Scotchy Scotch Puddin’

I friggin’ love pudding. It’s an indulgent, creamy treat that pretty much goes with anything. The first time I made my own pudding at home I was blown away. It was SO easy and it turned out amazing. I’ve made it countless times since then and it’s something my daughter Lily and I love to create together.


I had to guilt trip her to get her to smile for this picture. Standard procedure.

Also…yesterday was National Butterscotch Pudding Day. It’s so special that they named a day for it. So today, in honor of National Butterscotch Pudding Day, in honor of pudding being a completely different dish across continents, in honor of my sauce pans who were so willing to get dirty again to make another recipe, I have made Butterscotch Pudding. This version of my pudding is super fun because I’m kind of obsessed with making my own caramel, and making butterscotch is very close to the same process.

For this recipe, I made my butterscotch ‘sauce’ and then from there turned it into my pudding by adding the corn starch, milk, and eggs. I also topped it off with some good ol’ whipped cream and some chopped pecans.


This recipe is so, so fun to make and it’s perfect for this time of the year and basically foolproof. With Fall getting closer and closer every day (it will be OFFICIALLY Fall by the end of the week!!!), this pudding can be used for almost anything. You can even add some fun spices to it to make it more seasonal (PUMPKIN SPICE!!!). Seriously. Just have fun with this. It’s very cathartic for me to get in the kitchen and make a recipe like this. It’s all in the process – like therapy. I sincerely hope that you enjoy making this recipe as much as I did and have even more fun digging in!


Ingredients List:

¾ cup butter
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 ½ cups heavy cream (room temperature or warmed)
Heavy pinch of salt
¼ (packed) cup of corn starch
3 eggs
3 cups milk (I used almond – room temperature or warmed)
2 vanilla bean pods
A handful of chopped pecans

For the whipped cream:

1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Begin by melting your butter in a large sauce pan or a Dutch oven. Once melted, add the brown sugar, heavy cream, and salt. Stir with a whisk carefully while sugar melts and mixture turns into a sauce. Allow to bubble and cook down for around 5-6 minutes.
  2. Next, sift the corn starch into a bowl and add the eggs. Mix these two together until combined. Take a cup measure and scoop (carefully!) about a cup of the butterscotch sauce and drizzle slowly into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Once the egg mixture is heated through, add to the pan with the sauce and stir until combined.
  3. Add the milk and the vanilla bean pods (sliced in half) and stir until combined.
  4. Allow mixture to cook on low heat for several minutes until it has visibly thickened. Keep a close eye on the temperature at this point as it will burn and stick to the bottom of the pan if left unattended.
  5. After about 5 minutes, the pudding should be done. Pour into a separate bowl/container using a sieve to strain out any potentially scrambled eggs as well as the vanilla bean pods.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap, keeping the wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming, and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  7. If you’d rather have warm pudding either out of preference or necessity, allow to sit for about 10 minutes to finish cooling and thickening, then use as you wish.
  8. While pudding is cooling/chilling, use a small bowl to add the ingredients for the whipped cream. Using a hand mixer, mix on high speed for about 2 minutes or until it’s thick and creamy.
  9. To serve, scoop as many large spoonfuls as you want into a bowl/cup/plate/fingers, add a dollop or twenty of whipped cream, and sprinkle with pecans. Don’t leave these out – they add an incredible texture and flavor to the final treat. Enjoy!


One a penny, Two a penny

I cannot believe it has been 17 years since that horrible day in New York City. It feels like it just happened. I just want to use my little corner of the internet to reach out and send prayers and love to the families directly impacted by that morbid incident. It did not even feel like real life happening, watching the coverage on the TV.

I still remember where I was. I was in sixth grade. JEB Stuart middle school, here in Jacksonville FL. I was actually late to my home-room class that day. I walked in late expecting to have my teacher pick on me or bring attention to it. Instead, I walked in and everyone was separated in their own cliques, talking in hushed voices and looking at the TV in the upper corner of the room every so often. Our teacher was in the back of the classroom at her desk talking with two other teachers and she seemed really stressed out. I figured we were just going to have a chill day, so I slid into my desk and put my stuff down and kept to myself like I usually did.

I could hear the TV so I glanced up at it and saw a news station was on, showing coverage of these buildings with smoke and flames billowing out. I actually thought it was a movie or something and didn’t pay much attention to it. It took a few minutes for me to actually realize it was real-time and it was happening in our country. I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do. As a sixth grader, you still don’t really know what to do with all that emotion and confusion. I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel about it. I didn’t know if I was supposed to talk about it or not. It was such a foggy day after that point. I remember coming home and my mom just giving us all hugs and comforting us. Everyone was shook.

