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When I was little I looooooved unicorns, but I really just loved anything related to horses. My obsession really revolved around the movie Legend with Tom Cruise where there were these magical white unicorns and the movie the Neverending Story where Atreyu has a amazing white horse named Artax. And pegasus, so pretty much any white horse! Which is still my color of choice for a horse (grey technically). 

So naturally this year I was super excited to have a unicorn frappe when Starbucks came out with them, but I was never able to enjoy one! They were gone before the time I could drive to a faraway town to find a Starbucks. Thus unicorn popsicles were derived!

These popsicles are much different than their distant cousin the unicorn frappe. They are loaded with yummy fruit mixtures and creamy, luscious yogurt. No added sugar, so they are really good for you too! When developing these I asked myself, why would I make these colorful concoctions in a basic popsicle mold when I could probably find one that resembled an actual unicorn horn!

I found these popsicle molds and they worked seamlessly. If you are a little more traditional, I also really love these popsicles molds when I’m making basic popsicles. I made both so you could see the difference! I decorated the unicorn pops with magical white chocolate and sprinkles, but they are just plain perfect without any fancy fixings. 

So if you are feeling magical this #popsicleweek tryout a unicorn popsicle. For even more fun and exciting, summery popsicles head over to Wit & Vinegar here to join in on all the popsicle madness! Happy Summer!

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Unicorn Popsicles
Makes 24 popsicles

INGREDIENTS
Blue Layer
2 frozen bananas 
1/2 c. greek yogurt, vanilla or plain
1 c. frozen pineapple
2 drops blue food coloring
water for blending

Purple Layer
1 frozen banana
1/2 c. greek yogurt, vanilla or plain
1 c. frozen mixed berries
1/2 c. frozen blueberries

Pink Layer
1 frozen banana
1/2 c. greek yogurt, vanilla or plain
1 c. frozen strawberries
1 c. frozen blueberries

Optional 
White Chocolate
Sprinkles

GUIDANCE
For each layer blend all ingredients. Separate each color out into three different bowls. Spoon small amounts of each color into your popsicle mold for the prefect unicorn effect. Freeze for 1 hour, then insert wooden popsicle stick. Freeze 4-6 hours before enjoying! 

*Melt white chocolate and drizzle over popsicles. Sprinkle on sprinkles immediately. Let sit for 20 minutes to harden.

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Overwhelmed seems to be my current word of choice lately. For some reason in the summer I get this feeling that I need to pack in as much fun, action, and tasks as humanly possible. Adding that to moving, remodeling a home and adding an addition has proven to be quite overwhelming.

To combat this feeling, I have been trying to be more mindful. Looking at my phone less and taking time to enjoy things that I enjoy. I know that everything will fall into place with our little house on the prairie, so I need to take a step back and stop worrying.

My worries were eased a few weeks ago because my parents came to visit and they helped us out tremendously on our house projects. When my parents came, they helped us rip out all of the old cabinets in the kitchen, sooooooo I’m happy to say I will be getting a semi-new kitchen! I’m so excited! Aren’t parents just the best! Did you all have a good Father’s Day?

So since this house has been a little overwhelming, what better to detract me than a little cooking time! When I’m cooking my mind is totally focused on the recipe, the flavors, and ensuring that the food looks yummy too.

For Fathers Day this year I wanted to make something a little different than the typical boring old hamburger. I came up with a tasty Chicken Caesar Burger to celebrate Dads! Even though I didn’t get to this post pre-Father’s Day, this recipe will be superb at your next back yard cookout or even just for a weeknight supper!

My whole idea for this stemmed from the thought that the bun should resemble those garlicky-herby crunch that you get from a superb crouton. Crouton Buns flavored with oregano, basil, thyme, and parsley made these hamburger buns delicious. 

A standout Caesar dressing also was a key component to creating this juicy burger. I have to admit I have never made homemade Caesar dressing and I was honestly a little nervous to use anchovies, but those salty fish really make the dressing! I used this recipe here for the dressing. I contemplated making these burgers with hamburger and then adding in some caesar salad flavoring, but making these with ground chicken was really the right way to go. The ground chicken really took on all the tasty flavors. I made the burgers quite large and they were extra juicy.

Slivers of parmesan, crisp romaine lettuce and a grilled chicken burger makes this the meal for your summer table. So in the midst of all this HGTV madness at my house, I hope you are enjoying the summer too! And if you are feeling overwhelmed take a moment and cook something, it just might help you relax!
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Chicken Caesar Salad Burgers

INGREDIENTS
Chicken Burger
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 c. chopped onion
2 T. parmesan cheese
1 T. lemon juice
2 t. parsley flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
salt 
pepper
1/2 c. romaine lettuce
slivers of parmesan cheese
1 recipe for caesar salad dressing, I used this one here

Crouton Hamburger Buns
hamburger buns
1/2 c. olive oil
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried parsley
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. minced garlic

First prepare your chicken burgers. Mix chopped onion, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, parsley flakes, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and ground chicken in a bowl until well combined. Shape into 3 inch patties and season with salt and pepper. Grill chicken patties until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Next prepare crouton hamburger buns. Mix olive oil, herbs, and garlic in a small dish. Use a brush to brush the open face portion of each bun. Broil for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. 

To assemble, smear caesar salad dressing on the top and bottom of the bun. Place chicken patty, crisp romaine lettuce and slivers of parmesan cheese on top of each other. Top with crouton hamburger bun and enjoy!

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My blog is officially 1! I am so excited to celebrate this momentous occasion. When I began this blog it was always my intent to keep it current and I often worried that my desire would just fizzle out and I would have a stagnant webpage out there in cyberspace. Thankfully my passion has fueled my ability to keep cooking!

