My sister and brother-in-law had the hallowest of Halloween parties this past weekend. My sister’s and my mom is a pretty theatrical lady and raised us to dress up for all holidays. Not just green and red for Christmas but pilgrim outfits for the day before Thanksgiving and carrying our lunches in baskets or going to school with your face painted in a big red heart for Valentines day. So getting into holidays really stuck with us.

Pumpkin beer, other beer, more beer, wine, tequila, vodka, gin, you name it, it was bought for the party. We made mummy pigs in a blanket, pumpkin puking guacamole and caramel apple bites. The orange lights were turned on, the candles were lit and the party began and I have to say it was definitely a graveyard smash (get it? Bobby Pickett?)!!

Mummy pigs-in-a-blanket

Turkey hot dogs cut in half

crescent roll dough

Wrap hot dogs in dough and bake at 375 degrees till golden brown about 25 minuets.

Caramel apple bites

One bag Caramel

two apples of your choice

Cut apple into cubes and put toothpicks in each cube. Dip in melted caramel. Place on parchment paper on a plate. Cool in fridge



Mary Poppins and a French Kiss




Dance party between Teletubby and chimney sweeper












Best guacamole ever!!!



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Happy Easter!


Hope everyone had a fabulous Easter!  We had a great Easter brunch filled with Easter borscht, crostini’s, baked eggs, asparagus and of course hard boiled eggs (you can see my classic rainbow one below). Oh and how could I forget, after all that brunch we had smoked ribs, brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. I made a poppyseed cake for dessert.  I know I always say the cakes are amazing but this was literally one of the tastiest cakes I have ever made.  With that said it was also the ugliest.  I had issues with it sticking to the pan for one cake and the other I decided to cut in half and it was just to delicate for that. This is your warning…viewers discretion is advised for the cake picture.  If this is your first time visiting my site, please don’t judge my baking/cooking/traveling abilities by this cake.


Prosciutto and Avocado Crostini

Green Eggs and Bacon

Easter Borscht

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake






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Lowcountry Bites – Peach Salsa

I can officially say that I am a columnist at The Island Eye News!  It is a bi-weekly, or published twice a month, publication that is sent out to some of the islands in the Charleston area.  My column is called Lowcountry Bites and each week has a write up and recipe.  My first story was about peach salsa and thought my readers here would enjoy the recipe as well.  Enjoy!

PS  You can consider yourself lucky that you are linking to the article from here.  Those who only saw it in the paper didn’t get the great color photo.

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Blast From The Past

What was I doing this time last year?  Eating pão de queijo that’s what.   I was in Brazil enjoying being a graduate and living the traveling dream.  Now a year later I am left to making them from a box mix ordered off of Amazon, at least it was a gift (Thank you Kyle Herionimus).  Rough life I know.

Pão de queijo is basically Brazilian cheese bread.  It is made from cassava flour which we would know as yucca, which is a root, and minas cheese.  This cheese is made from a cow’s milk and tastes almost like a mozzarella but has the texture of a feta.  They sometimes served this with leche or sweetened condensed milk drizzled on top as a dessert creating a salty sweet irresistible combination.

In Brazil I ate these cheese balls like candy.  Fresh out of the oven and topped with cream cheese we were in Brazilian heaven.  Oh take me back!  The food there is second only to the amazing friends I made.



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Happy Cinco de Mayo!!


Hope everyone had a awesome Cinco de Mayo and one too many margaritas!  Heres a recipe for the best tortilla chips ever!  Super simple and they are so much better than store bought tortilla chips. Simple cut corn tortillas into quarters, spray with Pam olive oil then salt them and bake at 350.  Cook first side for six minutes then flip respray and salt.  Bake for four more minutes on this side.  Let cool and then dig in!


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Greek Feast Night

Farmers market season is in full bloom.  I’ve been to a few farmers markets before but apparently not the cool ones because I have never seen zucchini blossoms for sale until last week.  It was like Christmas morning when I saw them. After I bought them I was so overwhelmed with planning the meal that I would serve them as an appetizer at that I couldn’t focus enough to buy anything else.  This week I’m going with a list.

