Life, Love and my passion for cooking

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Carson City, NV, United States
I grew up in Illinois in a small town. I moved to California in May of 2000.In that time I have experienced life, love and my passion for cooking. We now live in Nevada. I hope to take my passion for cooking to a new level.


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Friday, December 28, 2012

cookies and beer

Chocolate stout cookies with salted caramel frosting

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1Tbsp dark cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
6 ounces stout- I used Murphy's stout
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1 bag of salted pretzels
Salted Caramel Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
Pinch of salt
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream- I use the whipping cream from Trader Joes.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powders, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
Beat butter with sugars with a mixer using the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and egg and beat to combine. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the beer. Beat just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.
Chill dough in the fridge for about 15 minutes or until firm enough to scoop.
Using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350°F for 15-17 minutes or until tops spring back lightly when touched. Cool on pan for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Salted Caramel Frosting
In a medium saucepan, melt butter, salt and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil unstirred for 1-2 minutes.
Remove from heat and immediately whisk in cream.  Whisk in vanilla. Cool 5-10 minutes, and then stir in 1 cup powdered sugar. Whisk briskly to smooth out any lumps. Add powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking briskly between each addition, until frosting is firm enough that the whisk tracks don’t sink all the way back into the frosting.
Crush the pretzels in a ziploc bag. Sprinkle them on the cookies. Press down lightly so the pretzels stick. The cookies will keep in an air tight container for a few days.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Leaha's spicy white chicken chili

1 whole 3-4 pound chicken
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 whole garlic bulb (top cut off)
1 fresh rosemary sprig (or dried chopped rosemary)
1 large sweet onion (chopped)
1 red bell pepper (chopped)
1 yellow bell pepper (chopped)
2 jalapenos (chopped with seeds)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon dried ground red hot peppers
(a great mixture from my moms garden in Illinois)
1 can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can black beans or another can of cannellini beans
1 cup chicken broth (divided)
Cilantro for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400. Heat up a dutch oven or deep pan with a tablespoon canola oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on each side. Place the chicken breast side down and brown it for 4 minutes. Once it is brown turn off the heat leave the chicken in the pan or dutch oven. Flip the chicken back over. Place the garlic bulb inside the cavity along with the rosemary sprigs. If you are using dried chopped rosemary just rub it all over the chicken. Then add 1/2 cup chicken broth. Bake the chicken for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, get a bowl and chop all your veggies. The onion, bell peppers and jalapenos. Add your herbs and spices to the veggies and mix well. Set the bowl of veggies aside while the chicken is cooking.
When the chicken is done the internal temp will reach 165. Test the chickens dark meat for the internal temp. The dark meat takes the longest to cook. Also the juices will run clear and chicken will fall apart. Remove the chicken from the pan and place the chicken on a cutting board to rest and cool while you prepare the chili.
The chicken will have left a wonderful juice at the bottom of the dutch oven or pan. Bring the juices to a small simmer on the stove. Add the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth and two tablespoons of flour. Whisk until the mixture is thick. Then add all your veggies, if when you add your veggies the mixture seems too thick add a little more chicken broth. Let the veggies simmer for 10 minutes.
While the veggies are simmering prepare the chicken for the chili. Separate the white meat and dark meat from the chicken. Shred the chicken up and put it in a bowl. Then add it to the veggie mixture. Then add your beans and stir. let it simmer for a few minutes to warm up the beans. Top with cilantro serve and enjoy!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Asian Tacos

Sriracha chicken cut into cubes- I always have some left over from my crispy sriracha chicken recipe.

1 package Guerrero corn tortillas

1 pan of white rice- I use Jasmine rice from Trader Joes

Bok choy- rinsed and thinly sliced

Nori seasoning

Wasabi sauce


Start by making your rice according to the instructions on the bag. While the rice is cooking chop up your chicken into cubes. Next chop up your bok choy. When the rice is done it is time to assemble your tacos.

I take my tortilla and toast it over the flame on the stove. Then I add my rice, nori seasoning, chicken, bok choy and then my wasabi sauce and sriracha. Thats it! now enjoy.


