homemade apple pie

homemade apple pie. recipe by Paula Deen. 06.01.10.

homemade apple pie. recipe by Paula Deen. 06.01.10.

Before Paula Deen was exposed for being racist and ignorant, I made tons of her recipes. One of my favorites was her homemade apple pie recipe (which included her recipe for a homemade crust). This is a classic southern recipe with shortening and butter. I tried to lighten it up and make it healthier by using wheat flour for the crust, but it just wasn’t as good. Serve it a la mode with vanilla ice cream on top.

Peachdish: edamame, teriyaki salmon with carrots & parsnips over noodles, clementines & fortune cookies

Last week, one of my coworkers gifted me with a Peachdish box. Peachdish is a new Atlanta-based startup that mails you a three-course dinner (that serves two people) with fresh ingredients and an easy-to-follow recipe for $20. (I got mine for free, which was even better.) Peachdish subscribers don’t know what each week’s dinner is until their Peachdish boxes arrive.

Peachdish box with recipe.

Peachdish box with recipe card.

This Peachdish box contained edamame for an appetizer, ingredients to make teriyaki salmon with carrots & parsnips over noodles for the entrée, and clementines and fortune cookies for dessert.

Fresh ingredients for a three-course dinner.

Fresh ingredients for a three-course dinner.

The recipe directions were easy to follow and the results were good. There were a few items you had to have in your kitchen, like sea salt, pepper, and olive oil. But other than that, everything was included in the box. (I’m writing the recipes by memory, since I forgot to take a photo of the recipe card.) I made the edamame right before the salmon was done, so it wouldn’t be cold.




  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
  2. Put edamame in pot and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain and season with sea salt.

Teriyaki salmon with roasted carrots & parsnips over noodles:


Teriyaki salmon with carrots & parsnips over noodles.

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Make marinade for salmon: in a shallow baking dish, mix 1/2 cup soy sauce and brown sugar. Peel ginger and slice thinly. Peel and dice garlic. Mix ginger, garlic, and sesame seeds into sauce. Set aside 1/4 cup of sauce to serve over the noodles later.  (The original recipe didn’t have enough sauce set aside for the noodles, so I’ve doubled the amount of sauce.)
  3. Flip salmon filets in marinade so it coats both sides, then let rest in refrigerator.
  4. Peel and dice carrot and parsnip. In a large baking dish, toss diced carrot and parsnip in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing the vegetables halfway through so they roast evenly.
  5. While the vegetables are roasting, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles for 5-7 minutes. Drain, then in put the noodles back in the pot and toss with sauce that was set aside.
  6. After vegetables are done, make room in the middle of the pan for the salmon filets. Add extra sesame seeds on top of the filets and bake for 10-12 minutes until salmon is flaky.
  7. Serve salmon over noodles with the carrots & parsnips. Enjoy!
A three course meal. (One serving.)

A three course meal. (One serving.)

If you’re in the Atlanta area, hate grocery shopping, and want to cook more, you should definitely subscribe to Peachdish. *Note: I’m not being paid to endorse this startup. I just enjoyed my Peachdish dinner so much that I wanted to share it with y’all!

Vegan red velvet cupcakes with faux cream cheese frosting

It’s Ames‘s birthday today! Usually, we celebrate with cupcakes and wine. This year, we celebrated early (on Sunday) with Mexican food and sangritas.

Ames is lactose intolerant, so two years ago, I made a vegan version of one of her favorites — red velvet cupcakes with faux cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes are somehow both dense and fluffy. Be sure to refrigerate your frosting, though, so it won’t melt (as mine started to do).

Vegan red velvet cupcakes with faux cream cheese frosting
Adapted from this Novel Eats recipe
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Baking time: 18-20 minutes
Cooling time: 5-10 minutes
Makes one dozen cupcakes

Vegan red velvet cupcakes & faux cream cheese frosting.

