Blueberry Lemon Dutch Baby and a Guest Post on A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis.

Here we are, right on the verge of the unofficially last official weekend of the summer.  A final weekend to head to the beach, the neighbor hood pool, or maybe one final barbeque bash to sign off the summer.  Maybe some of you have already escaped for this weekend, stretching a three day weekend into four or five days.  To you I say, well done!  Well done, indeed.  However, if you, like me, are stuck on the job for a few more hours…a few more hours until you are able to escape to freedom and bask in the glory of a three day weekend….while you are day dreaming, let me help you plan the perfect weekend breakfast.  It is the least I can do.


First though, I need to tell you about Chef Dennis over on A Culinary Journey.  I met him back in July at The Big Summer Potluck and I am so glad that I did.  BSP was my first ever food blogging conference/retreat, so you can imagine my nervousness going into that first evening.  I knew no one.  NO ONE.  Not a single soul.  I knew of a few of the bloggers, but I knew them, they hadn’t a clue who I was.  So, yeah…nervous is putting mild.  I walked into the hotel lobby Friday evening nervous and shy and all kinds of awkward, however within moments I was pulled into conversation and from there on out, for the remaining weekend, I was more at ease than I ever could have imagined.  In the hotel lobby, the group that pulled me into conversation contained Chef Dennis and instantly I knew he contained a wealth of knowledge.  Beyond being a professional chef ( he knows his way around the kitchen – just a quick glimpse at his blog and you know he is the real deal) he is overflowing with information from SEO to how Google+ works and how it can benefit your blog.  I could have picked his brain for hours!  So you can imagine,  when Chef Dennis invited me to write a guest post on his blog, I didn’t have to think twice.

So, today…Today I am sharing my recipe for Blueberry Lemon Dutch Baby over on Chef Dennis’ blog, A Culinary Journey.  A Dutch Baby (or maybe you call it a German Pancake or just a Giant Popover)…is the ideal breakfast fare for a long relaxing weekend.  A breakfast dish that highlights the bright flavors of summer but is also full of carb lovin’ comfort…perfect pairing for the crisp fall air that is slowly creeping into our mornings.  Please head on over there and check out not just my recipe, but take stroll around Chef Dennis’ blog…there are some serious recipes over there!

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Pineapple Pie

Happy Monday!

Sorry to be so perky on a Monday morning, but I figure if Mondays are necessary (and they are, whomp whomp) we might as well face them with a smile and hint of cheerfulness.  Plus, we get to look forward to another weekend.  A weekend that will be three whole days long…if you are one of the lucky ones.  That, my friends, is something to smile about.

Other things to smile about on this Monday… At least in my world and maybe in yours too…

The possibility of a rain shower/thunderstorm.

A good playlist on the drive into and away from work.

Strong coffee.

A good sweat session.

A crisp apple.

A warm cardigan when I get chilled at work.  So darn cozy.

A hot shower.

More coffee.

Avocado in my salad.

Internet access at work :)  I swear, I only use it for work purposes.  Only.

Remembering that this week brings about a paycheck.  Woohoo!


Driving home with the windows down and the wind in my hair.

Sunglasses that tint the world a wonderful amber color.  It is like looking through my favorite Instagram filter.

Pineapple pie.

Pineapple pie is a special treat that we had growing up.  One of those treats that you enjoy so much, that you just assume that pineapple pie happens in every household.  Like chocolate chip cookies or apple pie.  But as I have aged and talked incessantly about pie with other pie eating folk, I have found that pineapple pie is not a common dessert.  Or even heard of, for that matter.  You poor souls!

My grandma is responsible for this pie and while I am not sure where she derived the recipe, surely the back of a can of Dole pineapple or from a Country Living magazine, it is one of my all time childhood favorites.   Years ago, when I asked her to jot down the recipe, she of course didn’t have exact measurements.  What grandmother does, right?  A can of pineapple ( not the small real small one, but the next size up), some cornstarch, a bit of salt, and some sugar…cook it for awhile on the stovetop, and then bake it in a pie with a double crust.  And this was the recipe she gave me.  So it took me a bit of trial and error to get the exact measurements , but in the end my pie tastes pretty darn close to grandmas.  I just wish I could eat several slices without feeling the need to run several miles.  Oh to be 12 again.

