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October 28, 2013

The New Southwest #Cookbook Spotlight: Review and Giveaway

You've seen me posting delicious recipes like Mushroom and Leek Migas, and Savory Baked Pumpkin Flautas, and today it's time to review the amazing cookbook from which these recipes came. 

The New Southwest: Classic Flavors with a Modern Twist by Meagan Micozzi of Scarletta Bakes

For the past two weeks, I've been eating my way through this cookbook. And loving every minute of it!

This hardcover, colorful, and informative cookbook is a keeper. 

Meagan includes a section in the beginning called The Southwestern Pantry where she gives detailed information about different Southwestern spices, chiles, produce, dairy, baking ingredients, and more. I really enjoyed reading through this part, and seeing some of the descriptions for ingredients included in some of the recipes, ones that I knew nothing about like Manchego cheese and oaxaca cheese and canela. Some ingredients are harder than others to find in regular grocery stores, so you may have to go to larger supermarkets or specialty stores for some of the items. I learned a lot reading that section, and it was fun to read all at the same time! 

Other categories include Breakfast, Drinks, Appetizers, Mains, Desserts, and more. I've got some recipes to make!

In additional to those Migas and Pumpkin Flautas, I also made her Whipped Agave Ancho Butter. Delish! The perfect mix of spicy with a little bit of sweet.

Serve it on toast, bread, grilled cheese, in meals that call for butter. I know I am!

Other standouts are her Three Sisters Hush Puppies, Dulce de Leche Layer Cake with Sweet Pecan "Pesto," and Drunken Black Beans. I didn't get to make these but can't wait!

It's been a long time since I've actually read an entire cookbook, but this one was so good, I couldn't help but flip through every page and even read the additional info! The migas were pretty good, and we loved the pumpkin flautas and agave ancho butter. I can't wait to make so many more wonderful recipes from this cookbook!

I liked it so much, that I want one of you to win a copy! Well actually, 14 of you will win this cookbook! Just leave a comment at the end of this post, and follow the instructions below for more ways to enter.

Enter to win a copy of 

The New Southwest!

1. Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this blog post letting me know what your favorite Southwestern dish is.

2. Tons of optional entries in rafflecopter widget.
Hippocrene will be supplying 14 copies of The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi for this giveaway, in conjunction with The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight.  Contest is open to anybody with a shipping address in the USA.  Submissions will be accepted via the rafflecopter widget through 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, November 3, 2013.  Fourteen winners will be chosen by random draw, verified, and be notified by email (from Heather at girlichef) within 48 hours of the close of this contest.  The winner should respond within 24 hours of notification, or a new winner will be drawn in their place.  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef.

Peace, and bacon grease!

October 27, 2013

Savory Baked Pumpkin Flautas #Cookbook Spotlight

I have a love-hate relationship with computers. 

Sure, they are amazing and give me the internet and email and the latest news but man, when they mess up I hate them. 

We've been having problems with our internet off and on for quite some time now. Today is another one of those days. 

I'm writing this post from my phone. Yep. It's brutal. Bear with me. 

But I just had to tell you all about these Savory Baked Pumpkin Flautas. Like, literally had to. The post is due today for The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight  :) 

But seriously, I also couldn't wait to share these. They're savory and flavorful. I loved the caramelized onions and garlic with the pumpkin. We didn't miss the meat AT ALL! Meagan sure does know what she's doing. 

Ha, and PJ can no longer deny that he likes pumpkin. It's a done deal. We are both pumpkin fans.

Savory Baked Pumpkin Flautas
slightly adapted from The New Southwest cookbook by Meagan Micozzi of Scarletta Bakes

*Yields: 12 flautas
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese (mozzarella cheese may be substituted)
  • 12 small (5-to 6-inch) flour tortillas
  • Olive oil, for brushing
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
Heat the butter in a large skillet over low-medium heat. Add the onion and saute slowly. The onion will go from translucent and lightly colored to deep golden brown, approximately 10 minutes. Once the onion is browned, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, place the pumpkin, salt, cumin, black pepper, buttermilk, and shredded cheese in a large bowl and stir until well blended. Fold in the cooled onion mixture.

Warm the tortillas and place on a flat surface to assemble. Top each tortilla with 2-3 tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture, roll tightly into a cigar shape, and place, seam-side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Brush the top of each flauta lightly with oil and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the flautas are golden brown on top and the tortillas are crisped. Cool slightly before serving.

Printable Recipe


Oh, and you might wanna come back tomorrow for a chance to win this cookbook! Just sayin :)

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef.

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef. - See more at:

Also linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

Secret Recipe Club time!

