Baked Tortilla Chips

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips

If heaven is real, then I really don’t think it’s made of puffy clouds and golden harps. I rather imagine it must be filled with endless tables, buckling under the weight of all the chips, dips, cheeses and crackers (all calorie-free, OBVIOUSLY) that a person could possibly want. Really, is there a better way to eat than scooping up succulent dips and salsas with crisp, salty shards of simple carbohydrates?

My obsession with chips is pretty severe. I’m hopeless at Mexican restaurants. Those continuously re-filling bowls of free chips and salsa at the start of the meal virtually guarantee that I’ll be in a food coma before my main course even arrives. I’m pretty shameless about them at potlucks and dinner parties, too. But unless I am hosting a party of my own, I actually avoid buying them: if I have chips in the house, there’s like a 70% chance that I’ll skip cooking dinner and simply dine on chips and salsa instead, strangely able to justify it by pretending they are vegetables. Sad, I know.

But I’ve found a little loophole. As long as I have corn tortillas in my fridge (which is pretty regular) I can make teeny batches of chips whenever I like! Satisfy my cravings without overdosing! Plus they are baked, which in the chip world, is code for healthy! (Right?)

Corn tortillas

It’s shockingly simple. Cut tortillas. Spray with cooking spray and salt. Flip over and repeat. Bake. Eat.


Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

Homemade Pizza Rolls
Hey guys! Sorry it’s been like, months since I’ve been here. After a brief website shut down (not a big deal, I fixed it), an October full of autumn festivities and adventures, a November featuring major events at my job, a contract birthday cake, and two Thanksgivings, a December just being its normal insane self, and a January long hours, cold-weather-crankiness, and holiday recuperation, it’s finally time: climbing around my kitchen with a camera and sharing tasty treats with you is finally back at the top of my list. No hard feelings, k? Or if you have them, can I fix them with pizza rolls?

Homemade Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
The answer should be YES. I felt for years that pizza rolls were just one of those things that could only be purchased in the freezer section, compliments of food scientists and packaging specialists. But no! You can make your own, and I daresay they are even better than their freezer-burned counterparts. For one thing, you can know exactly what’s inside and make that choice yourself.

Simple pizza ingredients
For this, my first foray into homemade pizza roll-dom, I stuck with the basics: pepperoni, zesty red pizza sauce, and the three cheeses I put on all my pizzas all the time always: mozzarella, parmesan, and asiago.


Charred Corn Salsa

Charred Corn Salsa
It felt like spring the latter half of this week. The sun was shining, the last of the snow that has persisted in our street for weeks has melted, and it was nice enough to wander about without a jacket. The thrill of the weather finally breaking is one of my favorite moments each season!

Perhaps associated with the first burst of warm-ish weather, I tend to also get an itch to vacation at this time of year. It might also be years of Spring Break indoctrination, but I suddenly yearn to pack my bags for some tropical adventure! Not that I actually did a lot of that growing up, but the once or twice that we did vacation somewhere warm over Spring Break were enough to permanently spark anticipation every February. Unfortunately, we have no imminent vacation plans for this spring. So! To ease my wanderlust, I’ve settled by making some charred corn salsa.


Smooth Garlic Hummus

Smooth Garlic Hummus

I think I was in sixth or seventh grade when I first heard about hummus. One of my classmates probably brought it in their packed lunch, with a pack of carrot sticks or some pita bread. My hometown was (and still is) definitely the kind of place where sixth graders are excited about eating hummus and carrots for lunch.

Unfortunately, I was horrified by the idea of eating hummus. For the better part of my childhood, I thought that hummus (ground chickpeas with tahini paste) and HUMUS (fully decomposed soil) were the same thing. I was all for eating the fruits of the earth, but the earth itself? NO WAY.

The connections one makes as a child are truly fascinating, aren’t they?

Smooth Yummy Hummus

Now, however, I know the truth. I know that in fact, that extra “m” makes a HUGE and delicious difference. What’s more, hummus is an incredibly easy and inexpensive snack to make.

And it starts, of course, with chick peas.


How To’sday: How to Make Homemade Popcorn

Homemade popcorn

With another wedding cake baked and spring semester in my rear-view mirror, I finally feel like summer has begun. No, summer isn‘t quite the same as it used to be; the three-month vistas of free time I enjoyed from age 5-22 no longer lie ahead. I’ve been nostalgic for those childhood summers lately: sleeping in, spending the day flitting about town with mom, attempting badminton on the lawn with my sister, eating dinner off the grill in the cool Colorado evenings. Bliss!

After the sun set, summer nights in our house usually involved a movie. And where there are movies, there sure as Sam was gonna be some popcorn.


Admittedly, most of the popcorn I remember eating at home was microwave popcorn, though there was also brief stint where Kelli and I found an air popper almost as entertaining to watch as whatever movie was selected for the night. I do remember, quite vividly, one attempt to pop corn on the stove and the ensuing clouds of smoke that followed when it cooked too fast and burned to a crisp. Perhaps scarred by this event, up until recently I had mentally relegated popcorn popping to the arts of yesteryear, one that I was unlikely to ever master. But then, after seeing some friends pop corn at a party — quite casually and deliciously and with no clouds of smoke, I might add — I bravely bought a bag of cheap yellow kernels and decided to give it a shot.


