Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Yes, yes, yes..its pumpkin flavored everything time! I am ready for pumpkin coffee, pancakes, pies, muffins, ice cream, oh and cheese cake, basically all the pumpkin goodies. Fall is the kickoff to baking season and I have been waiting patiently for the markets to start stocking their shelves. This muffin recipe is simple, flavorful, and immediately screams holiday season. I will admit that one muffin went missing prior to taking photos. Its so hard to wait when they smell so good:)


  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup natural maple syrup or honey
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • pumpkin seeds and oats for topping


Preheat oven to 325 degrees, line muffin tin with paper liners.

Mix all ingredients together, folding oats in last.

With an ice cream scoop measure out 1scoop per liner for a smaller 12 muffin tin and 2 scoops per liner for a 6 muffin tin.

Sprinkle pumpkin seeds and oats on top of each.

Bake for 25min, cool and then eat!!


Gingerbread Loaf with Poached Pears

Hello Fall Baking Season! Woo hoo!! My windows are open and my kitchen smells like warm cinnamon:) When I was in college living in a tiny apartment, my roommate and I would light spice candles. There's just something about those aromas that makes me want to snuggle under a blanket. Now, I actually take the time to bake! I mean, you can't eat candles and gingerbread must be tasted. I'm definitely a newbie when it comes to cooking and baking anything over simple recipes. However, as a photographer I am challenging myself to create more personal dishes to style. My inspiration stems from binge watching "The Great British Baking Show". The breads, cakes, and desserts are mind blowing, not to mention the fabulous subtle British humor:)

Baking a gingerbread loaf with poached pears was a personal first and it turned out pretty darn good. I found it "absolutely scrummy" without a "soggy bottom". Watch the show, seriously its a "spot on" "top bake"!



Poached Pears

~3 bartlett pears

~1 bottle red wine (I used a red table wine)

~1/2 cup organic cane sugar

~1 cup water

~3 cinnamon sticks

~1 vanilla bean

Gingerbread Loaf

~1/2 cup low sugar maple syrup (can substitute molasses)

~2 large eggs

~2/3 cup brown sugar

~1/2 cup vegetable oil

~1 tsp baking powder

~1 tsp baking soda

~1 1/2 Tbsp grated ginger

~1 tsp ground cinnamon

~1 tsp ground nutmeg

~1/4 tsp salt

~2 cups all purpose flour

~2/3 cups vanilla almond milk

Make Pears

Combine all ingredients into medium pot and bring to boil. Then let simmer 15-20 min until pears softened.  Remove pears and set aside.

Make Loaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line loaf pan with parchment paper.

Mix all ingredients together in large mixing bowl.

Place whole pears into loaf pan and spoon batter around them. Bake for 50-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Then place loaf on cooling rack for another 15 minutes.

Dust loaf with powdered sugar to serve. (optional)

*make sure pears are not too large or they will fall through loaf. Option to slice pears into halves and only use 3 half for better firmness of gingerbread.

Happy Fall Baking Friends!!


Easy Vegetarian Pho Noodle Soup

Today was the first cool morning we've had for months here in North Carolina. I woke up to a lovely 65 degree overcast break from the sweltering heat. I loaded the pups into the car and headed to the park for a hike. The nip in the air gave me goosebumps along with a craving for soup. Across the street from the park is my favorite Thai restaurant, solidifying my decision on Pho for lunch. WHY YOU SHOULD TRY VEGETARIAN PHO?

If your a soul lover like me, who loves to pig out, but wants to stay healthy. Than Pho is the best thing ever!

  1. It is super easy to make. The recipe can be adjusted to your taste.
  2. The hot broth soaks up all the spice flavors. You can make it mild or extra spicy.
  3. Its basically like eating soup and pasta all in one!
  4. Good to eat during any season. Ingredients are inexpensive.
  5. You can eat several helpings without feeling guilty, since its less than 300 calories!
  6. Easy to freeze.




6 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 cup sliced shallots

8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp ginger powder

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp rice vinegar (basil and cilantro)

1 tsp ground black pepper

5 fresh basil stems

5 fresh cilantro stems

2 small sliced jalepenos

1/2 cup dried shiitake mushroom [ Worldmarket ]


1 8oz package rice noodles [ Worldmarket has several options]

1 8 oz pkg baked tofu (optional)

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 cups soybean sprouts


  1. BROTH: Place all ingredients into large pot adding 6 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered for an hour. (option to strain broth or keep solids in the soup)
  2. PHO: Boil rice noodles according to package. Drain and rinse under cold water. Serve a portion of noodles into bowl. Ladle the broth onto noodles, topping with sprouts, jalepenos, green onions, cilantro and tofu( if added).