Simple and fool proof, this pie will definitely bring a smile to your face.  Promise.


5.0 from 7 reviews

Pineapple Pie
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulated White Sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, diced, and frozen.
  • ¼ Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • ½ Cup Ice Cold Water
  • 1 – 20 ounce Can Crushed Pineapple with juice
  • ½ Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
  • pinch of salt
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, and salt.
  2. Add diced, frozen butter and vegetable shortening and pulse several times until mixture resemble course meal.
  3. With the food processor running, slowly add water in a small steady stream until the dough starts to form a ball.
  4. Empty contents of bowl out onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into two even balls. Form dough into rounded flattened disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Place them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. In a medium saucepan, combine the crushed pineapple, sugar, corn starch, and salt. Place over medium heat.
  6. Bring mixture to a slow boil and cook, stirring often, until mixture has thickened and is no longer cloudy, but clear (about 3 to 5 minutes). Remember to keep stirring so the mixture doesn’t scorch.
  7. Once thickened, remove from heat and let cool.
  8. Preheat oven to 375F.
  9. When the dough has chilled, remove one disk from the fridge and on a floured surface, quickly roll it out into a circle, 12 inches in diameter. Fit dough into a 9 inch pie plate ( do not stretch dough) and let edges hang over.
  10. Pour filling into pie shell.
  11. Remove second dough disk from fridge and on a floured surface, roll it out into a circle, about 10 inches in diameter. With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into 9 equal strips.
  12. Lay 4 strips across the pie, parallel to each other, and evenly spaced.
  13. Fold back every other strip, about half way. Take a strip of dough and lay it right up agains the folded back strips and perpendicular to the strips laying flat. Unfold the strips, so that they lay flat over the new strip.
  14. Repeat this pattern until the lattice is finished. Trim off extra and crimp edges.
  15. Brush top with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  16. Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 – 45 minutes until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
  17. Serve with vanilla ice cream!

Blueberry and Peach Crumble

What do you do with peaches that won’t make it through the weekend?  A weekend in which you won’t be around to enjoy a big ole’ juicy peach with breakfast or post weekend morning run?  You know … with the juice running down your chin and also down your forearm until it drips off your elbow.  Peaches that are best eaten over the sink or in the back yard with your head pitched forward, which causes your butt to kinda stick out as well…all so the juice doesn’t drip down your chin and down your frontside. And the slurping…peach eating is always accompanied by slurping, which kinda drives me bonkers, but is totally necessary. Peaches should be served with bibs…kinda like lobster dinners.

What does a girl do when she finds herself, ready for a weekend away, with 2lbs of ripe peaches on her counter, late Friday afternoon?  Oh, and she is me?

Well, you take the pint of blueberries that were meant for your roadtrip snack ( yeah, I am that girl eating fruits and veggies on road trips…along with beef jerky.  Always beef jerky.)  and you slice the peaches, foregoing any peeling ( and then hours later, you will find yourself telling your brother to suck it up when he mentions he doesn’t like the texture of peach skin in his desserts, because I could have just left the peaches to rot or simply given the dessert away, and it must not have bothered him too much seeing how he had several servings…brothers can be such buttheads.  He is also the brother that doesn’t like too much chocolate…how are we even related?!?!?)  Anywho…you take said blueberries and perfectly ripe peaches, toss ‘em in a deep dish pie plate, smother ‘em with a hefty dose of coconut crumble, throw it in a preheated oven, squeeze in a quick workout (because we all know that workouts do not happen on weekends spent at home home.   I always have good intentions but sleeping in, motorcycle rides, rocketering – totally a thing, socializing, and playing with the niece and nephew always takes precedent…)  … snap a few quick pictures and load up the piping hot crumble in the car and hit the road…all the while praying that there are no quick stops along the way, because hot peach blueberry crumble would not be pretty inside my Jeep.


hands down…i am the best influence these kids have…

because where else would they learn illegal moves on a playground?

I know this might be my 1,986th recipe for peaches this summer, but I don’t think there has been a week that I haven’t been overloaded (in the best possible way) with peaches…and since I post what I am eating…peaches it is!