I don’t mean to have such a ‘down’ post for today but I haven’t talked about that day in so long. I felt like I needed to speak that today. Take today to hug on everyone you care about. You never know what moment will be your last on this earth. Enjoy every bit of it and suck up all the love and affection you can from those you love. 💕

Moving on to this recipe for my cookbook. Today is actually the National Day in recognition of Hot Cross Buns. If you don’t know much about them, they are a spiced bread roll with either raisins or currants in them and they are ‘decorated’ or adorned with a cross on the top. This is kind of a sweet recipe to post for today, if you are spiritual at all. There are superstitions surrounding this bun, ranging from the bun having medicinal qualities – you feed a bun to someone who is sick and they recover quickly – to protecting your kitchen from fire or any bread recipes not turning out right. I hope you make this recipe and I hope it brings you all good things for the next year. Be sure to replace the bun each year. 🍀


How to make Hot Cross Buns:

Note: adapted from the recipe at Foodness Gracious. Follow him here: 

I started off by adding all the first 10 ingredients from the ingredients list into my stand mixer bowl. Mr. Paul Hollywood would be dumbfounded if he saw me using just plain old all-purpose flour for this bread recipe. I stirred it together to get the raisins mixed in real good with the flour. Next time I make this recipe, I will be leaving the raisins out of this step and putting them in after the kneading is done as I ended up mashing some of them up real good in the kneading process. Sorry raisins!


I used more butter than the original recipe I adapted from and used less milk. The reason for this is that I am using almond milk which has less fat in it than dairy milk. I wanted to use more fat from the butter as a liquid here. So add your butter and milk to a saucepan and heat until the butter melts and the mixture is just warm enough to where you can put your finger in and leave for several seconds without it burning.

Add the vanilla extract to your beaten eggs. Pour your butter mixture into your mixing bowl, then add the eggs. Mix with a dough hook for about 10 minutes. You’re going to want to watch for the mixture to get stretchy and pull away from the sides of the bowl. It will start to form a ball on the dough hook.

Grab a separate bowl and grease it up with some olive oil. Set aside.


Flour a counter-top liberally, then dump your dough out onto it. Work the dough for several minutes until it forms a soft ball, with silky skin. This will take several minutes depending on how wet your dough is, which is a result of the climate where you live. You may need to add more flour if the mixture is too wet. Place the ball of dough in your oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Leave to rise and double in size for about an hour and a half.


Butter a dish for the buns. I used a 9X13 glass casserole dish and it worked wonderfully.


When you come back to your dough, it should be double the size, at least, that it was before. Turn back out onto your floured surface and punch the air out of it. Fold it a few times until you get the silky consistency again. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll them into balls.



Place the balls into the casserole dish and cover loosely with the plastic wrap again. They will need to be left alone for another hour or two, until they have doubled again in size and are all touching and snuggling in the pan. Preheat your oven to 385° F



When the balls of dough are just about ready to go in the oven, go ahead and put all your ingredients in a bowl for the cross mixture. Mix it up until the flour and sugar and water and salt are one. Put it into a piping bag or a plastic bag of sorts and snip off the end.



You want to have the long side of the pan facing you so that you can see 4 buns horizontally in rows of 3. Start on the top row and pipe the flour mixture in a straight line down the middle of the first row of buns, making sure you are drawing (drawing??) the line horizontally. Do the same thing for the next 2 rows. Then turn the pan 90 degrees so the short side is facing you and the pan is ‘vertical’, if that makes sense. You will have 3 buns horizontal now in rows of 4. Follow the same pattern by starting on the top row and pipe the mixture in a straight line down the middle of the buns so that you can see a cross on each bun.


Pop the buns in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.


When there was about 10 minutes left on the buns, I made the syrupy glaze mixture by combining the sugar and water in a sauce pan and stirring them together over high heat until they came to a boil. I let it boil for about 3 minutes until some of the water evaporated and the syrup got a little thick. Take it off the heat and add the vanilla extract. Use a food safe brush to apply the syrup liberally all over the tops of the buns as soon as they come out of the oven. I think next time I do these I will use a jam or something similar to cook down with water for the glaze. I felt this glaze was a bit boring and I wanted something more exciting. Still turned out beautiful and delicious though.