Eating My Way Through Seattle Part 3

My final day in Seattle began with a skinny vanilla chai latte from Starbucks. Since this is where Starbucks originated, I felt like I should pay homage. Sometimes I can really be a tourist...I know. From there we set off to meet some friends for a trip to San Juan Island. The Puget Sound has always been on my bucket list. This being my first trip, I was crossing my fingers to spy an Orca. (I totally cried and fell in love with Free Willy) Flying over the water in a friends helicopter gave me a perfect viewing point for black and white fish. Unfortunately all I saw were seals and birds:( Don't get me wrong, the view is gorgeous and I have a new love for the PNW. Next time I plan to allow more time for whale watching!

Now, onto lunch at the Roche Harbour Marina. Anytime I can be near the water, my soul smiles. Walking through the docked boats while Beaver Planes land in the sound changes your perspective on transportation. With a grumbly belly we found a perfect table overlooking the waterway.



Surprise surprise, I ordered calamari for an appetizer. I don't normally eat a lot of fried foods, but geez these guys were so yummy. I mean it's not that often you get super fresh pacific seafood while relaxing on an island. ( I should visit more islands)


Main course..fish tacos baby!! Fresh fish, slaw with creamy dressing,  topped with salsa/avacado crema. Holy goodness!

fidh tacos-1BLOGO

Full from another fabulous day of seafood and breathtaking scenery, we flew back to the mainland. Seattle, I will definitely be back soon. So many places I have yet to discover and food that needs to be tasted. One dessert I must share with you are the PB&J bon bons at Local 360. Hate I wasn't able to get a photo, but trust me they are fabulous!

So long PNW:)!

Eating My Way Through Seattle (part 2)

Bright and early Wednesday morning I hustled back to the Pike Place Market for fresh fruit and coffee. Snacking on blackberries while sipping on a mocha latte from the Crumpet Shop began my exploration day. By this, I mean walking around shopping and eating of course:) market-1BLOGO

I must say there are a TON of restaurants and stores in the downtown Seattle area! Counting at least 10 Starbucks, I did make it by the original, but the line was too long. Flip flopping my way into several boutiques and purchasing a super cute dress at All Saints, I quickly worked up an appetite. Yes, I said flip flops! (new sneakers for travel on my to do list)

Where to go for lunch? A friendly recommendation led me to Lecosho. This stylish eatery was nestled in the corner of the Harbor Steps. My camera and I sat down at a lovely outdoor patio perfect for relaxing. Everything on the menu was enticing, but I settled on the tuna melt with a side salad. I am not exaggerating when I say 'best tuna melt' I've ever had! Flavor slap in the face!

Tuna Melt~ house-poached albacore tuna, mama lil's mustard pickle relish & gruyere on toasted potato bread






Eating My Way Through Seattle (part 1)

Well the title of this blog pretty much sums it up! Last week I took a four day trip to Seattle with my boyfriend. This being my first visit to the Emerald City and I was super excited to visit the market and taste all the goodies. I love to explore any downtown on foot, so upon arrival off we trekked for a happy hour cocktail/appetizer. After a long flight, all I want to do is eat..don't you?! Now even though I shlepped my camera pack with me everywhere on this trip and have the back muscles to prove it...I didn't get pics of every dish. Mainly due to eating most of it before my camera left the bag..whoops! But, I will share with you all of my yummy adventures. (On my next trip I will be sure to pack flash for indoor shots.)

First stop..the Yard House, hello Happy Hour beer flight and fried calamari! New state with lots of breweries means sipping multiple flavors:) The chosen four were: House Honey Blonde (um honey duh had to!!), Beaver PB, Pauline Hefe-Weizen, and the Alaskan White.  Loved the calamari, big pieces and roasted jalapeño tartar..whoa! Not a drop or a crumb was left.



With full bellies and restless legs we headed to the Pike Place Market to explore.(Check out more Seattle Hot Spots). Everyone has told me to visit the Pike Fish Market to watch them throw the fish while singing sea shanties. If my hotel had a stove or grille, you can bet your butt I would have stocked up on crab legs, rock fish, and shrimp! The good news is that they ship nationwide, score!!

Pike Fish definitely blew me away with their fresh supply and outgoing personalities. These guys know how to charm the crowd:) Its obvious they love their jobs. Next time, I want to catch a fish!!







Snacks and glass of wine!

I love to snack!! Especially on fruit, crackers, and cheese. The hardest part is knowing when to stop:) snacks-2C

Friday night was a perfect low key, chill at home and eat goodies while watching tv kinda night. Being a huge Game of Thrones fan I needed to catch up on last week's episode. Made a quick run to Trader Joe's for essentials, grabbing pears, goat cheese, crackers, and trail mix. If your gonna sit on the couch and stuff your face, its good to try the healthy route.

