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Tuesday, November 26, 2013


You can't have cornbread stuffing without cornbread!

I made a batch of this last week in preparation for some cornbread stuffing I plan to make Thursday morning for Thanksgiving dinner.  

I doubled the recipe because one I had the ingredients and two I have an enormous cast iron skillet - so I knew it could handle it.  

I was really impressed how amazing this turned out!  Who needs gluten?  

I'll be posting my stuffing recipe later this week (sorry it will probably be a little late for Thanksgiving, next year!!)

Gluten Free Cornbread (cast iron skillet style)
ingredients: (for one batch)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup gluten free flour (Trader Joe's or Domata)
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup whole milk (don't sub this)
1 egg
1/4 cup shortening (melted)
2 tablespoons butter

Combine all the ingredients together (except the butter) in a large mixing bowl.  Don't over mix (no need for a mixer, just use a good old wooden spoon just until everything is combined.  

On the stove heat up the cast iron skillet and melt the 2 tablespoons of butter.  Let the butter sizzle and get just slightly brown.  Pour the batter into the hot skillet!  Don't be afraid, it might splatter and sizzle like crazy but that's what makes it so good!  It needs to sit on the stove for 2 to 3 minutes.

Then into a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on it.  Ovens are all different and you just never know with gluten free flour.  It should be golden brown on the edges and completely set on top.  You can use a knife to check for doneness in the center just like a cake.

The cast iron skillet will be insanely hot so be careful.  Let sit for a bit to cool - then eat immediately with maple syrup - yum!! 

Or serve with chili soup!

Or potato soup!

Or bacon!

Or pot roast! 

Or corned beef!!  OMG is it st. patrick's day yet?

Or let cool completely and save for stuffing!  

I cut mine into squares and threw them into a freezer bag.  Then this evening I'm going to set them out on a pan to dry out over night so I can make my stuffing.  


Monday, November 25, 2013

Mushroom & Goat Cheese Frittata

Frittatas are the best!  It's really simple:

6 to 7 whole eggs plus a splash of cream (maybe 2 tablespoons)

and the filling.

Then bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until set.

That's it. 

You can make ANY kind of frittata you want - whatever's in the fridge.  

Here's how I made the mushroom and goat cheese version::
I used half of a very small onion, finely chopped.

And a package of baby bella mushrooms - which I chopped up into small pieces.  Remember - mushrooms cook way down to about half their size so if it seems like a lot at first - don't worry!

I sautéed them in medium sized pan that is able to go in the oven (this is a one pot dish!).  Just using a little olive oil - NO salt at this point, it makes the mushrooms weird.

Once it's starting to cook down - add a tablespoon or so of butter, for no other reason than it tastes good.

Add in 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic.

Deglaze the pan with a splash or two of red wine.  (meaning turn the heat up on the stove for a minute or so and pour in the red wine - it should sizzle up and all the yumminess on the bottom of the pan will let loose).

Add in a package of spinach - again this will wilt down to almost nothing so feel free to use quite a bit.  I used almost an entire package.

At this point - sample for flavor.  Add salt & pepper if needed.

Prepare your egg mixture.  6 to 7 whole eggs plus a little cream (or whatever milk you have on hand - I've even used almond milk before).  Best tip:  it's worth it to get out the mixer and really beat the heck out of the eggs so they're nice and fluffy!

With the pan still hot and on the stove (maybe on medium to medium low) - pour the egg mixture into the middle of the pan and it will spread out evenly.  

Let it sit on the stove for 3-5 minutes.  This is actually cooking the bottom of the omelet.  Frittata actually means italian baked omelet - and personally it's way easier than making quiche or a perfect french omelet.  These are definitely my favorite.

While it's sitting on the stove - add the crumbled goat cheese.  Just dot it over the top.  I used about 4 oz total from a Trader Joe's goat cheese log.  Then sprinkle just a little grated parm on top - I like the saltiness and it browns nicely.  I finished it with just a little fresh thyme because I had it on hand.