My husband is a fan of the oatmeal raisin cookies and I don’t make them for him very often. He went pretty crazy over these buns. He tried them warm with softened butter on top. He tried them on their own with no toppings. He used some leftover cream cheese buttercream I had in the fridge right in the middle of the bun. He tried many things and he could not find a way to NOT eat these. He actually made the statement that I need to make them all the time. So there you have it. They’re delicious and they’ll get you the praise you’ve been dying to get and they’ll also keep your family from being ill. Give it a try and let me know if you and/or your family felt the same way. Enjoy!



5 cups All-Purpose (AP) flour
1 ½ tbsp yeast
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp salt
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup golden raisins
6 tbsp butter
1 cup almond milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the cross:
¾ cup flour
1 ½ tbsp sugar
½ cup water
Pinch of salt

For the Glaze:
½ cup water
3 tbsp Sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

  1. Begin by adding the flour, yeast, sugar, spices, salt, and raisins to a mixing bowl. Mix together slightly to combine.
  2. Add your butter and milk to a saucepan and warm them through until you can put your finger in the mixture and it’s warm but doesn’t burn you – 5 minutes or less.
  3. Pour the butter/milk mixture into the mixing bowl and add the eggs as well. Mix with a dough hook in your mixing bowl for about 10 minutes, or until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and begins to form a ball. Grease a large bowl with olive oil and set aside
  4. Flour a clean countertop liberally and dump the dough on to the countertop. Work the dough on the counter by kneading it until it all comes together with a soft, smooth skin
  5. When it feels silky, put it in the oiled bowl and wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Leave for 1 ½ hours to proof until doubled in size. Butter your desired dish for the buns (I used a 9X13 glass casserole dish)
  6. Once doubled, turn out onto a floured surface again and punch the air out of the dough. Turn it a couple of times until it feels silky again and then portion the dough out into 12 equal portions. Roll the portions into balls and place in the buttered dish. Cover loosely with the plastic wrap and leave for another 2 hours or so. Preheat your oven to 385° F
  7. When the dough is ready to go in the oven, prepare the mixture for the cross by combining in a small bowl and whisking together until the flour and sugar is all dissolved into the water. Put in a Ziploc bag or piping bag and snip the end off. Pipe the mixture first horizontally across the buns and then turn the pan and pipe again until you have crosses on each bun.
  8. Place on the middle oven rack and bake for 25 minutes.
  9. When there is about 10 minutes left on your buns, prepare the glaze. Add the water and sugar to a sauce pan and whisk on high heat until it comes to a boil. Allow to boil for about 3 minutes. Take off the heat and add the vanilla extract.
  10. Apply the glaze liberally with a food safe brush on the buns as soon as they come out of the oven. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then dig in.

Sheppy Sheppy Pie Pie

Happy “I Love Food” Day!! Did you know today was the National “I Love
Food” Day? Actually, September is also National Chicken, Mushroom, Potato, and Rice month. In honor of this, and also to celebrate today as “I Love Food” Day, I have created the ultimate Shepherd’s pie in casserole form, family style. Not only does this shepherd’s pie include the four items listed previously, but it includes a large assortment of my favorite veggies to give a much needed protein boost as well as different flavors and textures that will make you shout ‘I LOVE FOOD’ before the day is over. Perhaps.


I have to admit something. My family is sick of Shepherd’s pie. My sisters,
that is. My hubby and babies can’t get enough of it, and my parents seem to
still love it. Apparently, I have made it every single time we’ve had a family
get together for like, ever. So I’ve been trying to cool it with the shepherd’s
pies. Until today.

This is actually the first time I have made my shepherd’s pie with rice in it.
And let me also admit that my version of shepherd’s pie is a loose
interpretation of the original. The traditional version usually has brown
gravy draped over the top. I happen to not really enjoy brown gravy all over
the top of mine. It mostly has to do with the flavor of the brown gravy
interrupting all of the other flavors I worked so hard on in the actual meal
itself. Trust me – you won’t miss it. The general idea of the shepherd’s pie is
there though – a hodgepodge of all leftover ingredients you have in your
fridge/pantry to feed the hungry bellies in your home. I don’t think I have
ever made any one Shepherd’s pie the same.

My family also really enjoys a layer of cheddar cheese on top of the mashed
potatoes. They’re so American. For this recipe, I opted for shredded
parmesan cheese on top. It gets lovely and crispy on top of the mash and is
the perfect salty bite. I like to have all of the recipe ingredients ready and
mostly cooked by the time I get them in the pan so that it only takes about a
half hour in the oven to get everything warm and cozy together in the dish.
I am so happy with how this particular pie turned out and can’t wait for my
next adventure in Shepherd’s-Pie-making.