With two dogs and my awesome boyfriend, we ate, we snuggled, we watched dragons lol

Snack Tray:

Bite size everything crackers

Garlic and Herb goat cheese

Fresh Pear slices

Cranberry, walnut, and pumpkin seed trail mix

Two glasses of Shiraz:)



Simple Garden Fresh Salsa

salsa fresh-5BLOGO Tomato season used to mean sliced tomato sandwiches on white bread, with mayonnaise and a little pepper.  Thankfully I've become a little more daring with my summer veggie creations. After visiting my parents over the weekend, I came home with a bag of vine ripened beauties. There is never a shortage of mexican spices and ingredients in my house. If we run out of tortilla chips, its an emergency!

Grabing some fresh cilantro and a few limes, it's salsa making time baby:)


3 cups chopped garden tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

1 cup chopped white onion

1/4 chopped green chiles or jalepeno

juice of one lime

1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together, can add a little tomato sauce for thickness if your heart desires. I dip with black bean chips and wash it down with an ice cold Corona Light.

salsa fresh-3BLOGO



Brunch at Pinewood Social Nashville

breakfast-1BLOGO I've been super busy over the last week, but don't worry I was still eating! One of my favorite cities to visit and dine is Nashville, TN. I'm pretty confident I could gain twenty pounds in one weekend. Nashville is overflowing with amazing restaurants, its a must stop for any foodie!

Brunch on Sunday with friends is something to never miss. Especially when you are going to Pinewood Social. Coffee to cocktails, delicious meals, bowling and a trendy atmosphere...HELLO..what is there not to love:)

Mocha Lattes are completely irresistible, so I never turn them down. Paired with a salmon toast, including goat cheese and tomatoes, brunch is served. I waited all morning on an empty stomach, just so I had room for everything. Seriously, you must plan these things!




salmon toast-1BLOGO

Ok, so I may have shared a bite or two of toast with my boyfriend. Mostly because then I could try his Reuben Benedict..score! Corned beef, hollandaise, and a poached egg with potato wedges. He is such a sucker for Benedict and potatoes.

salmon toast-2bLOGO

egg toast-1BLOGO

The problem with all this delicious food is that I want everything on the menu. So, next visit it will be chicken & biscuits with gravy and a little bowling:)


Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Bread

When I get into a baking mood, I want to make all the things! Maybe its because a friend turned me on to the Great British Baking Show and I feel inspired. After enjoying the lemon zucchini bread and giving a banana walnut loaf to my dog sitter, the logical next flavor is chocolate. Chocolate with peanut butter is a perfect marriage that no one can dispute. Some dark cacao powder mixed with fresh creamy peanut spread is hard to mess up. Breakfast, dessert, mid day snack, or late night indulgence dipped in a glass of milk. Maybe just dig into the pan with a fork fresh out of the oven:) Whatever floats your boat!

chocolate bread-6CLOGO


1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2/3-3/4 cup organic cane sugar

1/4 cup honey

8 Tbspvanilla  melted butter

3 eggs

3 Tbsp hot water

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 1/2 Tbsp dar cacao powder

1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup fresh peanut butter

(can substitute honey for 4 more Tbsp of butter)


Mix all ingredients (except peanut butter)

Pour into greased bread pan

Level top of batter

Gently spoon small amounts peanut butter on top of batter

Take knife and gently swirl peanut butter, do not go deep into the batter

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min or until center is fully cooked

chocolate bread-7BLOGO

Lemon Zucchini Bread

So..I have awesome neighbors with an adorable box garden:) Living next to like minded foodies is a major plus. Why?..because we share! Anytime I make sweets or a hefty serving too big for two...I mail it to my neighbors. I know you are thinking I'm crazy, but... We all have wild schedules, so in the evening I will leave a tupperware in their mailbox.  Keeps me from pigging out number one, but I also find cooking to be more satisfying when you give it to your friends. Yesterday I received a huge beautiful zucchini ready for culinary creations. With fresh lemons already in the kitchen, their fate was sealed. Lemon Zucchini bread for the win!

**Warning- this is super moist and addictive- do not bake on an empty stomach or you will eat the entire loaf**

lemon bread-1BLOGO


1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 cup organic cane sugar

1 egg

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup shredded zuchini

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp lemon zest


Mix all ingredients in large bowl, folding shredded zucchini in batter last

Bake at 325 for 50 min or until cooked in center

Add a glaze drizzle of lemon juice and powdered sugar with a sprinkle of lemon zest

*Eat a couple of slices and then pass it around to your friends*

lemon bread-4CLOGO




Cooking Classes at Southern Home and Kitchen

KITCHEN-2BLOGO My cooking skills stem from watching my mom, Chopped, and Master Chef with lots of experiments following online recipes. Basically I get a craving, look up lots of ideas then through trial and error end up with something edible. This is why I am better behind the camera than in front of the stove. But, I will say that my culinary/baking skills are improving. I haven't had to many companies or leftovers recently..Yay!!

