod for the kiddo; Rear Window and Beetlejuice for me.  Also, did you know Once Bitten is on Hulu?  That made my week when I noticed it in the line up recently!

My daughter Haven discovered how amazing Hocus Pocus is last year so we had fun working on a craft for it this year.  While scouring the internet for crafty ideas, I came across Half Baked Harvest’s recipe for Spellbook Brownies and I knew immediately they had to be made.

We ended up making this silhouette of the Sanderson sisters on card stock and using a frame from Dollar Tree.  These are plastic frames but I love the shape/design so much I bought up all they had in the store that day (because you can feel rich when shopping in Dollar Tree; make it rain with those dollar bills!) and I may have went back and purchased more when they restocked.  Don’t judge me.  Please.


Twist the bones
and bend the back
Trim him of
his baby fat
Give him fur,
black as black
Just. Like. This…

So it took about 10 minutes to complete our Hocus Pocus silhouette.  I have to keep crafts short and sweet since Haven’s attention span is still lacking and everything becomes “sooooo boring” after 5 minutes.

One thing she will be somewhat patient for is sweet stuff.  Especially chocolate.  And when I told her this brownie recipe called for chocolate brownies dipped in melted chocolate, I had her undivided attention.


The candy eyes are what make these brownies!  I found the candy eyes and a 2 pack of black food writer markers (for drawing eyelashes) at Wal-Mart and I’m pretty sure I spent under $4 total.


  • If you don’t have black food dye or activated charcoal on hand for the frosting, you can use 10 drops each of blue, red, and yellow food dye mixed together (though it will dry to more of a gray color).  It would work in a pinch if you’re not patient enough to wait for a trip to the store.

  • If you don’t have coconut oil, vegetable or canola oil would work just as well!

  • I skipped the instant coffee granules and the taste was still incredible, so just know you can choose to skip that ingredient if you’re not into coffee (I’m not going to judge you) or don’t have any available.

  • I found a 16 ounce microwavable tray of semi sweet chocolate in the baking aisle of Wal-Mart that was perfect for melting.  One less dirty dish in the kitchen and what you don’t use on the recipe can be placed in the refrigerator for later!


I let my daughter help make the icing and decorate the brownies with it so mine aren’t quite as lovely as those created by Half Baked Harvest but the taste is phenomenal and the theme is still obvious.
This is truly an excellent recipe with straightforward directions that even people unsure about their baking skills can pull off without a hitch.
You can find the link to this Half Baked Harvest recipe at the bottom of this post!



Come little children,
I’ll take thee away,
Into a land of enchantment.

Come little children,
The time’s come to play,
Here in my garden of magic.


Oh look,
another glorious morning.
Makes me sick!


I put a spell on you
and now you’re mine…


You can find the recipe here at the Half Baked Harvest blog!

And while we’re discussing Halloween, here’s the annual Halloween photo I created for my daughter, inspired by Ray Bradbury’s books The Halloween Tree and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

“And if it’s around October twentieth and everything smoky-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bed-sheets around corners.”

-Ray Bradbury



Apple Butter Spice Loaves | Recipe

Since I posted this apple butter recipe I’ve used the last couple years, I’ve had several friends ask:  “The apple butter sounds great… but what can I do with it?”

I’m the type of person that’s happy to to eat apple butter straight out of the jar with a spoon or spread it on a piece of toast as a quick snack, though I have found several other awesome ways to use it in the last few years!

  1. Apple Butter Pancakes.  You can add apple butter into your pancake batter OR you can put the apple butter on top of your pancakes in place of (or in addition to!) syrup.  I’ve tried it both ways and they both rock.
  2. Apple Butter Pork Chops.  Sounds crazy, right?  I beg to differ!  Follow that link to see what I did.  (Shocker:  My hubby actually ate it and liked it!)
  3. Apple Butter Snickerdoodles!  You can add about 1/2 cup of apple butter to any snicker doodle recipe to give it some extra “umph”.  You know what I’m talking about!  …Right?
  4. Apple Butter BBQ Meatballs or Ribs.  Sounds crazy just like the pork chops.  Honestly though, apple butter is excellent mixed with your favorite BBQ sauces.  It adds a subtle additional flavor to mix things up a bit.
  5. Apple Butter Spice Cake/Bread.  I found a recipe last year for a spice cake that included apple butter and made a mental note to try to create a new recipe using my mini loaf pan.