This month I was assigned to Brittany's blog, We Heart Vegan. I was intrigued looking through her recipes since I'm not familiar with vegan foods. I was tempted by Spicy Sweet Potato Fries, Vegan Enchiladas with a Creamy Pumpkin Sauce, and Cookies 'n Cream Cupcakes, I chose this recipe

I am all about pumpkin everything during these fall days! I'll take any opportunity I can to eat something pumpkin flavored! 

Crazy thing is, I used to think I didn't love pumpkin. I'm not big on pumpkin pie actually, but I tend to like most other things pumpkin-flavored.

This dip was no exception. Creamy, a bit sweet, and that comforting pumpkin flavor. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
adapted from We Heart Vegan

Yields: 1 cup (about 6-8 servings) 
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well with a spoon until no lumps remain and all ingredients are incorporated.

Printable Recipe

Serve this delightful dip with crackers, cookies, fruit... whatever your little heart desires. 

Or you can eat it by the spoon. 

No judgment here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

October 20, 2013

Mushroom and Leek Migas #CookbookSpotlight

Hi guys!


I'm kind of a cookbook hoarder. Shelves and shelves and shelves of cookbooks. You wanna know the sad thing though? With the internet and food blogs and smart phones, it's so easy to find recipes without actually picking up a cookbook. 

Which makes me sad. Because I really like the feel of a cookbook in my hands.

I'm the same way with books. I refuse to convert to the e-readers because I just love the feel of a book in my hand. I love turning the pages. I love the smell of books. Same goes for cookbooks. Only, I have so bought into the whole electronic world of recipes and food blogs and cooking sites that I don't use my cookbooks nearly enough. So when Heather reached out to me to participate in The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight, I didn't hesitate. This cookbook is written by the amazing Meagan Micozzi of Scarletta Bakes. She's kind of a big deal. And by kind of, I mean majorly.

For the first week, all 15 of us bloggers made her Mushroom & Leek Migas, which I've learned are like fancy scrambled eggs. 

The idea behind them is to serve a crowd from one pot/skillet. Though there's only two of us in my household, I still love the concept of this. Perfect for making for your family on weekends.

Mushroom and Leek Migas
from The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi of Scarletta Bakes

*Yields: approximately 4-6 servings
  • 4 (5-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 and 1/4 cups vegetable oil, divided
  • 10 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 oz brown baby bella crimini mushrooms, brushed clean, sliced
  • 1 leek, ends removed, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Manchego cheese, shredded
To prepare the corn strips, cut the tortillas in half and then slice them into thin strips (1/2-inch to 3/4-inch wide). Heat 1 cup of vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the tortilla strips for 1-2 minutes, flipping the pieces as they fry and removing the crispy, browned strips to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain and cool. 

Whisk the eggs and heavy cream together in a large bowl and season liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Rinse out the pan used for the tortilla strips and warm the remaining 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Saute the mushroom slices for approximately 3 minutes or until tender and fragrant. Add the leek and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Pour in the egg mixture and cook, stirring constantly in a circular motion until eggs solidify, stir in the fried tortilla strips. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until eggs are light, fluffy, and cooked through.

Remove from heat, top with the cheese, and serve immediately.

Printable Recipe

Manchego cheese is a bit expensive, I get it. But if you can, use it. I had never tried it before and both the man and I liked it. I couldn't find any at my regular grocery store, I had to go to a bigger marketplace where they have all kinds of fancy cheeses. 

And I really liked the crispy tortilla strips. And they're so easy to make! Just tortillas cut into strips, vegetable oil, and fry those suckers for a minute or so, and you've got crisp tortilla strips. 

I think next time I'll serve mine with some avocado, because, well just because. I'm always looking for an opportunity to add avocado to my meals. And maybe a little sour cream on top.

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef.

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef. - See more at:

Also linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef. - See more at:
This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef. - See more at:

October 17, 2013

S'mores Clusters

More s'mores!

That rhymed.

Now don't confuse these with these tasty S'mores Bites. They're different, though both addictive.

These are so good, so easy, and so quick. 

3 ingredients.

No cooking required, you just gotta melt the chocolate in the microwave. 

Mix in some mini marshmallows and graham cracker pieces and voila!!

S'mores Clusters
adapted from Hershey's 
  • 6 Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars, broken into pieces
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 graham crackers, broken until pieces
Place candy pieces in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 and a 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until chocolate is melted when mixture is stirred.

Stir in marshmallows and graham cracker pieces until well coated. Drop by spoonfuls into miniature paper muffin cups. Cover; refrigerate until firm.

Printable Recipe

You've got yourself the perfect little treat to take to parties, gift for the holidays, snack on during the game... eat them however you'd like, just eat them!

I'm participating in Brenda's 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats challenge. Check out my past posts!

