Summer beverage ready with Margaritaville and Yeti – and Jen’s frozen sangria!

Do you need a summertime splurge or a last minute Father’s Day gift? I’ve got you!

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Pasta attachments for the stand mixer, fresh pasta 101 demo, and Cacio e Pepe

The guy from Gvode asked if he could send me a meat grinder attachment for my stand mixer to try. My KitchenAid stopped rotating after about two years. Breville, Vitamix, Wusthof, and FoodSaver make things right if there’s a malfunction. KitchenAid walks away whistling like the cable companies used to. They are way too expensive to die that quickly. Not to mention landfills. Where are you going to go, though? It’s essential equipment. My injustice bells went off. So I took it apart and popped up a blogpost teaching how to change the gear, step by step, in case it happened to someone else. It’s one of my most popular posts, so I know it’s common. So will I test out a far cheaper off-brand attachment? Heck yes! The Gvode meat grinder functioned exactly the same as the pricey one and had more accessories. When I blogged about it, the manufacturer came on and commented on my post that he puts it on a sale price every other week on Amazon so my readers can watch for a discount. Class act. He sent a pasta roller and cutter, too. I’m testing that, too, because it can potentially save people money. So let’s make some pasta!

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Fitbit and Increasing My Jogging Endurance.

#Fitbit @Fitbit #RSPNutrition @RSPNutrition

I was sort of missing in action this summer. I was playing with my smoker and salads, hiking with friends and family in Yellowstone, hanging with my fam, and redoing our gameroom. And I got a Fitbit.

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David Sedaris, Calypso, and Fitbit

#DavidSedaris @DavidSedaris #Calypso #HalfPriceBooks @HalfPriceBooks #Fitbit @Fitbit

I scroll through my email and see An Evening with David Sedaris. It’s at the Half Price Books flagship store in Dallas, or as I lovingly refer to it, the mothership. Calypso. He’s got a new book? No. It came out a year ago. Thank God for that email, because we hadn’t heard of it. I ordered a copy and could barely stand the 24 hour wait.

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Jen’s West African Peanut Soup and a stunning knife

Twenty-something years ago, when we were still newlyweds, I asked my husband if there were any favorite foods he had that I wasn’t making. He thought for a minute and said, “Yeah. Peanut soup. When I was in basic training, we had it once when we were out on leave, and it was one of the best things I’d ever eaten.” Huh. I’d never heard of peanut soup before.

It’s a West African dish, filled with all kinds of nutritious stuff. I had to make it. It was amazing! I kept it constantly in the rotation, tweaking it to my heart’s content, because it’s just as delicious as it is good for you. Perfect.

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Jen’s raclettes. Cheesy, melty, oozy deliciousness, and the most relaxing party you can host. Yeah.

I put 5 miles on my sneakers on most days. Yesterday was 9 because it was so nice out. I started in a winter coat this morning, and pretty quickly tied it around my waist because it was t-shirt comfy outside. I’m down in Texas, loving the spring blossoms everywhere, but feeling pretty guilty about all this sunshine when I see my buddies up north posting pics of snowy windows, and having one more cup of coffee before grabbing their shovels. Brrrrr! I grew up in Wisconsin, and lived most of my adult life in New York, so I remember big old banks of snow all too well. So this post is for my friends in the frozen tundra. A peace offering for all my flowery posts.

chefThere used to be a show on Public Television called Chef. Oh, it was great! Lenny Henry played Chef Gareth Blackstock. In a few episodes, Chef sets up meetings with illegal fill-in-the-blank suppliers in the woods in the British countryside. He’s always the most wonderful blend of absolute nervousness and excitement. Awesome. When those Facebook quizzes come out asking if a friend ever saw you in the back of a police car, what would it be for, my friends would tell you it would involve cheese. My husband knows that it would be the height of romance if he could arrange a questionable cheese transaction in England for me. Holiday made.

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Jen’s Rock Star Jalapeño Roast Chicken & Vegetables! The Twine Swine be Thine!


