Horseradish Dill Baked Carrots

Horseradish Dill Baked Carrots

As I write this, I think about how carrots are actually one of my least favorite vegetables, and then I wonder why I have so many carrot recipes on here and none for things like broccoli or Brussels sprouts.  I think the reason is that I can eat broccoli any way, any time.  But I only like carrots if they’ve been ‘fussed’ over.   Carrot soufflé is amazing, but it does take some time (plus who can get mad at all that butter and sugar?).  These carrots aren’t difficult to make, but carrots aren’t something I like to drizzle with olive oil and roast.  And that is what I usually do with vegetables like broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

These carrots even have a real story to go with them.  In my early 20s, I dated a guy named Dave on and off for a few years.  I met him one summer in Tennessee to go motorcycle riding in the mountains.  (That is so not ‘me,’ but I guess I was in love or something.)  We rode to his grandmother’s house, and she served us a big country dinner, and these carrots (or the closest version I can approximate) were on the table.  I’d never seen carrots prepared like that, but that creamy horseradish did something incredible to the carrots.  I mean, I actually wanted to keep eating them!  I remember asking Dave for the recipe, but he never followed through.  I can’t remember if the version his grandma made had dill in them, but I think it tastes really good in there. 

This dish (like all casseroles) can be prepared ahead of time, up to 2 days in advance.  If you make it in advance, stop after step 5.  Cover the carrot mixture with foil, and don’t put the breadcrumbs and parsley on until right before you bake it.

Before you write this dish off because ewww carrots, try it once because that’s my general opinion of carrots, too.  But these are like, really good.


Total Time: 90 minutes6176654768_img_0709

Serves:  8

Difficulty Level:  Easy



2 ½ pounds raw carrots (about 10-12 large carrots)

½ cup sour cream

½ light mayonnaise

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons spicy horseradish

1 tablespoon dried dill

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Dried parsley (optional)



  1. Peel the carrots. Slice them on a bias.
  2. Steam the carrots for 15-20 minutes using your preferred method (this is what I use). The carrots should be tender, but not soft or mushy.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Transfer the carrots to a large mixing bowl. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, parmesan, horseradish, dill, and salt and pepper.  Gently toss all the ingredients together until well combined.
  5. Pour the carrot mixture into a casserole dish, and spread out evenly.
  6. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the carrots. Sprinkle parsley on top (optional, it’s just for color).
  7. Cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 35 minutes.
  8. After 35 minutes, turn the heat up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and remove the foil. Let the carrots cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the top is gold brown, and the casserole is bubbling.
  9. Remove from the oven, and serve hot.


Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

As an adult, mashed potatoes were one of the first things I tried to master.  It really does seem simple enough, and they’re so versatile that it’s a good recipe to have in your back pocket.  But there are a lot of ways to screw them up, too.  I ended up with bad results ranging from crunchy (undercooked or the wrong kind of potato) to lumpy (undermixed) to goopy (letting the potatoes sit in the water too long or overmixed—that was truly disgusting).  It’s not that they’ve failed every single time in 15 years, but they failed enough times to make me take note of where I was going wrong.

So here are my rules for mashed potatoes.  First, always use white Russet potatoes.  I used to always use Yukon gold, and then I bought Russets by mistake.  But they really make a creamier mashed potato, I think the starch content is perfect.

Second, always either boil your potatoes in chicken broth, or add chicken base or bouillon to your water.  If you want vegetarian, just add vegetable broth.  Potatoes are pretty bland on their own, and boiling them in broth really gives so much flavor.

Third, always peel the potatoes, and dice them small.  Don’t do huge chunks because it takes longer to boil, and it’s more difficult to mash later.  I used to leave the skin on, but I stopped because it was too hard to get the potatoes to the creamy consistency I like.

Fourth, keep it simple.  My standard mashed potatoes are just that:  standard.  I like to have this as a base recipe, and you can add different seasonings to make it interesting.  Here are some good add-ins you can try out depending on what type of main dish you’re serving:  2 teaspoons of chipotle powder (good with a spicy marinated steak); 2 teaspoons of paprika (good with a heavier chicken or pork dish); 2 teaspoons of ground mustard (good with pork or fish); 2 teaspoons of granulated garlic (good with lots of stuff); 2 teaspoons of ground ginger (good with Indonesian Ginger Chicken); or lastly, 1-2 heaping tablespoons of pesto instead of butter (good with Chicken with 40 Cloves in the Crockpot).