Revelation. Perfection. Obsession. Sublime happiness.

It turns out making popcorn is really easy. And really fast. I’m really not sure now what happened that fateful night as a child when I developed a fear of popcorn-making, but I am now here to say that if any of you have similar fears, give them up! Tonight! You can make freshly-popped popcorn with just a few kitchen tools that you already have.

Here’s how:


Pile o’ Presents Cheeseballs

Party presents of cheese
Last Sunday, I threw a big ol’ festive holiday party. You may not be entirely surprised to learn that parties at my house tend to be more about the food than anything else. I decorate, sure, and put on some appropriately celebratory Pandora tunes, but mostly a party offers me a moderately justifiable excuse to try out as many recipes for fancy-pants finger food, seasonal desserts, and standard snacky favorites as I can possibly cram into the 2-3 days prior to the first guest knocking on the door. One might suspect that I throw parties primarily for my own curiosity (and, of course, my little food blog) and invite over friends merely to vacuum up the copious amounts of food I typically prepare. (Of course, dear friends, this is not the case, but when one is awake and cooking at 6am the morning of a party, one must question one’s motives.)

And there is no better time of year for party food. Whether it’s an office bash or a neighborhood block party or simply a gathering of friends and family, you can never go wrong with a table filled with edible holiday splendor. Many of the posts in the coming weeks will focus on party-ready treats that make worthy contributions to any festive spread. And what classic shall we feature today? The cheeseball!

Cheesy gifts

This isn’t just a cheeseball. This is THREE cheeseballs.  Better still: this is three cheesePRESENTS. We’re taking an already-classic holiday favorite and raising it to the tenth Christmas power. Plus, this way you don’t have to choose between your favorite cheeseball flavors… you can make them ALL!


Caramelized Onion Dip

A shift in the weather has finally come to North Carolina.  After a disgustingly hot Labor Day weekend, the last few days have been gloriously cool. I’m thrilled for fall to arrive, but sometimes, I think the transition into the season is almost more exhilarating than the heart of the season itself. Just a few months ago, I ached for the warmth of summer. I couldn’t wait to shed my scarves, jeans, and sweaters and swap them out for flip flops and tank tops. But now, as we teeter on the outer edge of a long, hot summer, I can’t wait to don my long-sleeved tees, comfy socks, and tall, brown boots.

Buuuut it’s still a bit warm for that. But there are still plenty of ways to get ready for fall. One of them is to add this rockin’ dip to your TO MAKE IMMEDIATELY list. Take it to your next football tailgate, Halloween party, or movie night. Seriously, I urge you to find any excuse.

I’ve “made” onion dip before. A packet of onion soup mix and a tub of sour cream and shazam! Chip & dip time! But this is unlike any onion dip I’ve ever had. probably because it actually features the fine, fine flavors of real onion. A LOT of onion. This recipe yields about three cups, but it starts with four full cups of raw onion. Then, aided by the deep and sultry additions of balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, those crisp raw onions transform until their decadent, caramelized selves.


Dilly Beans

I’m not sure when “pickles” came to indicate cucumbers that are pickled, and nothing else. You can buy pickled garlic, pickled eggs (eeeeeew), but the pickles section is predominantly composed of cukes. Oh sure, there’s variety: sweet pickles, bread & butter pickles, dill pickles, kosher dill pickles, zesty dilly pickles, pickle chips, and more. But they are all cucumbers!

It turns out this was not always so. Those of you who can have probably seen many kinds of pickles in your cookbooks. Pickled okra! Pickled beets! Pickled peaches!

And one of my personal favorites, pickled green beans!

Dilly beans start with a heap of fresh, brilliant green snap beans. They’re dirt cheap right now at my local farmers market, so it’s a great time to buy a bunch and pickle them.


Crispy Cheddar Crackers

We had a bit of a cold front move through North Carolina this weekend. Saturday dawned cool and cloudy. I pulled out a pair of jeans for the first time since, I don’t know, April? In combination with students returning for the first week of class, late summer suddenly felt just a teensy bit like autumn. Obviously busting out a fall baking project became an immediate weekend priority.

But what?? Every once in a while, I see a recipe for homemade cheddar crackers traipsing about the internet, and I promise myself, “THIS! This is next!” And then it never is. Until today! This particular cheddar cracker is a pretty basic one (as I imagine all cheddar crackers are) composed of a little butter, a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour, some salt & peppers, and a beautiful heap of sharp cheddar.


Homemade Beef Jerky

Landing in North Carolina, and dragging luggage out of the airport in the peak of summer, is always rather shocking after several days in the cool, dry air of southwest Colorado. Sure, my hometown is hot during the day at this time of year too, but no matter what temperature the mercury hits while the sun is up, the air cools each night jeans-and-sweatshirt weather.

Every trip to Colorado seems too short, but sometimes, I get to bring little tastes of home back with me. And this time, it’s some tasty homemade jerky!