we love hummus around here. the kids love anything dip. sour cream, ranch, salsa, frosting its all dip to them. i love that it gets the kids to eat their vegetables. hummus is one of those dips that is actually healthy while being delicious. this is our absolute favorite recipe. i don’t buy hummus from the store anymore, this one is so easy and tastes way better. jack was my big helper. ignore that he’s in his undies. keeping clothes on him is difficult these days. i’m really going to miss cooking in this kitchen when we move. the kitchens in seattle are tiny!













1 can garbanzo beans, drained

3 Tbsp. tahini

juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp. cayenne (we likes ours to have a kick. use less if you don’t like it spicy)

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 c. olive oil

combine all ingredients except olive oil in food processor for 20 seconds. while the processor is running drizzle in olive oil. serve with warm pita bread + veggies.




ava has really taken an interest in cooking. she especially loves it when i let her make a recipe all by herself. she recently learned how to use the stove and is very cautious. we have gas so i explained to her that she has to keep her hair + clothes away from the open flame. i’m so proud of the young lady she is becoming. my mom did such a good job of teaching us how to cook + clean. if you read this post then you know we started at a young age. i feel i would be doing ava a disservice if i didn’t teach her all the things i want her to know before i send her off into the real world. she doesn’t have near the amount of chores i did but she is starting to cook, clean and sew. she helps me out so much and i enjoy these teachable moments. hands on is the best way for her to learn. so the other day when she asked me if she could make something i new this salad would be perfect for her. its easy and really delicious.









strawberry spinach salad

1 bag spinach

1/2 pint strawberries, sliced

1/8 red onion, sliced thin

1/2 c. sliced almonds

1 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. sugar

put spinach, sliced strawberries and onion in a bowl. in a sauce pan on low-med heat cook almonds + butter + sugar until almonds are browned, careful not to burn them. when they are browned pour them onto wax paper to cool. once cooled break almonds into pieces and add to salad. feta would be great on here too. add dressing right before serving.


1/4 c. vegetable oil

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

this dressing is great for all different salads. this recipe makes a lot and it stores well in the pantry. i like to keep it on hand and use it in place of tradition ranch or italian.





i woke up this morning with jack while everyone else slept in. i really love that quiet time in the morning when its just the two of us or even better yet if i’m the only one up and can have a peaceful moment to prepare myself for the day. luckily its sunday, we don’t have church until 12:30 so we can all be a little lazy. i decided to make a blueberry crumble with the berries i needed to use up in the fridge. i sort of threw this together and it turned out really good.


blueberry crumb cake

3/4 c. white sugar

1/4 c. butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. flour

1/2 c. milk


cream together sugar + butter + egg + vanilla in a mixer

in a separate bowl combine flour + baking powder + salt

alternate pouring dry ingredients and milk into mixer

stir in blueberries by hand


crumb topping

combine with a fork

1/4 c. butter, softened

bake in a 9×9 pan on 375 for 30 minutes or until done

(i doubled the topping because you can never have too much topping)




we love bbq-ing.  especially when the weather is so nice like it is right now.  i don’t know what is going on in az right now but i like it.  we try to spend as much time outside as we can before it really starts to heat up.  if you’ve been over for a bbq then you know ivan really is the best.  he is constantly getting asked if he has a restaurant and why not?  i asked him to share a bbq recipe and some tips he has learned along the way.


prepare your meat the night before so it has time to marinade.

you can use whatever seasoning or spices you like. he typically does a wet rub on the meat.

wet rub recipe:

apple cider vinegar

olive oil

brown sugar

garlic salt

montreal steak seasoning

apple cider vinegar

olive oil


cocoa (dash)

tony chachere’s original creole seasoning

coat the meat with oil and vinegar then add the dry ingredients on all sides.  place in a bag, remove as much air from the bag as you can.  store overnight in the fridge.

in the morning he will start up the smoker.  he prefers to use a mix of mesquite and pecan wood, mostly pecan.  he smokes the meat for 3-4 hours at around 225, then places it in a deep pan and covers with foil and bakes it in the oven at 270 for another 3-4 hours depending on how tender you want it.


a few of his favorite cuts of meat are


cross rib roast- for shredded beef



pork shoulder- for pulled pork sandwiches

st. louis ribs

and of course his amazing bbq sauce completes the meat.  i couldn’t get him to share the recipe,  but come on over and grab a jar.  he’s always willing to make extra.






i had this dish in san fransisco over 8 years ago and instantly fell in love with it.  its so simple yet so delicious.  i like to pair it with a simple salad and bread + olive oil.