Then into a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.  I just watch it - you can tell when it puffs up and the top just starts to get all brown and golden!

See the difference?  Just a little golden brown.

This dish is so great because it keeps and travels really well.  My pan has a lid which is handy so I can bake and take this anywhere.  It's also a fantastic brunch dish because it's just as good cold as piping hot out of the oven.  It should slide right out of the pan and can easily be presented on a beautiful platter or it's just a great served straight from the pan!

I hope you enjoy this!  Would be fantastic for brunch on Friday after Thanksgiving :)

Always, J

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Friday!

Whew!!  This week has gone fast!

Happy Friday everyone :)

I'm linking up with Lauren today as usual, man it feels good to be back to regular blogging :)

one:: My friend Cass and I have gotten to spend some time together lately and I'm loving it!  We tailgated and cheered on the Huskers last Saturday…during an unusually warm weather game for November in Nebraska (of course this morning there's snow on the ground!).

two:: Obviously this made me week.  Check out the full post here.

three:: Being so busy has definitely slowed down my reading lately but I did manage to find this gem.  I'm absolutely in love with this love story.  Have you read it?  You should.  I'm actually enjoying my fiction reading challenge!

four:: You can't have cornbread stuffing with out cornbread!  I'll have this recipe posted on Monday - so easy and delicious.  I'm very ready for Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday!!).

five:: Things are slowly coming together in my office (the main reason I moved).  I love having this space to add structure to my day, keep organized, and still make it a creative space.  My job is so amazing and I get so caught up in the experience that I usually forget to take photos along the way… but after seeing that I only had a couple photos for this week I decided I need to make a more concentrated effort to capture my new life! 

I hope you had a wonderful week!

Always, J

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Candied Pecans & Spiced Nuts

Here are two awesome nut recipes for holiday gifting or entertaining!

*I bought all my nuts at Trader Joes - so that's the size packaging I'm referring too…

Combine in a bowl:
1 package 1/2-salt roasted cashews
1 package whole walnuts
1 package whole pecan halves
1 cup salted-roasted whole almonds (use more if you really like almonds)
1 cup pumpkin seeds**

For the dressing: (whisk or shake together in a jar)
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice - plus the zest of the orange
Use 4 teaspoons of spices :: cumin and garam masala (indian) OR cumin and chipotle seasoning OR chili powder OR whatever other combination you think would be great.
4 tablespoons fresh rosemary (finely chopped - no stems)
Fresh ground pepper

Mix all the nuts together.  Then toss in the dressing until all the nuts are well covered.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two sheet pans by lightly coating them in oil.  Pour the nuts into an even layer on the pans and roast for 25-35 minutes until they smell delicious, have soaked up most of the dressing, and start to brown slightly.  Remove them at least twice during roasting to toss them around for evenness.

Pour onto parchment paper in a single layer immediately to cool.  Give them a taste and see how the salt level is… sprinkle with additional salt before they cool completely if needed. The nuts must be absolutely cooled and dried before packaging them up in boxes or jars.  Store in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

In a small sauce pan - heat over medium:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamon
*This recipe is easily doubled - I actually made a triple batch last time.

Pour mixture over 1 - 8oz package of pecans and toss to coat.  Roast in the oven at 350 degrees in a single layer on an oiled pan for 15-20 minutes.  Toss at least once during the roasting time to ensure even cooking.  

Remove from oven and cool in a single layer on a piece of parchment paper.  Once completely cooled and dried - package for eating or delivery!  These should keep about 2 weeks in an air tight container.

I always said I didn't like pecans before…I guess I've never had candied ones… these were so delicious I had a hard time getting them out the door and gifting them!!  

Either of these recipes are easy to make and are absolutely delicious.  Packaging is easy - I just used mason jars that I had left over from canning season and I did buy a couple larger jars recently at hobby lobby.  A little ribbon and some decorative tags - good to go!  Anyone would love receiving these.

I hope you enjoy!!