This beauty told me the mushrooms looked like bugs on top…She really knows how to compliment me. Screenshot_20180909-143755

She also cannot abide mushrooms.



These are the ingredients I started out with.
To make this Shepherd’s Pie, you’ll start by toasting the rice. Add the butter and chopped onion to a pan and saute for a couple of minutes before adding the rinsed brown rice.


Toast the rice in the pan for about 5 minutes before adding the water, reducing the heat, and simmering for 25-35 minutes.

While the rice cooks, work on your potatoes. I used the VERY LARGE jumbo baking potatoes and it only took 4 of them for this recipe. Dice them into decent sized chunks so they’ll cook evenly and quickly.


After you get the potatoes on to boil, get the chicken put in a pot with water to boil.


Then go ahead and work on the mushrooms. I just added them all to a bowl and put the seasonings and oil in altogether. Once it was stirred good enough, I just spread them out on a sheet pan with parchment paper and roasted them at 400° for about 10-12 minutes. OMG they were so yummy.
This is the mushrooms before:

This is the mushrooms after:

I wish I had made more. Oh well.

While the rice, potatoes, and mushrooms are cooking, go ahead and put all your veggies and your cream of mushroom soup in to a mixing bowl and add your seasonings as well.


Once the chicken is about halfway cooked, remove from the pot and dice into cubes. The rice should be done by now too and you can add both the chicken and the rice to this same mixing bowl.


Just in case you were wondering – Yes, I am aware how close this bowl is to falling off the side of this counter. It’s all good though. Nothing fell.

Once everything is mixed together fairly well, dump into a large casserole dish. Then put your mashed potatoes together and cover the top with them. Adorn the top of the mashed taters with your mushrooms and then add the shredded parm, if interested.


Bake at 350° for about 30-40 minutes, then allow to cool for 10 before serving. See below for the ingredients list and full recipe instructions. Enjoy!!

How to make my Shepherd’s Pie:


  • For the Rice:
    • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed and drained
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 3 tbsp butter
    • 2 cups water
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • For the Potatoes:
    • 4 large jumbo baking potatoes
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 stick softened butter
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 4 oz cream cheese
    • Reserved water from boiling pot
    • Shredded Parmesan Cheese, to top
  • For the Chicken:
    • 3 chicken breasts
    • water to cover
    • Salt to taste
  • For the Mushrooms:
    • Small package of pre-sliced baby bella mushrooms
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • For the Veggies:
    • 2 cans of Lima Beans
    • 2 cans of Sweet Peas
    • 1 can French style Green Beans
    • 1 can Italian style Green Beans
    • 1 can regular cut Green Beans
    • 2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  1. Begin by cooking the rice. Measure out 1 cup of brown rice and rinse thoroughly in a sieve. Set aside and allow to drain. Add 3 Tbsp of butter to a medium skillet. Chop half an onion and add to the butter. Saute the onions for a minute or two until softened. Add the rice and toast for approximately 5 minutes until bits of color begin to show on the rice. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Then cover with a lid, reduce the temperature to low, and allow to cook for 25-35 minutes.
  2. While the rice is cooking, prepare a large boiling pot by filling halfway with water and set on the stove. Peel 4 LARGE jumbo baking potatoes and dice, then add to the water. Add your desired amount of salt and boil until fork tender.
  3. While the rice and potatoes are cooking, preheat your oven to 400° and add the mushrooms to a bowl. Add olive oil, salt, and other spices and mix thoroughly. Spread out on a baking sheet prepared with parchment paper. When your oven is ready, put the mushrooms in and roast for about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Boil 2 chicken breasts until cooked through. Allow to cool and then dice into cubes, set aside.
  5. Open all the vegetable cans and drain. Put them in a bowl and add your cream of mushroom soup. Stir thoroughly. Once the chicken and rice have cooked through, add them to the bowl and mix.
  6. Once the potatoes are fork tender, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and add to a mixing bowl. Add your butter, sour cream, and cream cheese. Mash until desired consistency. Add any additional salt and pepper to your taste. Add water from boiling pot as needed to loosen up the mixture.
  7. Once all the elements are prepared, pick out your favorite casserole dish to add the ingredients to.
  8. Begin by scooping the rice/chicken/veggie mixture into the bottom of the casserole dish. Top it off by adding the mashed potatoes on top of that. Put the mushrooms on top of the potatoes and sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese, to taste.
  9. Lower the oven temperature to 350° and put your casserole on the middle shelf. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the cheese has toasted and the pie is bubbling on the sides.
  10. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve. Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Oat-Nut Cookies

Have you ever been so much in the mood for something sweet and chewy and soft to sink your teeth into and not been able to find something to satisfy your craving? I have. Matter of fact, I was in just such a mood when I created these little angels.


