killing time between meals

where talking about what's for dinner while you're at lunch is totally acceptable


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It’s In the Books

Guess what? I made it into a real-life, hardback cookbook!

at-my-grandmothers-table

At My Grandmother’s Table is a collection of stories and recipes from Southern grandmothers, and I am honored to be a part. Check it out here. Below is one of the three recipes I submitted from my great grandmother, Mamaw Lucy.

Lemon Ice Box Pie
Makes 1 pie that serves 6 if you’re lucky

1 box vanilla wafers
¼ cup butter, melted
3 eggs, room temperature and separated
1 can sweetened condensed milk
¼ to ½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
5 to 7 tablespoons sugar

  • Crush the vanilla wafers (about 1½ cups) and mix with butter. Press crust into pie pan.
  • Beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. Slowly beat in lemon juice. Beat until very thick. Pour into crust.
  • In a glass bowl, beat together egg whites with cream of tartar, adding sugar one tablespoon at a time. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Layer on pie. Place under a broiler on high to brown. Watch closely so meringue does not burn. Line the edge with whole vanilla wafers to finish.


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Cookbook Confessions

Amazon is such a lovely thing. You click buttons and they send you stuff like this:

The Pioneer Woman’s second cookbook contains tasty treats and guilty pleasures. Farm Anatomy is filled with whimsical, yet precise, illustrations identifying everything from barn styles to sheep breeds (along with recipes, of course). See:

I might be a bit of a food book hoarder. It seems the cookbook shelf runneth over.

Not that that stops me.
Another reason I love Amazon is because they let you preorder things. Like this:

That’s right, people. My favorite girl Ina has a new cookbook coming out! There is one downside: I won’t get it until October 30th. Sheesh! That’s more than six months away. I’m sure it will be well worth the wait. If you’re a crazy fan like me, preorder your copy here.

Do you have any food books you can’t live without?


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Home, Home on the Cooking Range

In case you haven’t already heard, The Pioneer Woman has gotten her own show on Food Network. Yee-haw! I have been a big fan of Ree Drummond’s blog and cookbook for awhile. Apparently I’m not the only one—the woman has 13 million people following her blog. And if her on screen personality is anything like her writing style, the whole rest of the world is gonna fall right in love with her too.

If you don’t have this cookbook, check it out. I tend to use it more in the winter because Ree serves up some very hearty meals to her cowboys & cowgirls. So far my favorite recipe is the lasagna—it is always a huge hit and bound to be a future post.

Anyway, I’ll be tuning in August 27 at 10:30. Will you?


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What’s Your Go-To Dinner?

I have Ina Garten to thank for many foodie things in my life: a collection of her cookbooks that I use again and again, an appreciation for the simple truth that less honestly is more when it comes to good food, the courage to cook with new ingredients because she makes it look so easy, and (most importantly for my daily life) my favorite go-to dinner recipe—Summer Garden Pasta.

You should buy this if you don’t already have it.

We all have that one easy dish we rely on, right? This recipe from her Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook is so simple and satisfying, and the ingredients are things I keep on hand.

You remember garlic, my first love.

This stuff is the BEST. Just put it in a glass of water on your window sill and it will last for weeks.

These are delish in all kinds of dishes. Keep them around. You’ll be glad you did.

I make this pasta at least once a week, especially in summer when the tomatoes are at their finest. Click the link above to see Ina’s original recipe. My version is just slightly adapted. If you are a serious carnivore, feel free to throw some grilled chicken or salmon on top. As Ina would say, “How bad could that be?”

Summer Garden Pasta (aka Garlicky Tomato Pasta)
Adapted from Ina Garten; Makes one generous serving

½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (Adjust this to your preference—the garlic is raw, so it’s very strong. I use 3 cloves, but I am crazy like that.)
5 or so large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Kosher salt & pepper
1 serving dried long-cut pasta (I usually have whole wheat linguine, so that’s what I use. But you can use regular angel hair or whatevs you have.)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature. Ina says to let this sit for about 4 hours (at least 2 ½ hours), but sometimes I just don’t have time for that. The longer it sits, the better; however, I have thrown it all together in 20 minutes and it still tasted good to me.
  • Just before you’re ready to eat, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.
  • Drain the pasta and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Add the cheese and some extra basil, and toss well.

I may or may not have sprinkled more cheese on top after I snapped this picture.


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Gwyneth of All Trades

First she’s an Academy Award-winning actress, then she wants to sing, next she writes a blog … Maybe I sound cynical, but I generally don’t like it when celebrities to try branch out of their forte. (i.e. Shaquille O’Neal decides that he wants to be an actor and gives us Kazaam. I’m sorry, but the world did not need that. Stick to shooting hoops, please.) However, Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, My Father’s Daughter, might prove my skepticism wrong and demonstrate a step in a new direction for her that I can approve of. Plus, she’s just so dang likable.

Starting the introduction with, “Okay, I wrote a cookbook. Why? You may ask.” tells me that Gwyneth knows that I know that she’s not a trained chef. I find this attitude endearing, and it makes me trust her culinary sensibilities more. And besides the fact that this overall effort is a sweet tribute to her father, Gwyneth manages to make things even more personal with quotes by her children, memorable stories, and old family photos.

The book has an atmosphere of ease and approachability, and I like that. Gwyneth also includes great tips (from a well-stocked pantry list to tasks for kids), recipes using ingredients I like to eat anyway, and handy icons to let you know if the dish is make-ahead, quick, vegetarian, one-pot, etc. But perhaps the most drawing piece of this cookbook is the photography. It. Is. GORGEOUS. Definitely worth checking out if for that reason alone. (I would post a picture to tease you, but Amazon won’t let me. Psh!)

Side note: Other celebs are jumping on this cookbook bandwagon, too. Eva Longoria just published Eva’s Kitchen, a cookbook with Hispanic flair, and Sheryl Crow has given us If It Makes You Healthy (I wish I was joking about that title), based on eating seasonally. Can these people really cook? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a fad or another way for the rich & famous to keep expanding their empires, but who am I to turn down more recipes to explore for myself?