Thanksgiving Stuffing
serves 8
1 pan of skillet cornbread cut into large cubes
l loaf sourdough bread cut into large cubes
1 loaf beer bread cut into large cubes
1 stick of butter
1 large sweet onion chopped
3 cups celery chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp Fresh chopped sage
1/4 cup Fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon Dried chopped rosemary
1 tespoon Dried Thyme
salt and pepper to taste
I use three loafs of bread. I like to use my beer bread recipe and skillet cornbread from The Pioneer Woman. Any other bread will do just fine. French bread or sourdough bread works well also.
If you have time cut the bread into cubes and let it dry out on cookie sheets over night. If you are baking the stuffing the same day just use less chicken broth. While I stir everything together I decide how moist I want the stuffing.
Preheat the oven to 400.
Cut the bread into large cubes and place them in a large pan so you can easily stir everything together.
heat up a large skillet add butter. Then onion and celery. Then add herbs. Cook until onion and celery are soft. Add all of this to the pan with the cubes of bread. Then start to laddle the chicken broth into the mixture. Stir carefully so that you don't break up the bread too much. Make sure it is nice and soft, but not soggy.

Transfer the stuffing to a 9x13 pan. Place into the preheated oven for 30 minutes covered. Then take the foil or oven safe lid off and baked for 25 more minutes or until golden brown on top.
 I have added a few suggestions below:
If you want to make the two breads I added to my stuffing:
the skillet cornbread can be found at just search for it in her recipes. My beer bread is located on my blog. If you have the time it really makes a difference using fresh baked bread.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sriracha Chicken

Crispy Sriracha Chicken
1 package chicken pieces bone in skin on.
3 tablespoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sake
2 cloves of garlic pressed
1 tablespoon dried rosemary minced
1/4 cup low fat buttermilk
2 gallon size Ziploc bags
When I buy chicken I like to buy Empire kosher chicken from Trader Joes. The package has 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts and 2 legs.

Take the chicken out of the package. I place one of each piece of chicken in each Ziploc.

I then add all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk it well. Then pour half the marinade into one bag with the chicken and the rest in the other bag of chicken.
Seal the bags well and place them into the refrigerator for
4-6 hours. While the chicken is marinating make sure you turn the bags over a few times in the hours it marinades so the chicken is coated evenly.
When the chicken is done marinating preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken into a 9x13 pan. Take each piece out of the bag and arrange it into the pan. I use tongs to do this so it doesn't get messy! There will be marinade left in each bag. Pour it over the chicken. Then place the pan into the oven uncovered for 40 min. The internal temperature should reach 165 or the juices should run clear when it is done.
I serve my chicken with White Jasmine rice and sauted bok choy. I chop the bok choy very thin and small and toss it in a cast iron pan with a little toasted sesame oil. I like to sprinkle it with nori seasoning and top it with wasabi sauce and or sriracha.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mini Pumpkins

Mini spider pumpkin candles

I saw this idea in a magazine. I thought it would be cute to put these out for Halloween. All you need to make these cute little guys are black pipe cleaners, a sharp small kitchen knife such as a paring knife, the mini pumpkins and candles. I plan to get some flameless votives when I set them out on Halloween.

1. Measure the opening so it fits the candle.

2. Cut open the pumpkin and clean out all the seeds

3. Then cut the pipe cleaners for the legs. Bend the legs so they look like spider legs.

4. Then pull off some of the black fuzz and push them into the side of the pumpkin.

5. Fit the candle in the center. Then light it and you have a fun festive decoration for Halloween.

NOTE: when I first made these I used a glue gun to put the legs on they ended up falling off.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My fall favorites




     I love fall! I enjoy lighting my favorite fall candle preheating the oven and getting started on my recipes. It stays pretty warm in Southern California all year long. I try to take the cool days that we get once in a while and bake my favorite fall cookies and snacks.

     One of my favorite snacks is Pumpkin Seeds. They are so easy and cheap to make. A small sugar pumpkin is only $2.00 at Trader Joe's. I use the pumpkin and the seeds. Pumpkin freezes well so if you only have a few cool days a year make the best of it and bake a few pumpkins and freeze the puree in Ziploc. When pumpkins are almost out at the stores its nice to have it. The canned pumpkin has gone up so much in price that its cheaper to buy a fresh pumpkin. It is time consuming but worth it. You can do so many things with pumpkin. You can make Pancakes, cookies, muffins or even bread. You can even add pumpkin to dishes for dinner.

Pumpkin Seeds

     First cut your pumpkin in half and clean out the inside. Separate the seeds from the pumpkin guts. Sometimes it doesn't all come off but that's ok it will roast up nice in the oven.

     Then, soak the seeds over night in water. Let them sit over night in the refrigerator. The next day preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pour the seeds into a strainer. Rinse them with cool water under the faucet. Spray your cookie sheet with non stick spray. Pour the seeds on the cookie sheet. spread them out evenly. Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. I usually use salt and pepper, other options could be cayenne pepper. If you want a sweet snack sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon on them. 