Zucchini blossoms quickly grew into Greek feast night.  Stuffed zucchini blossoms as the obvious star but also the appetizer, Greek salad, chicken gyros and baklava.  I studied abroad in Greece a few years back and have always wanted to make zucchini blossoms and baklava, the moment had finally arrived.  Zucchini blossoms are the flower the grows off of the zucchini.  There are male and female flowers and the way to tell them apart it that the male flower grows directly off the zucchini and the female grows from a stem.

Both the blossoms and the baklava were pretty easy.  The baklava was just time consuming considering it had 17 layers, but there weren’t any tricky parts and you don’t need special tools.  The fried stuffed blossoms are self explanatory and the only thing that was a little tricky was pulling out the pistols of the flowers.

The zucchini blossoms were so, so good!  The fried part isn’t too strong but more of a tempura batter because it is just flour and soda water, so it has a lighter taste to it.  You bite in and they melt in your mouth and its salty from the parmigiano-reggiano and sweet from the ricotta.  The baklava was great.  It tasted almost as good as Greece baklava, almost.

Stuffed Zucchini Blossom Recipe

Baklava Recipe



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Catch of the Day- Sydney Fish Market


Fish markets don’t stand a chance next to Sydney’s. The Sydney Fish Market is the second largest fish market in terms of variety outside of Japan.   It is unlike any fish market I have ever been to and my dad as well which says something.  The Sydney Fish Market is a warehouse with one main isle down the center and shops on either side.  One thing that makes it special is that it sells more than just fish.  There are six seafood retailers, a bottle shop, fruit and vegetable market, bakery, sushi bar, restaurant and gift shop.  I finally stopped in the gift shop this time and got a kangaroo cookie cutter.

You walk down that main isle and you are stunned by everything you see around you.  It’s busy and you want to go in everywhere and you don’t know what to choose.  Once you have chosen the venue you want its time to buy the seafood.  You can either buy cooked things like prawn and lobster or there is a bbq that has standard seafood or you can choose from the raw seafood and have them barbeque it for you. If you are an oyster lover like myself they have many oysters to choose from and at a very good price for Sydney.

There are all different kinds of fish; whole fish, small fish and everything in between.  One thing I found that I had never heard of before the market was a Moreton Bay bug or also known as the Bay lobster. They are named after Moreton Bay in Queensland Australia.  They look the just the tail of a lobster.  They are similar to taste as a lobster but not as rich and sweet and they are missing the melt in your mouth goodness.  Definitely try them but if you are as much of a lobster fan as I am I don’t think you will be switching over.  Sorry bugs.

After a delicious meal on the picnic tables by the water, I always head down to the fruit market and get a chocolate covered strawberry.  It is the perfect ending to the perfect, fresh, right off the boat seafood meal.





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Kara Appreciation Day


(Kara in her amazing Halloween costume)

Not to leave my little sister out, because she is amazing as well, but this post is about my older sister, and of course food.  Kara, my older sister, is such a great older sister that she earned her own day, which I titled “Kara Appreciation Day.”  This day was created because I bought Kara’s Christmas present early, but could only get a refund for 30 days after I bought it, and I bought it on November 10th. I started to think about how I could justify giving her the Christmas present early and it got me thinking; I realized how much Kara does for me. I literally would not be where I am today without her.  She helped me get my internship, she is letting me stay with her and share her car, and she has honestly guided me through life. She has been there for me through everything.  She is my person.  Ok enough with the sappy stuff, I think you guys get it, I love my sister blah blah blah :). So “Kara Appreciation Day” was created to be celebrated on November 13th; it’s still in negotiation as to whether it will be annual. I decided I would have a night where I cook her favorite food, play Christmas music and give her the present.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Kara’s favorite food is crab Rangoon.  Kara and the Rangoon’s go way back but that’s a long story she probably wouldn’t want me to share on my blog.  I found this crab Rangoon recipe and  instead of using regular onions I used green onions.  They were so easy and prefect!  Make sure you get duck sauce for dipping; no crab Rangoon is complete without it.  I also decided to make egg drop soup, which Kara loves, but I must admit I love more.  I found a Tyler Florence egg drop soup recipe and literally this is the easiest and best egg drop soup I have ever tasted.  If you are a lover of egg drop soup, stop reading my blog, go to the store and make this recipe immediately, if not sooner.  It was a richer Asian broth for the soup because of the ginger and that really takes it to the next level.