Fifth, don’t forget you can always partially make these ahead of time, even a day or 2 in advance.  For big days like Thanksgiving, go ahead and dice, boil, and drain them ahead of time.  For the big day, warm them up in the microwave and mash.

Last, use your stand mixer with a whisk attachment.  This might technically be whipped potatoes, but so be it.  I don’t like mashed potatoes with lumps, and using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment keeps the consistency nice and fluffy.

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes2

Serves: 8-10

Total Time:  1 hour

Difficulty Level:  Easy


3 pounds of white Russet potatoes

8 tablespoons of chicken bouillion granules


2/3 cup milk (any fat content is fine)

3/4 cup Daisy full fat sour cream (it is the best and all-natural)

4 tablespoons unsalted room temperature butter

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Peel the potatoes, and dice them into about 2/3-3/4 inch cubes. Add the potatoes to a large pot.
  2. Add the bouillon granules. Add enough water to cover the potatoes about 1 inch above.
  3. Bring the potatoes to a boil, and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Check the consistency with a fork.  Spear a cube, and if it falls in half, they’re done.
  4. Drain immediately in a colander. (The grossest potatoes I ever made by far were when I let the potatoes sit in the hot water for a while after boiling.  All the starch released, and the potatoes were the consistency of paste!  Never again.)
  5. Add the potatoes to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Before using the mixer, use a potato masher or a handheld whisk to mash the potatoes by hand before turning the mixer on.  Turn it on low, and slowly work it up to medium before adding any other ingredients.
  6. Turn the mixer off and add the milk, sour cream, butter, salt and pepper, and any flavor add-ins (if you want to).
  7. Turn the mixer back on, starting a low and working it up higher and higher. Let it do its thing for about 5 minutes (but keep an eye on it).  You may turn it off and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula once or twice to make sure it’s all getting mixed.
  8. Stop the mixer as soon as the lumps are gone because you don’t want to overmix it. The consistency should be uniform and creamy.
  9. Serve hot.  (maybe with some Turkey Meatloaf!)

[originally published 12/22/2016]

[photos and method updated 3/15/2017]

Cajun Spiced Coleslaw

Cajun Spiced Coleslaw

I’m the only one in my family who likes coleslaw.  I can’t have barbecue without it.  As I write this, it is Henry’s 8th birthday.  He requested barbecue sandwiches for his birthday dinner.  Even though I love coleslaw, I don’t like it just any old way, and I really don’t like it premade from the grocery store.  The way I make it is tangy, crunchy, and a little bit spicy.  In addition to going well with barbecue sandwiches, I love it with grilled meats and fried seafood.  I need a little creamy, zesty bite to contrast with the heavy food.  This is so easy to make, and it tastes best after it has set in the fridge for a few hours.


Total Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes; Hands-On Time:  15 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty Level:  Easy



1 bag coleslaw mix

¼ red bell pepper, cut into julienne strips

¼ green bell pepper

2/3 cup Duke’s light mayo

2/3 cup Daisy full fat sour cream

1 tablespoon of Stevia

2 tablespoons of Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning


  1. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients.  Mix well.
  2. Let it set chilled for at least 2 hours. This will last for about 2 days in the fridge.

Golden Chicken Noodle Soup

Golden Chicken Noodle Soup

I started to just make a classic Chicken Noodle Soup recipe tonight (my recipe is one I adapted from Ina’s classic recipe.)  But then I saw a creamy, orange hued version on Natasha’s Kitchen, and I decided to do my own take on it.  I didn’t actually read her recipe because I wanted to see what I could come up with on my own, but I was visually inspired.

I’d had the bell peppers in my fridge leftover from when I made Buffalo Chicken Soup a few days earlier.  Since I was seeing an orange/yellow theme, I decided to add the turmeric.  I didn’t want to take it too over the top, so I didn’t add anything too out there or spicy.  After all, it’s still chicken noodle soup– comfort food.  Usually for chicken noodle soup, I use either Basic Baked Chicken or a shredded rotisserie.  But I thought doing it in the slow cooker and shredding it myself would be better. 

Don’t add the pasta to the slow cooker at all.  I’ve done that before with other things and completely ruined dinner.  I think it’s best to keep it separate until serving (but you can store it all together).

Finish this soup off with some parmesan cheese and a slice of garlic toast.