Vegan red velvet cupcakes & faux cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients & supplies:

For cupcakes:

  • paper cupcake liners
  • 1 dozen cupcakes tin
  • medium mixing bowl
  • large mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • 1 cup plain soy milk (or Lactaid)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup applesauce (or canola oil)
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • toothpick
  • wire rack for cooling

For frosting: 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put cupcake liners in cupcake tin.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside to curdle.
  3. In large bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Mix with whisk.
  4. Add applesauce, food coloring, and vanilla extract to medium bowl with curdled soy milk. Whisk until combined.
  5. Slowly, pour wet ingredients into large bowl with dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Do not over mix.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (so when toothpick is inserted, it comes out clean).
  8. As cupcakes are baking, make the frosting. Cream together Earth balance margarine and Tofutti better than cream cheese, then add powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments. Add vanilla extract. Refrigerate while cupcakes are baking.
  9. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack for cooling. After cupcakes have completely cooled (5 to 10 minutes), frost with faux cream cheese frosting and enjoy!

Healthier dark chocolate chip cookies

I’ve been attempting to curb my chocolate habit. Not that it’s gotten out of hand. I’m just trying out this strange concept called self-control. It’s been working for the most part. In order to make myself feel less guilty about partaking in chocolate desserts, I came up with a healthier chocolate chip cookie recipe. The result was delicious and less fattening than regular chocolate chip cookies!

Healthier dark chocolate chip cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe
Makes three dozen cookies (which makes this recipe great for sharing cookies with friends & coworkers)
Prep time: about 10 minutes
Baking time: 10-12 minutes per dozen

Healthier dark chocolate chip cookies.

Healthier dark chocolate chip cookies.

Ingredients & supplies

  • baking sheets
  • parchment paper
  • wire rack (for cooling cookies)
  • small bowl
  • large mixing bowl
  • spatula
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips (I used the jumbo kind)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda and set aside.
  2. In the large mixing bowl, combine the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the sea, vanilla, and egg whites.
  3. Add flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the dark chocolate chips.
  4. Drop tablespoon-size dough balls about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake until cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, so the cookies are golden around the edges, but soft in the center.
  6. Cool cookies on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Blackberry cobbler

This is a foolproof cobbler recipe. My favorite kind is blackberry, but you can substitute blackberries with apples or peaches, too. While I like making this, it’s also a go-to dessert recipe for when you’re in a bind and need something quick and easy to make.

Blackberry cobbler
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 30-45 minutes
Makes about 12 servings

Ingredients & supplies:

  • 9 x 9 baking dish
  • 12 or 16 oz. container of blackberries
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsps baking powder
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • vanilla extract
  • optional: vanilla ice cream to add on top
Blackberry cobbler.

Blackberry cobbler.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. (I just eyeball it and use a few shakes of cinnamon and nutmeg.)
  3. Add milk and vanilla extract (I use about 2 tbsps).
  4. Melt stick of butter in 9 x 9 baking dish.
  5. Pour batter over butter. (Do not stir!)
  6. Pour blackberries over batter. (Do not stir!)
  7. Bake for 30-45 mins, until crust is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy! Serve with vanilla ice cream, if you like.

Junior Mint cupcakes with cream cheese frosting & sprinkles

Three years ago, Brie and I went to Kroger to get ingredients for her 19th birthday cupcakes.

“Brie, what kind of cupcakes do you want to make?”

Brie surveyed the candy aisle and grabbed a couple of boxes. “Junior Mint!”

“That sounds good. Cream cheese frosting?”

“Yeah! And sprinkles!”

“Of course.”

I used my favorite chocolate cupcakes recipe and added the Junior Mints. While the cupcakes were baking, I made my go-to cream cheese frosting recipe.

Junior Mint cupcakes with cream cheese frosting & sprinkles
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s chocolate cupcake recipe & Food Network’s cream cheese frosting recipe
Makes a dozen cupcakes (I usually have a few extra, as I like to make smaller cupcakes)
Prep time: 25-30 minutes
Baking time: 20-25 minutes
Cooling time: 15-20 minutes

Junior Mint cupcakes with cream cheese frosting & sprinkles.

Junior Mint cupcakes with cream cheese frosting & sprinkles.

Ingredients & supplies

Cream cheese frosting:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • 1 stick of butter, softened at room temperature
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 cups confectionary sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract


  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese.
  2. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract.


  • Muffin tin that holds a dozen regular-sized cupcakes
  • Medium bowl
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Whisk
  • Toothpicks
  • 12-16 paper cupcake liners
  • Wire rack for cooling
  • 3/4 cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 4 oz. boxes of Junior Mints
  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put paper cupcake liners in tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with spatula until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla.
  4. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream. Fold in Junior Mints.
  5. Pour batter into cupcake liners until it’s halfway to 3/4 full (depending on how big you want your cupcakes to be). Brie likes little cupcakes with a ton of frosting, which is why I make mine smaller.
  6. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Cool in tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Cool for 10-15 more minutes.
  8. Frost with cream cheese frosting and top with sprinkles. Enjoy!