*I just want to apologize right now for the terrible photos that you are experiencing and will experience for awhile going forward.  I've moved and haven't adjusted to the new light very well and of course it also gets dark about 4:45 pm here which makes things even trickier.  I'll get this whole photoshop thing figured out again!! I've also been switching back and forth between cameras trying to figure out which works best - so please bear with me!  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Pioneer Woman

She was in Omaha yesterday!!!!

I have never in my life stood in line for anything.  BUT this was worth every second :)

I've developed a pretty strong obsession with the Pioneer Woman over the last year or so as I've started blogging more and working on my photography - she is such an inspiration to me!!  And now I can say I've met her, yes met her.  We actually had a conversation about food blogging!  

I was heading towards Baker's (where the book signing was being hosted) honestly not knowing what to expect.  I was about an hour and a half early and was kind of expecting to be first in line and maybe having some time to waste…

I was quite wrong.  This is the line just a few minutes after I secured my spot!  And it got much much much longer…doubling back past us and across the entire store front!  

Of course there was quite a bit of chit chat in line, which was lovely, I met a couple people because obviously we had time…

This was such a great event because people were able to purchase books at the store and also bring in their own books… with no limit on the number you wanted signed (a lady in front of us a ways had an entire cart full).  Many times (depending on the store and author) you have to purchase the book there and are limited to one per person. 

It was worth the wait…

*standing in line - my mother and her friend Marsha

*She's sooo amazing!!!

I couldn't get enough of her.

She is just so incredible.  She actually took the time to have a conversation with each person and write a personal message in each book.  I was just completely starstruck.

Ree's gorgeous husband and her two boys had traveled with her and were floating around the crowd taking photographs and socializing!  How awesome?!  Her husband is even sexier in real life ;)

I'm still just hyped up from all the excitement… I think this was my first official celebrity encounter and it was the best!!  

*The line of people still waiting when we left. 

I yelled out "keep holding on - it's totally worth it!!"

I had two of my books signed and bought a third to give as a christmas gift… at least that's one christmas gift off my list!

Best.  Day.  Ever.

Oh and then I came home to this…

A sweet welcome gift from my new neighbors!  I always love tea towels… they must know I'm a foodie considering I moved with mostly kitchen stuff :)

All in all, yesterday was a pretty great day.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Parmesan & Herb Crackers


It's been a while, but I have so many great recipes for you!  It's deep into holiday entertaining season so quite a few of my recipes will be focused on gifting and entertaining.  

I hope you enjoy :)

These are super easy / flexible and the best part - you can make them in advance! 

1 stick of room temp butter (no substitutions here!!)
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese (or romano)
1 1/4 cups of gluten free flour*
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of herbs (Thyme or Rosemary work great!)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Splash of cream (as needed)

Cream the butter with an electric mixer or whisk until fluffy and slightly lighter in color.  Then using a fork (this worked best for me) incorporate all the other ingredients until the dough comes together.  I thought the dough was quite dry (probably from the gf flour) so I added about a slight tablespoon of cream to bring it together.  

Turn the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and form into a log.  Then wrap in plastic wrap.  If using immediately - put in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes to firm up.  Otherwise place in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake (up to 3 days). 

Slice the log into 1/4 inch rounds and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.  They will not rise or spread so they can be very close together.  

Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.  Until they are set and the edges just start to brown. 

Cool on the parchment paper.  Store in an air tight container (if you don't eat them all immediately!)

These are very delicate crackers.  I was worried about transporting them to a party I attended over the weekend, but they did make it!  

*I decided to try the new Trader Joe's gluten free flour and I have to say I was pretty impressed with my first shot at it!  I will definitely be testing this in other recipes… although it's quite expensive considering the size of the package.

These are absolutely delightful crackers that will be a hit at any holiday party - whether you're hosting or showing up with a treat.  They are full of flavor, the texture is amazing, and they melt in your mouth making you want more!! 

I hope you love them as much as I do :)



Friday, October 11, 2013

H54F + Life Lately

Happy Friday!! 

I'm linking up with Lauren!