Total Time:  8-9 hours; Hands On Time:  30 Minutes


Difficulty Level:  Easy

1 medium sized yellow onion, medium diced

3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced

1 yellow bell pepper, medium diced

1 orange bell pepper, medium diced14708358_370431179962191_4579656665779348930_n

4 medium sized carrots, peeled and medium diced

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons of turmeric

¼ cup flour

10 sprigs of fresh thyme

10 cups of water plus corresponding amount of chicken base or bouillon

1 box of whole wheat rotini

Parmesan cheese

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Turn a 6 quart slow cooker to high.  Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers, carrots, chicken, turmeric, flour, thyme, and chicken broth (or water and base or bouillon) to the slow cooker.
  2. Cook for 6-8 hours. Pull the chicken out, and shred it with tongs and a fork.  Add it back to the soup.
  3. Right before serving, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  4. To serve, add a small handful of the pasta to an empty bowl, and pour the soup on top of it.
  5. Garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

Vegan Southwestern Zucchini Sauté + 5 Lightened Up Super Bowl Recipes

Vegan Southwestern Zucchini Sauté + 5 Lighter Super Bowl Recipes

I have been making my Vegan Eggplant Sauté on and off for over 10 years, and it never occurred to me to change it around.  Then all the sudden I think how I can keep myself from getting bored by changing around the flavors.  This recipe is just as simple as the Vegan Eggplant Saute, but I’ve swapped around all the flavors.

Following the recipe, you’ll see a list of 5 lightened up, but still Super Bowl-worthy, recipes for game day.  I have never cared one way or another about the football, but I do like watching the Super Bowl Halftime Show, and I like the Super Bowl foods.  The rest is just background noise to me.


Southwestern Zucchini Sauté  (vegan, gluten free)

Total Time:  15 minutes

Serves:  1

Difficulty Level:  Easy



Cooking spray

1 large zucchini, medium diced

1 Original Vegan Boca Burger

1 pinch salt

1 pinch garlic powder

1 pinch chipotle powder or ground cumin

1 ice cube

½ cup salsa

Freshly chopped cilantro



  1. Add a quick spray of cooking spray to a sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the zucchini, salt, garlic, and chipotle or cumin.  Sauté for a minute or so.  Add the ice cube, and cover.  Let it steam for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, microwave the Boca Burger until warm, about 1 minute. Dice into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Remove the zucchini from heat. Add the Boca Burger and salsa.  Mix together.
  5. Top with freshly chopped cilantro.



5 Lighter Super Bowl Eats

  1.  Skinny Taste:  Slow Cooker Paleo Jalapeno Popper  Chicken Chili.  This is a mouthful!  I like all kinds of chili, vegetarian included.  I was going to list a vegetarian option, but I think a Super Bowl chili needs some kind of meat.  This one is a good middle ground and will make dieters and non-dieters happy.  Here are some of my other favorite chilis.  SlowCookerPaleoJalapenoPopperChickenChili-550x825.jpg


2.  The Mediterranean Dish:  Avocado Hummus and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa Verde.  Another classic Super Bowl food is guacamole.  Here’s a lightened up version that you could serve with both chips and raw veggies.Avocado-Hummus-with-Salsa-Verde-Recipe-11.jpg


3.  A Beautiful Plate:  Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas.  I love roasted chickpeas!  The first time I had them was in this salad.  They are a great substitute for salty nuts, and you can switch up the flavor combinations in endless ways.salt-and-vinegar-roasted-chickpeas-1-11.jpg


4.  Dashing Dish:  Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Poppers.  This is on my “must try” list, and of all the recipes I’ve seen for buffalo cauliflower, this one looks like a dead ringer for wings.  So, maybe you can’t forgo wings on Super Bowl Sunday in favor of cauliflower.  But maybe you can have both?IMG_4599.jpg

5.  BS In the Kitchen:  Paloma.  Tequila is my favorite kind of liquor, and the only kind I’ll ever have around the house.  The Paloma is similar to a margarita, but with grapefruit.  This version contains hardly any sugar, but relies mostly on the tart grapefruit and lime for flavor (plus tequila really has a great flavor too).  Each drink only has one teaspoon of sugar, but you could substitute stevia, or you could leave it out altogether.the-paloma-6




Kale Sautéed in Olive Oil

Kale Sautéed in Olive OilFullSizeRender

I didn’t start eating kale until recently, but this is my favorite way to eat it.  And the vitamins you get from it are amazing.  Just one 2 ½ cup serving of raw kale has 11% of your daily potassium (good for water and electrolyte balance), 260% of daily Vitamin A (good for skin, hair, and nails), 170% of Vitamin C, and a whopping 870% of your daily Vitamin K.  Vitamin K is important for heart health, bone health, and blood clotting.  So eat up, and feel good about your choice. 