Apple Butter Spice Loaves
(makes 8 mini loaves or 1- 9×5 loaf)


  • 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (*see my note below if you don’t have buttermilk)
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1.5 cups apple butter

    *Note:  If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tsp white vinegar to 1/2 cup of whole milk and let it set for 5 minutes.  Works like a charm!


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray your mini loaf or 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs and buttermilk  and stir until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and all the spices.
  5. Add half the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until it begins to come together.  Add the rest of the flour mixture and the apple butter, mixing until combined.
  6. Pour batter into your loaf pan.  (If using mini loaf pan, fill each about half to 3/4 full.)
  7. Bake 40 minutes if using a mini loaf pan.  Bake 60 minutes if using a 9×5 loaf pan.



A friend told me she plans to can apple butter and give out jars as part of Christmas gifts this year and I love the idea!  I think these mini loaves would also be a wonderful gift idea; you can package them in a variety of ways and include a jar of apple butter to smother on top!



Jack Skellington Blueberry Pie | Recipe

I love all things Halloween, including Jack Skellington.  I also like pie.  A lot.

So when I saw this photo floating around the web, I thought it was worth risking a Pinterest fail to recreate.

Using my favorite double pie crust recipe (it’s crazy easy), I created my own version of Jack Skellington pie using this blueberry pie filling from Dinner with Julie.

I’m one of those people who forget to pre-heat the oven so I took this photo while I waited.

Double pie crust recipe

You’ll need an 8 inch pie pan and some wax paper


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup whole milk


  1. Whisk flour and salt together in a bowl and create a well in the center.
  2. Pour the vegetable oil and milk in the well, stirring everything together.
  3. Once dough comes together, knead gently on a sheet of wax paper.
  4. Divide dough in to two parts.
  5. Roll one piece of dough out between two sheets of wax paper.  Since we’re using an 8 inch pie pan in this recipe, roll the dough out about 10 inches (always give an extra 2 inches so it can climb the sides of the pan).
  6. Remove top sheet of wax paper and flip the dough in to your pie pan using the bottom sheet of wax paper.
  7. Pour in the pie filling (seeing filling recipe below).
  8. Roll out the second piece of dough between two sheets of wax paper then remove top piece.
  9. Use a knife to cut out your Jack Skellington face.
  10. Pick up using the wax paper and flip on top of the pie filling.
  11. Trim excess edges around the pie pan and seal gently using the tines of a fork.
  12. Bake in the pre-heated 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes (until the crust is a nice golden brown).


Blueberry Pie Filling recipe from Dinner with Julie


  • 4 cups frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces


  1. Combine all ingredients except butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a simmer and stir often, cooking until mixture thickens and blueberries start to bubble.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
  4. Place in 8 inch prepared pie pan.



I took these random photos with my phone while making the pie because it didn’t occur to me until afterward that this could be a fun blog post to share.








Autumn Apple Picking | Apple Butter Recipe

You may remember our visit last year to Justus Orchard.  We picked apples, gorged on apple cider donuts, and I gave you an apple crisp recipe!

This year was our third annual visit to Justus Orchard in Hendersonville, North Carolina and it was a foggy morning on the mountain.  We picked a couple baskets of Mutsu and Gala apples, had an awesome BBQ lunch from the Good to the Bone food truck on site, purchased a 7 lb mountain cabbage, two dozen apple cider donuts (yep, they are THAT good), a gallon of apple cider, and a fried apple hand pie for the road!




I made apple butter for the first time last year and it was a huge success thanks to Ronni Lundy’s suggestions in her cookbook, Victuals.

I plan on keeping my pantry stocked with apple butter again this year (we’re on the last jar of our 2016 batch so we visited just in time!) so I thought I’d share how I make it!

We’ll start by peeling, coring, and slicing up 5-6 lbs of apples.  That’s enough to fill a 6 qt slow cooker to the top!  (I used Galas with a few Mutsu apples tossed in)

This is a quick process if you’ve got an apple peeler.  Trust me when I say it’s worth the $20!


Once you have your apple slices in the slow cooker, cook on high uncovered for one hour.