I hope everyone who has siblings has taken the time to appreciate them, and if they are anything like Kara, cook them this meal; they will love it!



Follow me on Twitter @Coltkels

Guest Blog Post-A Spartan Reunion in Denver

Hi Spartans, I am writing as a guest blogger for my sister Kelsey. My name is Kara and I am a former Spartan, missing my days in East Lansing but loving my new life in Dallas. This past weekend I went to Denver for a much needed reunion with some of my best friends from MSU.

It was a great weekend that started off with a St. Patty’s Day celebration with our MSU t-shirts and lots of green beer. This weekend was filled with some fabulous meals but I’m going to describe my favorite meal of the weekend.

It was actually a long happy hour at Jax Fish House in downtown Denver. This place had amazing seafood at great prices. Oysters were $1 each, $5 for a bowl of mussels and $5 for calamari. The calamari was awesome, there were six of us and we started off with one order and then ordered three more. It was lightly breaded with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce and clearly we couldn’t get enough. The mussels were so fresh and the tomato sauce it was cooked in was light and not overwhelming.

My favorite seafood we ordered was oysters. I was very impressed with the freshness, they were shucked right in front of us- I felt a little bad when we ordered three dozen. I’m not an oyster expert and it’s hard to describe the taste but if you haven’t tried one you should! I know they look gross but that is deceiving. I like mine with just some lemon squeezed on it but they are served with horseradish and cocktail sauce for dipping. Kelsey and our friends liked the sauce on them. Either way, you should try them. And all of this wonderful food went perfectly with the house cabernet sauvignon I ordered.

All in all this was the perfect afternoon with my friends and some of my favorite food.

The Rabbit Loves Dumplings

3…2…1…Happy Chinese New Year!! This is the year of the rabbit and it’s said to be a placid year, which is welcomed and much needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger. So what could be more relaxing than cooking? Though it actually fell on February 3rd and I’m a little behind, I thought it would be fun to make a Chinese inspired meal in honor of the holiday. It was a very easy decision to make dumplings because they are absolutely delicious and my favorite!

After deciding on dumplings I looked into Chinese traditions and found some interesting facts.  Dumplings are normally served on the New Year which clearly worked out great and they symbolize togetherness and blessings from heaven!  One other fact I found that was funny was that you should greet others by saying “Gung Hey Fat Choy”! Don’t worry you won’t offend anyone it means “Wishing you prosperity and wealth”!

I was really excited to try to make these, and believe it or not it actually wasn’t that hard to do.  The most important thing is to make sure there is no air in the dumpling after you seal them. Otherwise it will open the dumpling and make them water logged (This was my issue with my first batch but they still tasted good).  Don’t be discouraged by your first try my second ones were much “prettier” and were so tasty! Enjoy and 好运 [hǎo yùn] (Good Luck)!


For dipping sauce

Do equal parts

  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • White vinegar

For Filling

4 tbs sesame oil

4 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs white vinegar

1lb. ground pork

1-1/2 cups scallions, finely chopped

1 tsp flour, mix with water till it forms a paste

½ tsp salt

½ tsp grated ginger (powder ginger is fine too just put a little more)

½ tsp black pepper

1 package wonton wrappers (found in deli section of Meijer)


For dipping sauce combine sesame oil, soy sauce, and white vinegar and wisk together

  1. Combine pork, sesame oil, soy sauce, white vinegar, scallions, flour, salt, pepper, ginger in a medium bowl and stir with rubber spatula till combined.

2. Put 5-qt pot of water on stove to boil.

3.  Place parchment paper, or tin foil on a baking sheet to set the dumplings                   before and after boiling.

4.  Place wonton wrapper on sheet put 1 teaspoon of filling in middle.  Dip                      your finger in water and wet edges to seal.  Push air out as you seal.

5.  Boil for 8 minuets.  Cook in two batches about 20 in each batch.

6.  Let set for 2 minuets then serve with dipping sauce.

Makes about 40 serves 4