I found that the best way to do this is to start cooking the kale in olive oil while it’s covered and let it steam through.  This way you get that charred flavor from the oil, but it finishes cooking without too much extra oil.  Since the whole point of eating kale is for its health benefits, I don’t think it’s good to ruin it with excess oil.

Like any greens, kale shrinks down a lot during cooking.  So you can really pile it on in the pan even though it looks like a lot at first.

As I write this recipe, I’m serving sautéed kale alongside Whole Wheat Turkey Lasagna.  But it goes with just about anything.


Total Time:  15 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Difficulty Level:  Easy



1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

Half of a 16 ounce bag of chopped kale

Salt and pepper


  1. In a medium pan, add the olive oil.  Turn the heat to medium and warm the oil until it softens, and you can smell it.
  2. Add the kale, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Cover and steam for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.


2017 Food Goals

2017 Food Goals

One of my favorite things about this blog is that it challenges me creatively.  I think everyone has a creative side, and we have to find out where we can express ourselves and get that satisfaction.  Crafts don’t do it for me, but they do it for some people, but it can be anything.  My “thing” is definitely food and being in the kitchen.  Blogging about my adventures in the kitchen keeps me motivated because I can see my progress, and I can constantly find new ways to cook with old ingredients and everyday uses for uncommon ingredients.  I did a few posts on resolutions already, but those were more generic:  budgets and diets.  My specific resolutions for this year are going to be exploring and mastering -ok maybe not mastering- but getting familiar and more confident with new types of food or ingredients.  I don’t know how I landed on 8 as a good number, but it works for my Pretty Things posts, so I’ll stick with 8 for the food goals.

1.   Marshmallows:  Until I saw Ina Garten do it a 5 or 10 years ago, I never realized that marshmallows could be homemade.  It was pretty naive of me, because of course every packaged item is derived from something homemade, right?  I’ve seen so many beautiful iterations of marshmallows out there on the internet that I’m determined to make a few this year.  Probably not as fancy as Baker’s Royale, but I already have a some ideas for summer s’mores and hot cocoa later this year (so stay tuned!).



image found on Local Milk


2.  Cheesecake:  Cheesecake has always seemed daunting, and I’ve had a couple of springform pans collecting dust in a cabinet for years now.  I used one to make a baked pasta pie (post for that is still in the works), but I feel like I should use it to make a really good cheesecake.  I’m thinking lemon, ricotta, or vanilla bean…


image found on Baking a Moment


3.  Aioli:  I put this on a pretty things list already, but I have to mention it again.  It’s such a simple, but flavorful dipping sauce, and I can’t wait to dip some buttery artichokes into it.


image found on Epicurious


4.  Waffles:  I used our new waffle iron for the first time today!  It was a snow day, so we had a long morning.  I’m working my way towards making a real Liege waffle once I get my hands on some pearl sugar.  We hosted an exchange student from Belgium a few years back, and Jon still talks about the waffles her parents sent us.


image found on Food and Wine


5.  Bread in a Le Creuset French Oven: This is so cool!  I actually bought my first Le Creuset as a factory second at Marshall’s for about 40% of the retail price, and there is a teeny knick that’s hardly visible.  I started looking around for interesting ways to use it, and who would have thought you could make bread in it?  I’m so in.


image found on Le Creuset


6.  Turmeric Latte:  I’ve been wanting to do this for a couple years now, and I finally bought a big canister of turmeric.  Jon wants to use it to whiten his teeth, I want it for face masks and turmeric lattes.  I’m excited to share what I come up with (and if the teeth whitening thing works, I’ll let you know).


image found on Elle UK

7.  Bee Pollen:  Bee pollen as a spur of the moment purchase, yes.  I saw it in Goop Clean Beauty and decided to try it out.  I’m thinking smoothie bowls, oatmeal topping, possibly in some granola.  Again, I’ll be sharing any successes here.


image found on Sed Bona


8.  The Spiralizer:  This was my first New Year Food Resolution.  Everyone’s been so spiralizing for years, and I finally broke down because it just looks fun.  I bought the one most recommended, and I want to spiralize everything from cucumbers to apples to sweet potatoes.  Again, tons of ideas!


image found on Haute and Healthy Living