3 large tomatoes

1 log of mozzarella diced (or container of small round ball mozzarella cut in half) or brie with wax cut off

1/2 package fresh basil cut into strips

2 garlic cloves

1 package of angel hair or spaghetti (i love angel hair my husband doesn’t so we use spaghetti)

1/2 c. or more olive oil

salt + pepper


boil noodles according to package


in a bowl combine

diced tomatoes

basil cut into strips

finely minced garlic

salt + pepper

brie (if using mozzarella i like to mix all the ingredients including warm noodles then add the mozzarella last, it doesn’t melt as well as the brie does)


pour hot noodles over the top of tomato mixture

pour olive oil on top and combine

serve warm









tarts glorious tarts!  these are a favorite around here.  they’re so simple yet look so pretty that i whip a batch up almost every time i’m asked to bring a dessert.






4 sticks of butter (melted)

4 c. flour

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar


combine ingredients in a bowl

roll into balls and place in tart pan (make balls about the size of a bouncy ball)

then press down with a tart tamper (you can find one on amazon)




3 8oz cream cheese (softened)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 c. lemon juice


beat together and refrigerate filling for a few hours


fill tarts with filling and top with one comstock cherry (pie filling)

then try to not eat the whole pan.  i dare ya!







german pancakes are super easy to make and really delicious.  i love being able to make them all at once so i can sit at the table with the kids rather than stand at the stove flipping pancakes.  our family loves these.






12 eggs

1/2 c. butter

2 c. flour

2 c. milk

1/4 tsp. salt


preheat oven to 375


dice 1/4 c. butter and distribute into 2 muffin pans (i like to use large muffin pans but regular size will work too)

heat the pans in the oven and melt the butter until bubbling (do not skip this step)


in a blender combine eggs + flour + 1/4 c. melted butter + milk + 1/4 tsp. salt


pour batter into hot muffin pans and cook for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.


top with powdered sugar + a squeeze of lemon + my favorite buttermilk syrup found here









we typically do a movie night every friday.  we like to make a big production of it with popcorn + treats + a new or favorite movie.  one of our favorite treats is caramel popcorn.  this recipe is really good.  i know it might sound s little strange with the cinnamon bears and walnuts but i promise its amazing!  give it a try.


mix together in a large bowl


3 bags cooked popcorn

3 c. mini marshmallow

1  1/2 c. cinnamon bears, cut in small pieces (sometimes i leave them whole)

2 c. chopped walnuts


on the stove combine

2 sticks butter

1 1/3 c. sugar

1/2 c. karo syrup

boil for 3 minutes then add

1 tsp. vanilla

pour sauce over mixture and stir quickly




grimaldi’s is one of our favorite pizza places.  the crust is thin the sauce is simple and the cheese is fresh.  everything about their pizza is delicious.  this is another one of those places we went to 11 years ago when we lived in phoenix.  their scottsdale location was 10 minutes from our house.  grimaldis started in brooklyn.  i havent actually eaten at the one in dumbo.  when we walked by the line was so long and i thought not worth waiting when ive got one back home 5 minutes away.  ivan is really really good at recreating recipes.  his grandma’s even better.  leave it up to him to put together a recipe that i think tastes identical to grimaldis.  the kids love to get involved with dinner prep and this recipe is perfect for just that.

grimaldis pizza


1 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. cold water
1 tsp. salt
3 c. flour (king arthur)
1 package fresh mozzarella thinly sliced
1/2 c. crushed tomatoes (i prefer pomi or cento brand)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 leaves fresh basil
place yeast into warm water, let stand for 5 minutes.  add salt and cold water then stir in flour a cup at a time. knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth usually takes around 10 minutes. cut into two pieces and form into a ball.  place dough in a sealed container and place in refrigerator over night.  do not skip this part.  the dough will rise so make sure you leave room to grow.

remove dough and sprinkle with flour and stretch until it is around 12-15 inches (the thinner the better).





preheat the oven to 550 F. place the dough on a pizza stone that has been dusted with flour.  add sauce + slices of mozzarella.  sprinkle black pepper and oregano, place basil leaves on the pizza and drizzle with olive oil.  we like to add pepperonis, you can add whatever toppings you like.  bake in oven for 5-7 minutes (the oven will be very hot so it cooks very quickly) or until crust is brown. enjoy.


Grimaldis pizza

feta dip


i love this as an alternative to traditional bruschetta.  its a quick easy lunch or the perfect snack or appetizer.  i found this recipe years ago on pinterest.  i tried to source it and my best guess is it came from clover lane but im not positive.  wherever it came from its a keeper.




3 tomatoes

1 small bunch of green onions

olive oil

block of feta, crumbled

3 tsp cavenders all purpose greek seasoning

loaf of bread, i prefer french


dice up your tomatoes and onions, layer on a tray

cover with olive oil

crumble feta over the top and sprinkle with 3 tsp of cavenders

dip your bread in and enjoy!







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