After the hour is up, place the lid on your slow cooker and turn to low for 10 hours.

I do this at night so my apples will cook while I sleep.


When I wake up, my apples have cooked down to this brown mush.


Now it’s time to add our fixins (as we say in the South).  I add two and half cups sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  I stir it up, crank the slow cooker back up to high and cook covered for one more hour.


Now I add 3 tablespoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”) and stir it in before I use a potato masher to blend everything into a velvety butter.

If you don’t want to can your apple butter for the pantry, you can put the butter in sterilized jars and store them in the fridge up to 8 weeks.

Since mine will be going in the pantry, I sterilized mason jars and filled them up.  I placed the jars in my pressure canner and filled with water up to the jar rings.


I processed the jars for 20 minutes.

Pardon the dirrrrty stove top.  We fried catfish before canning (’cause we needed our strength, of course) and it was delicious.

I removed them from the canner, let the jars cool and waited for the sweet music of the lids popping (that lets me know they sealed) before writing the process date on the lid and adding them to the pantry.

There’s not much better at the beginning of October than a plate of scrambled eggs and a side of toast smothered in apple butter.


Here’s the recipe:

Apple Butter
(adapted from Ronni Lundy’s The Art of Apple Butter)
makes 5 pints


  • 5-6 lbs apples (enough to fill a 6 qt slow cooker slap full); peeled, cored, sliced
  • 2 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”)


  1. Peel, core, and slice your apples to fill a 6 qt slow cooker (allllll the way to the top because they will lose about a 1/3 of their volume after step 2).  Turn slow cooker on high and cook uncovered for 1 hour.
  2. Place lid on slow cooker and turn temp to low.  Let the apples cook down for 10 hours.
  3. Add sugar, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt.  Give everything a good stir and then place lid back on and turn slow cooker back on high for 1 hour.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar and stir it in before using a potato masher to blend the butter into a velvety texture.
  5. Now you have two options:  You can choose to skip canning the butter and simply place it in sterilized jars in your refrigerator for up to 8 weeks, or you can process your sterilized jars of butter in a pressure canner for 20 minutes and keep them in your pantry to enjoy over time.

Feel free to play with the ingredient amounts to suit your taste!



Dandelion Pesto

Dandelions are everywhere, just like honeysuckle every spring!

We keep a small patch of dandelions in our back yard for the bees each year (and if we’re being honest, you can never completely rid your yard of them anyway).
People spend a lot of money to maintain grass:  by watering it, cutting it, and buying bottles of weed killer.
We let the rain water our grass, we mow and give the clippings to the chickens for foraging/entertainment, add some to the compost bin, and if there are weeds that are beneficial to the bees we leave some for them.

I learned as a young girl that dandelions are multi-purpose; the first being dandelion wine (thanks to the Ray Bradbury novel of the same name), salve/lip balm, and in recent years as food: dandelion jelly, which I made last year and cookies made from the yellow flower, and even pesto from the leaves.  Every part of the dandelion is edible and research shows there are benefits to eating these weeds.

Most people may picture hippies foraging in the forest and spending countless hours making “free range organic” health food.  I’m here to tell you this was a simple 20 minute project from start to finish.  I didn’t have to leave my house, wear patchouli oil, or devote a day to making food from scratch.  Wearing a tie dye shirt is optional.


Dandelions are easy to spot though they closely resemble catsear.  If you want to make sure you’re picking dandelions, pull up the plant by the root and look for a milky white excretion from the stalk.  Also, the leaves will be pointy ended and smooth, unlike catsear which will be fuzzy.



My daughter and I made the journey to the back yard (every outing is a journey with a three year old!) last week to gather two cups of dandelion leaves to make pesto, which was a quick process.
If you plan to pick some for yourself, please pick from an area that you are 100% sure hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals.


After we gathered our greens, we brought them inside and gave them a thorough wash.


I gave the batch a light rinse and then picked through looking for pieces of dirt/debris to remove.  I gave it a good spray and sifted through again to double check.

Next, I collected my ingredients for pesto.  It’s like making traditional pesto with basil, except you’re replacing the herb (basil) with a weed (dandelion green).


I placed about a third of my dandelion greens in my food processor with the olive oil and let it chop down for half a minute.  I added the remainder of the greens until it was all finely chopped.