Chocolate chip cookie pie with Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce & sea salt

Amanda often jokes that while she doesn’t like to bake, she will gladly provide ingredients for friends who do. (Lucky me!) Earlier this year, she gifted me with a jar of delicious Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce. The port wine adds a dimension of decadence that’s missing from regular caramel sauce. Since it pairs well with chocolate, I decided to fold it into the recipe I usually use for chocolate chip cookie pie.

Chocolate chip cookie pie with Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce & sea salt
Adapted from this recipe
Makes one pie
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 – 30 minutes

Ingredients & supplies:

  • one glass pie dish
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 small mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • good spatula
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus a few pinches to top pie
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus butter to grease pan
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • several tablespoons of Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce
Chocolate chip cookie pie with Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce & sea salt.

Chocolate chip cookie pie with Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce & sea salt.


  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Generously grease pie plate with butter.
  2. In large mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and sea salt together.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar and beat until smooth with a good spatula. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until blended.
  4. Add the butter to the large mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix in the chocolate chips and Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce.
  5. Spread cookie dough into the greased pie plate.
  6. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, sprinkle with extra sea salt, cut, and enjoy!

Fruit pizza with a sugar cookie crust

During summers in college, Athens was a ghost town. When we weren’t taking summer classes, working, or taking advantage of the discounted drink prices downtown, my friends and I would bake delicious desserts. This one is easy to make and is relatively healthy, since it’s topped with fruit. Normally, I make cookie dough from scratch, but for simplicity’s sake, I use pre-made dough for this recipe. Note: you can use whatever fruits you like, if you don’t like the ones in my recipe.

Fruit pizza with a sugar cookie crust
Adapted from this Pillsbury recipe
Makes one pizza, between 8-12 slices, depending on how large you make each slice
Prep time: about 20 minutes
Baking time: 12-18 minutes; Cooling time: 10 minutes
Decorating time: 5-10 minutes
Chilling time: 15 minutes to an hour (we were never able to wait longer than 15 minutes before digging in, but it didn’t taste less awesome)

Fruit pizza with a sugar cookie crust.

Fruit pizza with a sugar cookie crust.

Ingredients & supplies:

  • 1 roll of sugar cookie dough (I use Pillsbury)
  • 1 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 of a kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 10 strawberries, hulled & halved
  • 1/2 cup of blackberries
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 pizza pan
  • plain cooking spray or butter to grease pan
  • small bowl to mix cream cheese “sauce” in and spatula to do mixing


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease pizza pan with cooking spray. Spread sugar cookie dough evenly onto pan. Bake for 12-18 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Cool for 10 minutes.
  3. While the sugar cookie crust is baking, mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl until fully incorporated. (I use a spatula, not a whisk when mixing this, as cream cheese tends to get stuck in a whisk.)
  4. After the sugar cookie crust has cooled, spread the cream cheese onto crust.
  5. Decorate the pizza with the banana, strawberries, kiwi, and blackberries. Enjoy!

Vanilla caramel almond cookies

I’m a chocolate fanatic. The only chocolate desserts I won’t enjoy are poorly executed ones. My boyfriend isn’t a fellow chocoholic, so I came up with a cookie recipe that included three of his favorite things: vanilla, caramel, and almonds. (Note: if you’re not confident in your caramel sauce-making skills, then you can use pre-made caramel sauce instead and skip step 4.)

Vanilla caramel almond cookies
Makes 24 cookies
Prep time: about 20 minutes
Dough-cooling time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 8-12 minutes

Vanilla caramel almond cookies.

Vanilla caramel almond cookies.