This crumble is very similar to my peach pie from a few weeks ago…so(ooo) if you were wondering if could just forgo the crust and make it a crumble, by golly you can!

Blueberry and Peach Crumble
  • 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats ( do not use instant)
  • ¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • ½ Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 5 Large Peaches, pitted and sliced evenly (peeling is optional)
  • 1 Pint Fresh Blueberries, picked over for stems
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons Cornstarch (use more if peaches are overly juicy)
  • ½ Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Almond Extract
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine all topping ingredients ( oats, flour, dark brown sugar, coconut, salt, cinnamon, and melted butter) and mix with a fork until well incorporated. Place in fridge until ready to use.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, gently toss together peaches, blueberries, cornstarch, sugar, almond extract, cinnamon, and salt. Pour mixture into a deep dish pie plate or any oven safe dish that is at least 2 to 3 inches deep.
  4. Remove crumble topping from fridge and evenly top the fruit with the mixture.
  5. Place dish on a cookie sheet ( to prevent your oven from getting coated in fruit drippings). Place in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes (check in on it every 20 minutes or so) until topping is golden brown and the juices around the edge are bubbling. If the topping is getting too brown, just tent the dish with a piece of tinfoil for the remainder of the baking time.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
  7. Best served with a scoop of vanilla or lemon ice cream!


Summer Squash Stuffed Boats

I was standing in the middle of a parking lot, shoulder to shoulder with strangers on one side and gossiping/people watching with Mel on the other, just rows from the stage,  preparing for what would be one of the best concerts I have ever been to, when my mind wandered to my hydrator and its contents within.  And what would be added to it come Wednesday, when yet another load of CSA goodies would be picked up.  Ideas have a tendency to pop into my head at the most random times.  Moments away from Mumford and Sons walking onto the stage and I am thinking about summer squash and typing a few quick notes into my Droid.

 Stuffed summer squash with sausage and cheese and oh, mushrooms.  Totally mushrooms.  Chicken, pork, or turkey sausage?  I wonder what is in the freezer?  Oh, that needs cleaned out….before September, make that a goal in life.  There is a loaf of frozen soda bread that needs to become baked french toast or bread pudding…write that down and don’t throw the bread away.  I could add tomatoes to the stuffed squash…I think I remember zucchini boats with tomato sauce somewhere at some point in time.  The boats could kinda float.  Man those nachos earlier were scrumptious and I can’t believe parking was only 5 bucks…unheard of!  I really hope when Mumford and Sons come out that the crowd doesn’t lunge forward…I would hate to be trampled.  Mozzarella cheese on the boats…and a lot of it.   I love the twinkle lights strung across the stage…twinkle lights make the world better.  I need twinkle lights on my patio.  Next summer.  I should write that down too.  And on it went…

And this was my train of thought.  Somewhere in there, I started a recipe or at least the beginning of one.  And this is how ideas pop into my head.  They’re generally among other arbitrary thoughts and if I am listening, I can pluck them out and if I am being diligent, I will jot a quick note down.  Between my phone, a small notebook, scrap paper, and the back of random receipts…I am able to keep track of ideas.  Is it organized in any way?  No.  However, I wouldn’t exactly consider myself an organized person.  I mean, I have a months worth of mail sitting on my deep freezer in the garage.  And while I try to keep cooking utensils in one drawer and baking materials in another, at a glance you would think there was no rhyme or reason.  I am not one to situate my closet according to season.  It is just not in my design to be organized…so why would note taking be any different?

5.0 from 1 reviews

Stuffed Summer Squash
  • 2 Medium Summer Squash
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ Yellow Onion, small dice
  • 1 Cubanelle Pepper, halved and sliced into rounds
  • 1 Cup Sliced Mushrooms ( I used Baby Portabella)
  • 4 to 6 ounces Sausage ( I used precooked Jalapeño Chicken Sausages)
  • 1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 + ½ to 2 Cups Marinara Sauce
  • ½ Teaspoon Dry Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms, and cubanelle pepper and cook until they are softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add sausage and cook until sausage is cooked through ( if using precooked sausage, then just cook until heated through).
  4. Stir in cherry tomatoes, dried oregano, and ½ cup of marinara sauce and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and prepare squashes.
  5. Cut squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out seeds leaving about inch border around the edges.
  6. Pour remaining amount of marinara sauce ( about 1 cup) into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Place squash halves in pan and generously fill each squash half with prepared filling. Top with shredded cheese and place in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until cheese is bubbly and squash is fork tender.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.