So... you haven't heard from me in quite awhile.  I started my new job the second I got back from Washington DC and it has been a whirl wind!!  I'm beyond happy to announce I've found my new dream job, a job I absolutely love, where I feel I am making a difference, and I'm using my talents to the fullest.  I'm the Southeast Regional Director of Membership for the Nebraska Farm Bureau and I couldn't be happier.  I support 18 counties while working from my home and car - I've already managed about 1300 miles in my first week!  It feels so good to know I'm where I'm suppose to be. 

I know I've been full of excuses for not blogging but I've been leaving home about 7am each morning at the latest and coming home about 10pm - I'm just not in the best routine yet.  I am impressed with myself for making it to the gym twice this week!  I'm hoping to do better next week and figure out how I can keep blogging because I do love this blog.  I'll get there, I promise!!

umm.... this is literally the only photo on my phone since my DC trip... over 10 days ago!!  I've literally been too busy to even snap photos!  lol I'm so sorry for this dismal post today.

I'm super excited for this weekend - my mom, aunt, and a family friend of ours are coming up to Omaha to meet me and we're heading to dinner and to Book of Mormon!!!  I've heard so many awesome reviews about this musical - I can't wait!  

Also on Sunday we're celebrating my grandmother's 80th birthday - and our whole family will be home - which is a special occasion in and of itself.  

It's going to be a great weekend!

How was your week?? How's your crazy life?  

Always, J

Friday, October 4, 2013

Happy Friday!

Happy Happy Friday!!

I'm linking up with Lauren today.

I've been slipping on my posting again but I was in Washington DC last weekend and early this week, then came home to start my new job - so it's been a pretty crazy awesome week!!  Today I'm just sharing a couple photos from my DC trip.

I can't resist lobster at Old Ebbitt Grill.

Last Conversation Piece - Juan Munoz :: Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

Untitled (designs for Colby Poster Company) - Peter Coffin :: Hirshhorn Museum

Zarabanda (one white disc) - Alexander Calder :: Hirshhorn Museum

Triptych - Francis Bacon :: Hirshhorn Museum

Had the opportunity to hear Harrison Coerver speak (author of Race to Relevance and Road to Relevance) during a membership development session. 

On our way to the Hay Adams Hotel for a cocktail party.

Gala dinner at Union Station.

Best part of the trip - found a gluten free waffle place :)  Restaurant review on Wicked Waffle coming soon!!

I hope you had a great week!  I'm heading home this weekend and am off to cheer on the Huskers.  Fall weather is officially here in Nebraska :)

Always, J

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cream Scones

A couple weeks ago Vera, Corinne, and I got together for a girl's brunch and craft day -- we each brought our own craft projects to work on for the day and started off with breakfast and chit chat.

I was really excited about making brunch for us - here was my menu:
Cream scones with fresh whipped cream and jam
Mushroom and goat cheese frittata
cucumber water
champagne with orange sherbet

Today, I'm just sharing the cream scones... I'll have the other recipe soon.

Every now and then I feel like you just hit it out of the park with an awesome gluten free recipe and I nailed it with these cream scones! 

*please please please make real whipped cream for these - its too easy not to and the flavor is just unbelievable.  And it's always worth using good jam - this is some plum jam that Vera made and brought with her. 

Cream Scones:

Sift into a large bowl - 
1 3/4 cups Domata Flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Then using a pastry cutter, fork, or your hands - cut in 1/4 cup (half a stick) of COLD butter. 
The mixture should resemble small crumbs.

Then add & mix throughly 
2 eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream

The mixture should combine to create a nice medium firm dough - not super sticky.  If it seems really sticky, add just a little bit of flour, if really dry, just a bit more cream. 

Shape the dough into a round disk and place on a baking sheet (I covered mine in foil).  Then use a knife to score the individual scones.  You should get 6 large scones from this recipe.  Brush the dough with an egg wash (in a small bowl combine 1 beaten egg with a tablespoon of water) and sprinkle with sugar, use coarse raw sugar if you have it for texture.  

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes!

Let the scones cool completely. 

Serve with cream and jam. 


I hope you enjoy these... yum :)

Always, J