Next the garlic cloves, pine nuts, salt, and Parmesan cheese were added in with the greens and processed until smooth and creamy.


This batch made enough to fill two jelly jars.  It will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week so I left one jar in the fridge and placed the other in the freezer for a later date.


Dandelion Pesto

  • 2 cups dandelion greens, washed well
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 2oz  pine nuts
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded
  1. After greens have been washed thoroughly, place a third in a food processor with the olive oil and process for around 30 seconds.
  2. Add remaining greens and process until finely chopped.
  3. Add garlic, pine nuts, sea salt, and Parmesan cheese and process until smooth and creamy.
  4. Transfer to jars.  Refrigerate up to one week; freeze for up to 3 months.

This recipe can be used in place of traditional basil pesto.  Enjoy on a warm crusty baguette, mixed with tomatoes, topped with spinach and artichokes, or as a pizza sauce base.


I used a pint size jar of marinara sauce we canned last summer mixed with a third of the dandelion pesto as my base sauce for this pizza.  It’s topped with grilled chicken, Vidalia onion, olives, and kale.  Spinach and artichokes would also be excellent toppings for this pizza!



Honeysuckle Syrup

It’s April, which means Masters week (a big golf tournament in Augusta) is over, the tourists are gone, our garden has been planted, and honeysuckle is everywhere…

Along the garden fence to attract the bees.
The smell is incredible.  Takes me right back to childhood when I lived in a neighborhood and all of us kids would take our little sips of honey off the vine in front of the mean old lady’s house.  Every neighborhood has a resident “mean old lady”, right?
On my walk to the rain barrel.
Climbing the trees around the blackberry patch.  Literally, it’s EVERYWHERE.

I love everything about it:  the scent, the fact that is attracts the bees which pollinate our garden and take it back to hives to make honey, not to mention its beauty.  It’s also super invasive so we spend time hacking a lot down at the end of the season to prevent it overtaking everything.  We’re not really winning that battle but I’m certainly not mad!

It takes me right back to spring and summer during my childhood and I think every Southern girl wishes we could bottle up the scent and the taste fresh off the vine.

Last year I made this honeysuckle breeze cake  for my dad-in-law’s birthday and enjoyed that rich sweet taste baked in to the cake.

No caption, just drool.

This year, I decided to and bottle up that taste for our sweet tea by making a simple syrup!

A simple syrup is exactly that:  a simple mix of sugar dissolved in water to create a syrup.  You can add certain elements to the sugar water to give it a unique flavor; in this case it’s honeysuckle.

My husband’s reaction after trying it in his sweet tea for the first time: “It tastes just like it smells!”

That basically means it tastes like summertime in Heaven, y’all.


I started by collecting two cups loosely packed honeysuckle blossoms, making sure the green stem at the bottom was removed (it can create a bitter taste) and brushing off excess dirt.


Once that was done, I brought 1 1/3 cups sugar and 1 cup water to a boil, stirring until the sugar was completely dissolved.

I packed the honeysuckle down in to a pint mason jar and poured the hot sugar water over the blossoms.

Once the jar reached room temperature, I placed it in the refrigerator for 8 hours to let the blossoms flavor the water.


Next, I placed a strainer over top of a clean pint mason jar and poured the syrup in to the new jar, discarding the dirt/debris and honeysuckle blossoms.


We’re left with this lovely jar of honeysuckle syrup!  You can cover and refrigerate for a couple of weeks – if it lasts that long!  I use around 3 teaspoons of syrup for a pint jar full of sweet tea but you can play with the amount until you get the flavor you want.

You could also use this syrup in a batter to add the flavor to pancakes, madeleines, or sweet breads.



Honeysuckle Syrup

  • 2 cups honeysuckle blossoms, greenery removed
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  1. Pick your honeysuckle; remove green stems and shake off dirt.
  2. Boil your sugar and water; stirring until sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Pour the hot sugar water over the packed honeysuckle in a pint mason jar and bring to room temperature.
  4. Place covered jar in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
  5. Pour contents through a strainer in to a clean pint mason jar, discarding blossoms and debris.
  6. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.