In the beginnings, working on my blog was my escape and really a distraction from a  difficult experience in my life. Thankfully, writing, photographing and most importantly cooking was the perfect therapy. Working on my blog entwined so many facets of my hobbies and allowed me to share these with others, which was so fulfilling. 

I am looking forward to another year of new recipes, beautiful photos, and inspiring messages. 

On another note. Oh it has been so hot in North Dakota and its sooooo dry. I feel so bad for my poor grass outside, farmers, and ranchers, we need some rain! So in order to quench the thirst I decided I needed a margarita and what better way to kick off summer?

This summer we are purchasing a home and commanding a garage/ family room addition. Pair that with moving all of our stuff, proves to be somewhat of a stressful summer. So these first few weeks before we close on our house I’m taking the opportunity to R-E-L-A-X before life gets crazy. So let’s put this all together:

  1. My blog is 1!
  2. We are buying a house {YAY!}
  3. It’s suuuuuuper hot out and dry 

SOLUTION: Rhubarb Margaritas!!!

My abundance of rhubarb lying around was the perfect syrup for this salty summery margarita and who doesn’t love a margarita while celebrating? First, I cooked the rhubarb with water to extract all of the rhubarb goodness and paired that with a little sugar. I let that mixture meld in the fridge for a few hours. Then mix with tequila and ice and POOF you have a succulent rhubarb margarita to sip on!

Cheers to Cooking is My Therapy and many more years of blogging bliss!

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Rhubarb Margarita

INGREDIENTS
4 c. rhubarb, diced into 1 inch pieces
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
4 c. ice
2/3 c. tequila
lime juice
course salt

GUIDANCE
Place the rhubarb into a saucepan, and pour in the water. Cover, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue simmering until the rhubarb breaks down and releases its juices, about 15 minutes. Strain the juice, and press the pulp to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Discard the pulp, and stir the sugar into the hot juice. Refrigerate the syrup until very cold, at least 4 hours.

To prepare the margaritas, place the ice into a blender, then pour in the tequila and rhubarb syrup. Blend until smooth, or until pureed to your desired consistency. Pour into chilled margarita glasses to serve.




Currently at the moment I am a little obsessed with The Lost Kitchen. I discovered The Lost Kitchen last year in an article in Martha Stewart Living magazine and was captivated by this photo. 

Photo courtesy of Clarkson Potter/Penguin Random House

Isn’t it just stunning? Thus ensued my admiration for the story behind The Lost Kitchen. On the surface is this beautiful historic mill, that alone captivated my interest over and over again. I have a distinct love for all things old. It is my secret dream to restore a historic home or building someday and make it into a bed & breakfast or restaurant of some sort.  But this story goes deeper. When you dive into the layers of grit and determination that owner Erin French persevered through to cultivate her dream of this quaint kitchen, you come to understand it’s magical nature. 

First and foremost, I love the fact that cook Erin French is self taught. My admiration tends to lean towards cooks and bakers of this nature probably due to the fact that I am self taught too. I think with the right amount of willpower, you can learn anything if you set your mind to it. 

I was so excited to get my copy of Erin French’s first cookbook titled The Lost Kitchen. The photos are spectacular and the recipes are even more inspiring. Summer is the perfect time to soak up this cookbook because of its focus on coastal, New England flavors. When I was little I grew up going to Cape Cod every summer, so part of me always craves the ocean air, salty smells and fresh seafood slathered in butter this time of year. This cookbook captures that feeling. 

 The Lost Kitchen spotlights many of the local produce and ingredients from the surrounding areas of Freedom, Maine, which adds a unique sense of culture to the restaurant. I can’t say that I have had the chance to eat at this picturesque restaurant yet (their reservations for the summer book up in hours) so getting the cookbook was the next best thing!

So when my mother-in-law brought me her stash of rhubarb, I knew The Lost Kitchen’s rhubarb spoon cake was the perfect conquest. 

I added strawberries to the spoon cake, because I love rhubarb with strawberries. AND I had these amazing aromatic strawberries glaring at me. They were literally calling my name, so in they went. The rhubarb compote is the star of this cake. Cooking the rhubarb with the sugar and lemon really pulls out the sweetness of the rhubarb. The cake is light and airy and the robust rhubarb flavors truly shine. We enjoyed this cake warm but stored it in the refrigerator to savor cold later. 

Cheers to Erin French and the slow, creeping start to the summer! I hope I can incorporate more New England flavors into my cooking this summer, thanks to my admiration of The Lost Kitchen! Feel free to watch this video to learn more about The Lost Kitchen here.
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Rhubarb-Strawberry Spoon Cake

INGREDIENTS
RHUBARB COMPOTE
3 c. chopped rhubarb (1-inch pieces)
⅔ c. sugar
1 t. grated lemon zest
2 t. fresh lemon juice
2 t. cornstarch

GUIDANCE
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the rhubarb becomes tender and sauce-like, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. This will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

INGREDIENTS
RHUBARB SPOON CAKE
8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2 t. baking powder
½ c. sugar
½ t. salt
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract
½ c. whole milk
¼ c. sour cream
7 strawberries, sliced

GUIDANCE
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, with butter and flour, shaking out any excess flour. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, milk, sour cream, and melted butter. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated.

Pour about two-thirds of the compote into the greased skillet and spread evenly. Pour the cake batter over it, spread evenly, then dollop the remaining compote over the top. Add cut strawberries onto the top. Use a butter knife to swirl together the batter and compote.

Bake until a cake tester or knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. I like to serve this warm, directly from the skillet, with a big spoon and a bowl of whipped cream to dollop on top.

Reprinted from The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine. Copyright © 2017 by Erin French. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Nicole Franzen. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.