I do love to eat and have a foodie palate that has me trying everything in sight. Which led me to the doors of Southern Home and Kitchen in Winston Salem, NC.  A delightful kitchen essentials store offering cooking classes.

Last week I had the opportunity to photograph the 'Main Dish Pasta Salads' instruction taught by Chef Michael Hastings. When I arrived, the counter was set for guests and I could smell chicken and pork chops sizzling in an iron skillet. Hello...these are my kinda people:)!


Three different pasta salads were developed, shrimp, pork, and chicken. Each with a unique twist of flavors amongst contrasting noodles. Fresh ingredients of vegetables, peaches, and seasonings had my mouth watering. I had to lower my camera to enjoy the basil aroma that filled the room.


Unfortunately I can't share any recipes with you today, but I can recommend joining a class! The best way to learn is to get started and see what you can do. I learned so much by just watching in between pics. So excited to try my hand at poaching peaches as well as making my own salad dressing..stay tuned this could get interesting!



Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Pancakes-5BLOGO Today I woke up feeling adventurous! No boring cereal or toast for this girl:)

It's a banana and chocolate chip pancake kinda day. I justify my decision based on eating lots of vegetables for dinner last night. Plus making your meal from scratch is always rewarding.


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 Tbsp organic sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla

1/2-2/3 cup mashed bananas

1 egg

dark chocolate chips


Mix all ingredients together except chocolate chips

Set frying pan to medium heat ( add a little coconut oil to lightly grease pan)

3 normal spoonfuls of batter onto middle of pan, making about the size of a coaster

once batter is bubbling sprinkle chocolate chips on top

let them sink then flip pancake

lightly press until pancake is cooked


stack desired number of pancakes onto plate

add sliced bananas and chocolate chips

pour on syrup and dig in!!!!

*no need for butter, BUT a little peanut butter spread is pretty darn tasty:)!!!




Summer Time Watermelon

watermelon-1BLOGO I look forward to cold watermelon all year!

My mother used to slice a small melon into quarters. She would place one for each of us on a tray (either a pizza pan or cookie dish). We would sit on the floor in the kitchen or on the back porch with a big spoon and devour them.

I've never mastered the art of melon balls or perfectly symmetrical slices. Basically I just cut until I can break the rind with my hands. I purchase the seedless variety so I can eat without interruption.

My neighbor growing up always sprinkled his with salt! Which of course I thought was disgusting and a waste of perfectly good watermelon. Sorry if thats your preference, but to me it tastes like pool water.

Corking watermelons for a fruity cocktail is definitely a must do! Also, if you have a Cook Out drive thru close by, the watermelon milkshake during July is heavenly:)

Chocolate Dipped Pineapple

 I have never traveled to Hawaii but I can go their in my kitchen! Pineapple is my favorite fruit and who doesn't like chocolate? Need a fun afternoon snack..here yah go:)
I hope no one is judging my writing or punctuation skills...just stare at the food please.
Cut fresh pineapple into rings, remove core
I dap off some of the juice for easy dipping
Melt chocolate chips on stovetop
Dip or drizzle warm chocolate onto pineapple
Sprinkle coconut and almonds
Place in fridge to chill
YUM!! Fruity, chocolatey, almond crunch and coconut goodness just slaps you in the face:)

Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore" "Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli, that's amore"....
Quite often I feel the need to dance around the house and sing to the dogs as I cook:) So after several verses of 'That's Amore', I am ready to eat pizza!
Simple, flavorful, and delicious!
1 batch pizza dough (soon I will make one from scratch..promise!)..
1/3 cup fig preserves
2 oz. prosciutto torn into pieces
9 oz mozzarella cheese
1 tsp Rosemary
Crushed red pepper
Roll out pizza dough onto lightly floured surface
Place onto baking sheet
Evenly spread thin layer of fig preserves across dough leaving a 3/4 in border for crust
Next, cover fig preserves with mozzarella
Then add pieces of prosciutto
Sprinkle rosemary and red pepper as top layer
Bake at 475 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges of flatbread are crispy!
Grab a slice and dance around your kitchen:)

Lunch at Burger Batch

When a burger craving hits, I start dreaming of melted cheese and juicy beef! There are few menu items  as satisfying as a good burger..just saying. I could really eat any version, no pickiness here:) My recent topping requests are pimento cheese, onions, and bbq sauce. The Burger Batch in downtown Winston Salem has burger and shake enthusiasts lining up out the door. Let's just say this beauty left no crumb behind and I licked my fingers in public!
Did I mention the sweet potato tots?! If you are looking for a place to cheat on your salad with a list of fabulous burgers, tacos, sides, and a cold beer....meet me at Burger Batch!
Next time I will try the Smore Shake!! Stay tuned...:)