Chicken & Dumplings

I first heard about Biscuit Love in the current edition of Garden & Gun magazine.  Owned and operated by husband and wife Karl and Sarah Worley in Nashville, this food truck operation turned restaurant serves locally sourced from scratch food.  After hearing descriptions of the dishes (seriously, just look at that menu online!) I’m ready for a road trip specifically to dine there!
You may think that I’m joking but my family takes food very seriously.  We drove 7 hours to Townsend, TN just to eat at Smokin’ Joe’s Bar-B-Que. Okay, so yeah, we may have also visited Cade’s Cove and Clingman’s Dome while we were there but the entire premise of that trip was the BBQ.

After processing our first batch of chickens, I knew the first dish I wanted to make was chicken and dumplings.  My family already has a killer recipe for the creamiest slow cooked chicken and dumplings you’ll ever taste in your entire life, but I’m kind of obsessed with Ronni Lundy’s cookbook Victuals so I had to take a peek at her recipe!

Coincidentally, the recipe in her book is from none other than Biscuit Love’s Karl Worley.  When something so coincidental happens, I feel like it’s meant to be and so I set out to have a little of Karl Worley’s cooking in my kitchen rather than road tripping several hours with a toddler because I’m adventurous but not completely insane (…yet).

Karl’s recipe gives directions on roasting a whole chicken and making your own chicken stock from the reserved bones.  While I did this since I had a freshly processed chicken available, let’s operate under the assumption you’re coming home from work and want this dinner on your table like, now.  If that’s the case, ain’t nobody got time for roasting a chicken and making your chicken stock.  So let’s just say we go to the local grocery store deli and pick up a nice rotisserie chicken for around $7.00 and call it a day.


We’ll start this recipe by making the sauce:


Mix up your butter and oil in the skillet and add carrots, garlic, and bay leaves once melted.  You’ll cook it until the vegetables are soft.  Next we’ll add in flour, continuously stirring to really coat the vegetables and remove starchy flavor.

We’ll pour in our chicken stock a cup at a time, stirring well.

(I had to take a photo of my chicken stock.  This is from my first canned batch and I’m so proud of it.)

We’ll reduce the heat and let it simmer until it thickens up (about 15 minutes).  We’ll stir in our heavy cream last and set this pot aside.


Next up is our dumpling dough (my favorite part!):


In a large bowl, we sift our flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pepper.  Use your fingers to work in the lard (or bacon fat) until your mixture is crumbly.  Stir in the cream until the dough just comes together.  It should be thick and stick well to your spoon.

Next we’re going to divide our sauce and shredded chickens equally between two wide pots and bring them both to a simmer.  Drop spoonfuls of dumpling dough into the pots and be sure to leave plenty of room for them to expand so they don’t end up sticking together.


Reduce your heat to medium low and cover while the dumplings poach for about 10 minutes.  You’ll want them firmed up but fluffy.




Karl Worley’s Roasted Chicken & Dumplings (serves 6)


  • 1 whole chicken (roasted at 375 degrees on rack in a roasting pan for an hour then shredded once cool OR a precooked rotisserie chicken from your grocery store, shredded)

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken stock (from the grocery store is perfectly acceptable but I’ll be posting a super easy recipe to make your own soon!)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt

Heat a wide pot over medium heat.  Add butter and oil.  Once butter is melted, add carrot, garlic, and bay leaves.  Cook until soft.  Stir in flour to coat vegetables; keep mixing for a couple minutes to remove starchy flavor.  Slowly pour in chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well.  Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is thickened up, about 15 minutes.  Stir in heavy cream and salt to taste then set pot aside while you make the dumpling dough.

For the dumpling dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lard (or bacon fat if you happen to keep yours)
  • 2/3 to 1 1/3 cups heavy cream

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pepper.  Using your fingers, work lard (or bacon fat) into dough until crumbly.  Stir in heavy cream slowly until the dough comes together.  Dough will be thick, sticking to your spoon.


  1. Follow instructions to roast your bird or shred your rotisserie chicken.
  2. Make your sauce.
  3. Make your dumpling dough.
  4. Divide sauce and shredded chicken between two pots.
  5. Bring pots to a simmer.
  6. Add dumpling dough by the spoonful to each pot, making sure they are not crowded.
  7. Cook at medium-low heat, covered, for about 10 minutes, until dumplings are firm and fluffy.
  8. Serve immediately.