Aren’t they beautiful? So perfectly golden brown and chewy. A slight crunch from the pecans and the tooth feel of the oats adds the perfect texture to these babies. Can you see how ooey gooey (ewey gooey??) they are inside? So chewy and perfect. The cream cheese keeps the cookies so moist and soft while the brown sugar turns them into a golden token of smokey sweet deliciousness. You get what I’m saying.

Don’t ever let yourself get to this point of craving a magical bite and NOT have them in your home. Make these and keep them stocked in your cookie jar (do people still use cookie jars? It seems so unsanitary to me). They are the perfect solution to your sweet tooth craving.

Make them. Make them now. You’re welcome.

Here’s your cast:


You’re going to need softened butter, softened cream cheese, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, eggs, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, rolled oats, and pecans.

If you like to be ultra prepared, begin by combining your flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a sifter first and setting aside.


Then, put your sugars in your mixer



along with your softened butter, cream cheese, and salt (I’ve read other recipes for sweet treats that always incorporate the salt in the dry ingredients. I don’t like to do it this way. I like to add it with the wet ingredients so that I know it is getting incorporated better. How do you prefer to do that?)


Then you turn the mixer on to a low setting and let the mixture cream together for a few minutes til it gets super creamy and homogeneous.

Have your perfect and beautiful 5-year old daughter (or if you’re short one daughter just do it yourself) crack your eggs into a separate bowl. Once the butter and sugar mixture is really creamy, add the eggs one at a time leaving enough in between for it to combine with the batter.


She did a perfect job, didn’t she? Not a single shell in there 🙂

Here she is putting the first egg in


See how beautiful and creamy the sugars and butter are in there?


Let that egg get good and incorporated and then drop in the final egg



Such a beautiful sight.


Now you just need to start adding in the dry ingredients a little at a time. And try not to make too big a mess, will ya?


Mmmmm…..I eat it like this all the time…I don’t even care about the raw eggs. Don’t even try to judge me, I know everyone does it.

Add in the yummy oats


Next, chop up your pecans into the size you prefer in your cookies. Nuts seem to be such a controversial subject when it comes to cookies. Personally, I have a hard time falling in love with a cookie without them. The crunch and flavor they give is absolutely perfect I just can’t imagine a cookie without them. Still…I’ve never turned down any cookies, regardless of whether there were nuts or not. 😉


I used Ree Drummond’s knife for this task. I love this knife!!

Now just add these babies to the delicious cookie dough and fold them in


Ohmagawd doesn’t that just make you weak in the knees?

Now, if you’re a working mother with a full time job and dinner to cook and a house to clean and babies to bathe and laundry to fold, you can just tuck this delicious mixture into some classy tupperware and keep it safe in the fridge overnight until you have found the time to bake them.


Nighty night delicious cookie dough…sleep tight


I can’t wait to eat you…

If you are free and clear and have all the time in the world, please feel free to stick ’em in the oven right away.


Child labor at its finest. Faster, Lily, get those cookies in the oven NOW!


We used a fairly small sized ice cream scoop to get a uniform shape with all the cookies on the cookie sheets


I think my cookie sheet has seen better days. Probably the day before it arrived on my doorstep.


Leave ’em spaced a couple of inches apart to allow for some spreading.

Wow. Just wow.


I like to let them cool on these racks so they flatten down to their final, beautiful shape


Now, depending on how much raw cookie dough is consumed secretly from the tupperware in the fridge before they are divvied up on the cookie sheets, you should end up with around 40 cookies from this recipe. Be sure to share the love. Karma will bite you back if you don’t. 😉 Enjoy!!!

Here’s the exact measurements for the recipe:


1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
4 oz (1/2 package) softened cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift together your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg) and set aside. Crack your eggs into a separate bowl while it mixes.
  3. Add the butter, cream cheese, sugars, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium speed for about two minutes until completely combined and creamy.
  4. Turn the mixer down to the lowest speed and add the eggs, one at a time, until combined.
  5. Scrape down the bowl and add half of the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until combined, then add the other half of the dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl again.
  6. Add the oats and pecans and fold in with a spatula.
  7. Use a small scoop to place tablespoon sized mounds onto the baking sheets. Bake at 350° F for 10-12 minutes, depending on preference of ‘done-ness’. Allow to cool for several minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!!