I'm also participating in Roxana's Chocolate Candy Desserts Party

Linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

October 10, 2013

Obsessions + Confessions

No matter how busy I am, I can always make time for these posts. Read on to find out what I'm currently obsessin over and what's going on in my life lately!


These blackberry cheesecake bars are mesmerizingly gorgeous. Dang I thought I made that word up but just googled it and it is indeed a word.

I could pop about 20 of these little sandwiches in my mouth in one sitting. And then come back for more after an hour.

This is the perfect appetizer.

If you don't know that I love all things salted caramel, including this Salted Caramel Cheesecake, then you never really knew me at all and it is time for us to break up :(  

Scratch that. I could never leave you!!! Especially if you made me Rosemary and Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips.

Why hello there, pretty salad. Have we met?

These Pumpkin Parfaits are the perfect taste of fall!

These Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes are so vibrant! And let's be real. Blueberry and lemon go together like chocolate and caramel

The perfect combination of fall and breakfast - I love them both. 

Caramel and bananas are a match made in heaven too.

Obsessin over new fall tv shows like The Goldbergs, Trophy Wife, Mom, and one of my all-time fave shows, Parenthood is back! My life is complete.

This past week I had a great group counseling session with some students. They really opened up and I feel like we're all starting to be more comfortable. They even said they couldn't believe the hour was already up! Something must be going right :)

I really like my individual client. He is really easy to talk to and makes me feel comfortable as a newbie counselor. I think I'm starting to get the hang of this counseling thing! Sorta. Maybe. For now.

Um, how is it mid October already? I'm not ready, time... slow down! I still need to put up Halloween decorations, buy candy, hopefully make and blog some Halloween goodies, and figure out my costume this year so I can win the contest at work for the 3rd time!! 

This past Saturday we all got together to celebrate my mama's birthday at Longhorn Steakhouse. Love that woman!! Enough to wait over an hour for a table :) And the others? They're my peeps too. I'm pretty lucky :)

Peace, and bacon grease!

Rosemary and Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips
Rosemary and Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips
Rosemary and Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips
Rosemary and Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips

October 3, 2013

S'mores Bites

I missed the first week of The 12 Weeks of Christmas. Boo to that. It's ok though, I've still got 11 weeks to go! 


Don't lie, you've thought about Christmas. Maybe even counted down the days and weeks. Well it's time to start the countdown with baking! Which means 11 mores weeks of gaining weight eating delicious treats. I'm all for it.

Have you guys started to think about what you want for Christmas? Have you started buying presents? I'm really weird and start trying to buy things for PJ in like September or October as to not save it all for the last paycheck before Christmas! I only get paid every two weeks and with all the people I buy gifts for, I like to start buying some things here and there along the way. Last week I stocked up on some clothes for PJ. I like to go all out for him. Probably a little too over the top, but we don't have kids yet and so... well.. he's like my kid in that sense :)

So... head start on buying presents? Why not a head start on baking Christmas goodies?!!? That way you don't have to leave your Christmas baking all to the last minute, and you can even freeze some and whip them out later like, Bam, I made all these holiday treats!

So let's talk about s'mores. You love them as much as I do, right? They remind me of summer and camping trips and bon fires and perfect weather. But let's be honest, is there really a time when s'mores is not appropriate? Nope. That'd just be crazy. Yes, s'mores are also perfect for holiday baking!

Like these little guys. Little bite-sized s'more bites. Just bake up some mini graham cracker crusts in some mini muffin-pans, add some Hershey's chocolate inside and melt, top with a marshmallow and let melt a bit, cool, and top with melted chocolate. How can one bite be so satisfying? They're best served warm so the chocolate and marshmallow are melty and gooey, but they're delicious served at room temperature too.

S'mores Bites
adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 (1.55 oz-each) Hershey milk chocolate candy bars, divided
  • 12 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter into a bowl. Evenly divide crumb mixture into each cup of a 24 cup mini muffin pan. Press crumbs to form shallow cups. Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling. 

Meanwhile, break two of the candy bars into rectangles. Break the rectangles in half. Remove pan from oven; place 2 rectangle halves into each cup.

Cut marshmallows in half crosswise using scissors dipped in cold water. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven for 3 minutes or until marshmallows are just slightly softened. Cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before carefully removing cups from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Break remaining candy bars in small pieces and place in a small bowl. Microwave on high 1 to 1 and a 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds. Dip the top of each marshmallow into the melted chocolate. Turn top-side up and let stand until set.

Recipe Note: Store the cups in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Freezing is not recommended.

Printable Recipe


Wanna join along in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats challenge? Contact Brenda who hosts it every year.

I'm also participating in Roxana's Chocolate Candy Desserts Party!

Peace, and bacon grease!