     Next put them in the oven set the time for 25 minutes. Then stir them. I like my seeds nice and crispy so I stir and set for another 25 minutes. I let them cool and put them in a Ziploc for snacking.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall cookies

Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 cup butter (1 stick room temperature)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Molasses
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons milk

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
then add the Molasses and the egg beat until well blended.
Then add the pumpkin stir in the pumpkin. Then add the milk one tablespoon at a time.

In another bowl add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and pumpkin pie spice.

Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture. Blend well but do not over mix. I use a small ice cream scoop that is about a tablespoon in size and add the mixture to a cookie stone. You can use a regular cookie sheet just spray it lightly with non stick spray. bake the cookies for 10-12 min. I start with 10 min. Transfer to a cooling rack let cool.

NOTE: I usually use canned pumpkin. When I have the time I buy a small sugar pumpkin from Trader Joe's. I cut the top and bottom off cut it in half and remove seeds and clean the inside out. Cut it in half again and place it on a cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven for 1 hr. Let the pumpkin cool completely then remove the skin. Puree in a food processor. One pumpkin makes about 1-1/2 cups. Depends on the size. I usually will buy two so I can freeze the rest for more cookies or pumpkin pancakes!:)

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Pumpkin Quesadillas


4 large flour tortillas
1 cup canned pumpkin
4 oz goat cheese
1 cup walnuts chopped
1 tsp Rosemary
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix pumpkin, rosemary, cumin, coriander, pumpkin pie spice and salt and pepper in a bowl.

Then spread some of the pumpkin mixture onto the tortilla. Sprinkle with goat cheese and walnuts. Take the second tortilla and place it on top, press down gently. Then heat up your skillet with tablespoon of oil. Then heat the quesadilla. Brown both sides and make sure the cheese is melted. Then transfer to a plate and cut into triangles. Repeat this step for the second one. This feeds two hungry people!

NOTE: another cheese you can use is parmesan if you don't care for strong cheeses.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Healthy veggie recipe

Veggie Barley Salad

1 cup barley
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 orange bell pepper chopped
1 spicy pepper chopped- any kind
1/2 cup light feta cheese or any cheese that crumbles. Blue cheese or queso fresco are good choices.
1/2 cup black olives (optional)
1 heirloom tomato I had nice pretty green colored heirlooms. Vine ripe tomatos work just as well, chopped (optional) 


Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk

1/4 cup balsamic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves chopped fine
fresh ground pepper
pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/2 tsp fresh basil

Cook barley with 2 1/4 cups water in a 4 quart pot. Bring to boil then cover and simmer for 40 min. When barley is done let it cool in the pot. Put the barley into a colander and rinse with cool water a few times until its cool.

Meanwhile, chop all your veggies and add them to the barley in a large mixing bowl. Then make the dressing. Add the feta and dressing and mix with salad spoons. Serve in small bowls and enjoy!

keeps in an air tight container for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. This amount makes enough for 4 servings.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Roasted Heirloom Tomato Salsa

Items used:
Old crusty roasting pan- any deep metal pan will do but best results come from old roasting pans.

Stainless steel grill pan- i used this so that the tomatoes would be nicely roasted and not too watery and soggy. It fits perfect in my roasting pan.

1. 12 Heirloom Tomatoes- large and small sizes

2. Two Jalapeno peppers chopped with seeds and a few yellow peppers with seeds.

3. 1 large sweet onion chopped

4. Extra virgin olive oil

5. Leaf oregano

6. Ancho chili pepper

7. Kosher Salt

8. Dried Basil

9. Coriander


12. I also added a secret spice- it is very hot and you only need a tiny bit. It is basically home grown dried chili peppers ground up in my spice grinder. Feel free to add something spicy of your choice!

11. Nice handful of chopped Cilantro- add last when salsa is ready to be served.

I preheated the oven to 450. Spray the grill pan with non stick spray. Chop all the tomatoes and put them in a bowl. Season them with all the herbs except the cilantro. Then add them to the tray for roasting. Next drizzle a nice amount of Extra virgin olive oil to coat the tomatoes. Then chop the peppers and onions and coat them with olive oil. My oven is small so I roasted the tomatoes first and then roasted the peppers and onions.

Roast the tomatoes for 35-40 minutes. Then Roast the Peppers and onions for 30 minutes let them cool until ready to blend. I like my salsa blended. If you like yours chunky then leave them chopped. I blended  the tomatoes and pepper mixture in half amounts because it all does not fit in the food processor at one time. Blend half the tomatoes and half the peppers and onions. Then transfer to a bowl. Then repeat with the other half.

When everything is blended and in one bowl refrigerate the salsa so the flavors can blend together. Then serve with your favorite chips and enjoy!