Coconut Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am in a funk, a rut.  Having a serious lazy bout.  A bit blasé.   Even a touch melancholy.  Whatever you call it, I am in it.  My get up and go is gone.  This happens from time to time ( to everyone, I think.  I hope.) and this time around it is because I am tired of summer.  There, I said it.  I am a girl with 4 seasons burned into her soul…and I am ready for a bit of change.  A seasonal change.

I am craving layers of clothing that need no explanation and I find myself longing for boots and thick socks.  Hearty meals full of comfort and nourishment are tempting my tastebuds.  My need for quiet evenings absorbed in a book or a classic flick outweight my drive to be doing anything else, besides maybe a bonfire with quiet conversation and random outburst of laughter.  My craving for change is rearing its head before the calendar says it is time for change.  Therefore, I am stuck.  Or just a tad sticky.  And boy do I hate being sticky.  ( Stickiness is my one aversion to small children.  Why are they always so sticky?  Like, literally, sticky. Tacky to the touch.  I will handle my children with rubber gloves. )


The final weeks of winter and summer bring about these feelings.  I can feel it coming on and there is no stopping it.  Late February, the stirring enters and leaves me feeling anxious and squirmy.  Ready for the warmth of the sun on my skin and the sweet smell of spring rains.  Ready for the longer days and warm evenings.  Come August, I am prepared for the opposite.  God forbid I ever move somewhere with no distinct seasons.  Would I ever be able to shake the funk?  Where would the reliable and predictable change come from?

It doesn’t help to see promotions for upcoming Oktoberfest celebrations in the paper and pumpkin ales in the grocery.  Boot sales at Nordstroms and ‘Back to School’ sales at Staples.  My eyes and mind see and recognize change….however, they are premature and they, too, are jumping the gun.
Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not trying to rush summer or toss it to the wayside.  Consider this like the week or two before vacation.  That is how I feel.  Where the anticipation is maxed out and the urge to drop whatever is on your plate and leave early is so strong that the tiniest temptataion will have you buckling under its pressure.  You are just pleading with the clock to tick a little faster for the next two weeks.  And then halt.  Because when you find yourself where you want to be, you kinda want that to last as long as possible.

So…Dear Summer,
While I love your heat and tanktops.  Pool parties and freckles.  I am sorry to say that I am over you.  Over you until next year.  So, I apologize in advance for any angry words or complaining comments aimed in your direction or my lack of motivation to enjoy what is left of your time with us.  I am, however, rather digging the hint of fall in your night air.  What does it feel like to be pushed out of the spotlight?  See, snarky.  I can’t help it.  Sorry.  Again.
Love.  Mal.

So since pot roast and chili.  Apple crisp and spiced cider must wait their turn, I am having a bit of trouble in the kitchen.  My cravings are not matching the season.  Thank goodness for cookies!  They are always in season.  Especially chocolate ones.  And if there is one thing that will drag me out of a funk, it is chocolate cookie dough (not that I recommend eating raw cookie dough, bbbuuutttt it kind of is the best stuff on Earth, just sayin’.)  And after a good dose of  cookie dough and then in rapid succession, hot from the oven coconut chocolate chocolate chip cookies…I can feel that blasé feeling evaporating.  The cool evening air drifting in through the wide open windows kind of helps too.

Come on fall…hurry up!

Coconut Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Rich and fudgy chocolate cookies, dotted with mini chocolate chips and thin shreds of sweetened coconut. These are for the true chocolate lover!
  • 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • ¾ Cup Granulated White Sugar
  • ¾ Cup Dark Brown Sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 + ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 + ¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup Unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. in a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and both sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  4. With mixer speed on low, slowly add dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
  5. With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in chocolate chips and coconut.
  6. Scoop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. (do not over bake!)
  7. Remove from oven and let sit on tray for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire cooling rack.