Ingredients & supplies:
• 1 stick of butter + an extra thin slice of butter (about 1/4 tbsp)
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 3 tbsps vanilla extract
• pinch of sea salt
• 1/4 tsp baking powder
• 2 cups flour
• 1 cup caramels
• 1 cup sliced almonds (which I just smashed in the bag, so I wouldn’t have to chop them further)
• 2 medium-sized bowls
• 1 saucepan
• 1 sturdy spatula
• 1 cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl, melt butter, then cream white sugar, brown sugar, egg, & vanilla extract into it.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk salt, baking powder, & flour together. combine with butter mixture to make dough.
4. In a saucepan, melt thin slice of butter on medium-high heat and slowly start adding caramels, stirring vigorously with a sturdy spatula.
5. Once caramels are melted, quickly fold into the cookie dough. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes to cool.
6. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, form cookie dough balls and bake for 8 to 12 minutes. Enjoy!

Lumpia shanghai (Filipino spring rolls)

There are different ways to make lumpia, but my favorite is lumpia shanghai. Many people serve it as an appetizer, but you can serve it as an entrée, paired with steamed or stir-fried veggies and steamed jasmine rice. Traditionally, you use ground pork, but I usually use ground turkey breast & ground chicken breast to make it slightly healthier. (Not that deep fried spring rolls are healthy, but I try to lessen cholesterol and calories when indulging in these.)

Lumpia shanghai (Filipino spring rolls)
Modified from the family recipe
Makes 40 spring rolls
Prep time: about 30 minutes (depending on how fast you chop vegetables)
Freezing time: 30 minutes to an hour
Cook time: about 45 minutes

Lumpia shanghai.

Lumpia shanghai.

Ingredients & supplies:

  • 1 package of spring roll wrappers (don’t accidentally buy egg roll wrappers — those are much thicker and take longer to fry.  Don’t get the translucent wrappers, as those aren’t made for frying. The brand I use is Spring Home TYJ spring roll pastry)
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsps. of low sodium soy sauce
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • black pepper (I use a lot of black pepper)
  • a couple pinches of sea salt (you can omit this if you use regular soy sauce, as it has a lot of salt)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • several cloves of garlic, minced (I use four or five, because I’m a big fan of garlic. Adjust the amount to your tastebuds)
  • several scallions, diced (see above)
  • 5 oz. can of water chestnuts, drained & minced
  • 1 carrot, grated (I omit this, as I’m allergic)
  • 1 oz. dried shitake/black mushrooms, reconstituted, squeezed of water, then minced
  • a plate where you wrap your lumpia wrappers in a damp paper towel, so they don’t dry up
  • a plate to roll the lumpia
  • a small dish with beaten a egg white, to seal the lumpia
  • a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, where you will place the lumpia in the freezer
  • tongs to handle lumpia
  • canola oil for frying
  • colander lined with paper towels to dry the lumpia
  • large platter to serve

Sauces to serve with lumpia:

  • duck sauce
  • soy sauce with lemon
  • apple cider vinegar with black pepper & minced garlic

Sides to serve with lumpia, if serving as an entrée:

  • steamed or stir-fried veggies
  • steamed jasmine rice or brown rice


  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix ground turkey breast, ground chicken, beaten egg, soy sauce, black pepper, sea salt, onion, garlic, scallions, water chestnuts, carrot,  and shitake mushrooms thoroughly. You can either use a spoon or your hands to mix the ingredients (I use my hands).
  2. Cut the spring roll wrappers diagonally across, so the wrappers are now triangles. Place on the plate, wrapped in the damp paper towel, so the wrappers won’t dry up.
  3. Take a wrapper and place flat on the plate where you’ll roll the lumpia, with the two points of the triangle pointing up. Put a teaspoon of the filling toward the bottom of the wrapper. Fold each corner over, then roll tightly. Seal the lumpia with a little of your egg white. (If you need some instructions with photos for how to roll them, this recipe is great.)
  4. Place each lumpia on the cookie sheet spaced apart by an inch. If you run out of room, place another piece of parchment paper on top and make another layer of lumpia.
  5. Repeat until you’ve used all of your wrappers & filling.
  6. Cover the cookie sheet with foil & put in freezer for 30 minutes to an hour, until lumpia are frozen solid. Put in large Ziploc bags, until you fry each batch.
  7. Heat a medium sized pot with a couple of inches of canola oil until oil starts to bubble (but not boil) at 350 degrees. Then, carefully drop four or five of the lumpia in the pot. Make sure not to crowd them, so they can properly fry. Fry for 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip and fry for 3-4 minutes on the other side, until brown.
  8. Let lumpia dry in the paper towel-lined colander. After each batch dries, transfer to a large platter. Enjoy!