Friday, August 17, 2012

When life gives you lemons make muffins!

Lemon Muffins

2 cups Flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 lemons + 1 for glaze

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk or milk
(if using buttermilk the batter might be a bit thicker just add a little extra water or milk so its not too thick)

1/2 cup plain non fat yogurt

6 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400.
Grease your muffin tin with non stick cooking spray or use paper muffin liners.
Combine flour, sugar, b.soda and salt. set aside.

Take your three lemons and grate all the lemon rind off and put the rind in the bowl with the dry ingredients. Then you will need to squeeze all the juice from the three lemons. Make sure you strain the juice so the seeds don't fall in. Then pour it into the dry ingredients bowl. Mix well.

In a separate bowl mix eggs, buttermilk or milk, yogurt, and oil. Then slowly add it to the dry ingredients.

Then spoon the batter into a muffin tin of choice. 12 regular size or 6 large. I used a muffin tin for 6 large muffins.

Place into the oven and bake 20 min.
Insert a toothpick to check for doneness.

Lemon Glaze:(Optional)

about 1/4 cup confectioners sugar or a little more
rind and juice from one lemon
Mix together and decide if you need more juice or sugar. 

after the muffins cool drizzle a little on top of each muffin before serving. I also sprinkled a little confectioners sugar on top of the glaze.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cool pasta for a hot day!

Lemon Basil Pasta

16 oz bag Penne pasta- cook according to box directions

Large bunch fresh basil- chopped

8 oz container low fat ricotta cheese- (if all you can find is a 16oz container use about half.)

¼ cup olive oil

Zest from 1 lemon & half the juice

Salt & pepper to taste.

Sprinkle of sunflower seeds or pine nuts

Boil pasta according to directions on the box.

Make sure you cool the pasta completely in a strainer with cold water and drizzle with about a teaspoon of olive oil to keep it from sticking.

Get a large mixing bowl.  Place pasta in the bowl with ¼ cup olive oil, lemon zest and Lemon juice in the bowl with salt and pepper. Toss well to coat the pasta.

In a separate bowl mix the container of ricotta and basil together. Then add it to the pasta mixture. Stir well and fold the ricotta mixture into the pasta making sure you don’t break up the pasta. We like to sprinkle the top with sunflower seeds it gives it an nice nutty taste.
It is best to refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Enjoy!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Salad with homemade dressing

Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing



The dressing:

1/2 cup Frozen Raspberries
Fresh Basil- 3 or 4 leaves
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons dried mustard or Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in the food processor
Blend it until smooth
pour into a container for serving.

Fresh romaine lettuce chopped
Half a bag of trader Joe's herb salad chopped
1/4 cup chopped candied pecans
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 apple chopped

Chop salad greens and top with pecans, blue cheese and apples. Drizzle the raspberry dressing on top.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Breakfast with the Pompeys

Breakfast burrito

We opened the refrigerator this morning and we had some healthy 100 calorie wraps, eggs, salad greens, spicy black bean dip, avocado, red onion, pea shoots and trader joes hot sauce. We hope you are enjoying your Saturday morning breakfast as much as we are!;)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sweet and Spicy!

Asian rice noodle stir fry

1- 14oz container of fresh rice noodles- trader joes,cook as directed.

2 chicken breasts cut into cubes

Marinade for chicken
2 tablespoons General Tsao stir fry sauce- Trader Joes
1 tablespoon garlic chili paste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce

Vegetable mixture
A few handfuls of veggie slaw- this is premixed in small bags at the grocery store. It is a mixture of carrots, broccoli and cauliflower or cabbage

3 bell peppers chopped
1 broccoli crown chopped fine
1 small red onion chopped fine
2 baby bok choy chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
2 green onions chopped- for garnish
wasabi sauce(a spicy topping)

1. cut chicken breasts into cubes. Toss the chicken with the marinade: garlic chili paste, sesame oil, soy sauce and Tsao stir fry sauce. A tablespoon or so of each. let sit for a short time to marinade or longer if you can.

2. Heat a pan with a little oil. Toss the chicken into the pan cook about 10 min or until chicken is done and has reached internal temp of 165.

3. The rice noodles cook for 5-7 minutes so you can boil the water while the chicken is cooking and then cook the noodles as directed.
4. In a separate pan heat a little sesame oil. toss all the veggies in except the green onion and basil. Saute until done to your liking.

5. Place a handful of rice noodles in a bowl drizzle a little of the tsao sauce over the noodles, then add veggies and top with the chicken. Sprinkle some green onion, fresh basil,and wasabi sauce. If you like a little extra spice also drizzle some sriracha sauce on top.