Twine Swine. It may be the perfect gift. You can hand it to your friend, and in your best Shakespearian theatrical style, loudly proclaim, “The Twine Swine be Thine!” as you Twine Swine be Thinethrust your arm skyward. Yeah, I know. That’s a picture from Braveheart, but my attention span wavered a bit looking for just the right Henry V shot. Or you could treat yoself. In that case, it would be more like Montgomery Burns drumming his fingers together and declaring quietly and creepily, “The Twine Swine is mine.” Either way, people will be happy.

Twine Swine is Mine

Really, I think Twine Swine might have been invented by pigs who were sick of bacon trending, wanting to see people eat more chicken. They might have been inspired by the Chick-fil-a cows. I love roast chicken. Ina Garten makes a perfect roast chicken in Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients. It’s lickable. Then I got Marcela Valodolid’s Casa Marcela: Recipes and Food Stories of My Life in the Californias. She sticks jalapeños under the skin of the roast chicken and it’s a total game changer. It’s not really spicy, just insanely flavorful. I played with their ideas, and it was like Ina’s chicken and Marcela’s chicken had a delicious, delicious baby. Here’s my Rock Star Jalapeño Roast Chicken and Vegetables.

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Jen’s Bacon, Berry, Brie, and Caramel Apple Waffle with Warm Maple Syrup

We have a glorious brunch place in Fort Worth, Texas, that I adore. It’s called Bird Café. It’s a wonderful place, and you must go if you’re ever in town. Their brunch cocktail menu is inspiring. My husband’s favorite thing there is called the Mother and Child Reunion. It’s fried chicken, a poached egg, and jalapeno gravy on a bed of grits. <I know!> But you will forgive their sick sense of humor the second you taste it. My favorite is called The Badass Waffle. It’s a waffle covered in berries, caramel apples, bacon, brie fondue, and maple syrup. It’s why I have a mouth.

Texas Waffle makerI should probably explain why I’m telling you about that amazing waffle. We’re doing a traditional Texas Christmas Eve this year. That’s tamales, queso, and margaritas. I thought it would be super fun to decorate in an understated cowboy glam. Then I wondered to myself what the best Texas Christmas Eve breakfast would be. Well, migas are my favorite, but I make them constantly. We’ve always cracked up at the Texas shaped waffles that you see in hotels all over the state. I have a killer double waffle maker, so I couldn’t justify buying The Texas Waffle Maker. Well, I can think of no better excuse than Christmas Eve morning! Now for a waffle that’s special enough. I had to try to recreate that Bacon, Berry, Brie, and Caramel Apple Waffle with Warm Maple Syrup. Sounds like a delicious challenge to me! Giddy up!

Double Waffle

I love yeasty waffles with a bit of exterior crunch from Belgian pearl sugar. I adapted a King Arthur waffle recipe as my jumping off point.

Vegetarian friends, go ahead and skip the bacon, and go to your happy place. Swine-enthusiasts –scale up the bacon as needed. You do you.

My Amazon affiliate links to the waffle irons are below the recipe if you need one.


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Sous vide. Food jacuzzi. Foodcuzzi. Perfect foodie gift.

We have a beautiful wrought iron, propane fire pit with glass marbles in the back yard. And in the house we have a gas fireplace with a switch on the wall. I love the thing. Last year, we vacationed in Taos, New Mexico. Killer trip. The ranch where Georgia O’Keeffe’s home is, and where City Slickers was filmed, is about an hour from there, and they give horseback tours of it all. It’s absolutely idyllic. There are charming museums, stores that sell fun metal sculptures from Mexico, the scenic Rio Grande Gorge Bridge where you can see goats playing, some neat restaurants, and it’s about an hour from skiing in Red River. The hotel we stayed at had a bocce court, and we could see prairie dogs playing all over out the back window. The room had an adobe fireplace in the corner that was amazingly efficient. My husband was in love with that thing. A year later, still having that urge to burn wood, he had to get a chiminea. That means I get to spend the same on a no reason kitchen toy. Awesome. Continue reading “Sous vide. Food jacuzzi. Foodcuzzi. Perfect foodie gift.”