The End of our Culinary Cooking Challenge

I can’t believe it. It’s over. Back in February my sister and I decided to go on a crazy culinary journey and now that journey for the timing being is at an end.

I won’t do a recap of every week here as I did that at 20th week marker(read here) but I will go week by week and do our top pick for the week. As a farewell to all the goodies…

Week #1 California

Burrito Bowl with Cajun Fries

Week #2 Lemon

Lemon Rustic Bread

Week #3 Favorites

Hot Milk Cake

Week #4 Soul Food

Buttermilk Biscuits, Sausage Gravy and Fried Apples

Week #5 Jane Austen

Root Vegetable Tart

Week #6 Redwall

Gatehouse Tea Loaf

Week #7 Coffee

Cardamom Coffee Braided Loaves

Week #8 Vegan

Vegan Birthday Cake

Week #9 Italian

Italian Breakfast Quiche

Week #10 Vietnamese

Breakfast Bao

Week #11 BBQ

BBQ Chicken Skewers

Week #12 Mom’s Picks

Italian Focaccia

Week #13 Harry Potter

Hot cross Buns

Week #14 Caribbean

Jamaican Coco Bread

Week #15 Icelandic

Kleina Fried Donuts

Week #16 Tay’s Birthday

Ale House Bacon Bread

Week #17 Non-break

Oatmeal Pies

Week #18 Hungary

Sour Cream and Cabbage Casserole

Week #19 Blueberry

Blueberry Cheesecake

Week #20 Tay Cooks

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Week #21 Pizza

Homemade Pizza Obviously

Week #22 Swedish

Sugar Shortbread Cookies

Week #23 Scottish

Scots Eggs

Week #24 French

Pumpkin Soufflé

Week #25 Picnic

Chicken Tortellini Soup

Week #26 Sleepy Hallow

Apple Cider Cake

And that is it! Whew! What an adventure. Thank you so much for joining us on this incredible adventure. And our adventures aren’t over. Stay tuned for an extra special announcement!

Lots of love,


Culinary Challenge Week #20

Welcome to a very special edition of the Culinary Cooking Challenge! Over twenty weeks ago(read here) my sister and I started on a grand adventure of cooking. And while we have missed a week here or there for various reasons for the most part we have stayed on task and created some amazing dishes!

With this being a milestone of epic proportions!(I mean come on! Twenty weeks is pretty impressive) We both decided to do something extra special and have Tay do the cooking. But before we get to Tay’s creations let’s do a brief recap of our weeks so far…

The countdown…

Week #1 California
Week #2 Lemon
Week #3 Favorites
Week #4 Soul Food
Week #5 Pride&Prejudice
Week #6 Redwall
Week #7 Coffee
Week #8 Vegan
Week #9 Italian
Week #10 Vietnamese
Week #11 BBQ
Week #12 Mom’s Picks
Week #13 Harry Potter
Week #14 Caribbean
Week #15 Iceland
Week #16 Tay’s Birthday
Week #17 Leftovers
Week #18 Hungarian
Week #19 Blueberry

I’m not saying that’s a crap ton of food- but it is… It really is. And now for the recap of-

Week Twenty!

Shirley Temples 7 out of 10

Taylor is the unofficial queen of mixing nonalcoholic drinks. Remember Caribbean week(here)? Anyway these shirleys were no exception. Very yummy.

Cinnamon Streusel Muffins 8 out of 10

Okay so in all honesty I made these- it has been a crappy week here and I needed baking release. So this streusel muffins were a necessity.

Steak Meal 9 out of 10

If you could only smell it! Steak strips, yeast rolls and steamed broccoli. All the things that make me happy. Tay’s meal for the week was very delicious.

French Loaf out of 10

Again I made the bread because that was thing Tay was not comfortable attempting.

Chocolate Chip Cookies 4 out of 10

Yeah so this was an epic cookie fail. Don’t let looks deceive you these chocolate chip cookies were actually… not the greatest. But In her defense she’d had a wonky evening and is super stressed about college starting up when she made these, so I think she did pretty darn well.

Our next word is Pizza!

Lots of love,


By the by Tay tried again and rocked these cookies!! 10 out of 10

Taking My Mom to Tampa

I’m finally on the move again. Traveling- ah how I have missed you! So every year my sister and I try to plan a fun get away for the two of us(though others have been dragged along with us) and this year was supposed to be a driving tour of Iceland. However due to COVID this trip has been postponed to maybe next year. Instead we decided to plan a trip to New Orleans(which was to be last year’s trip-) Though we might shuffle it for a different trip… still deciding.

So when my Mom suggested a quick trip to Tampa over Mother’s Day I was ready to sign up! Here’s just a quick recap of our adventures in the sun…

Madeira Beach, FL.

So we stayed at an Airbnb rental across the street from the fabulous white sands of Madeira Beach. Neither of us had been to this particular beach before and kinda went in blind. And we were in love- Like we’re already planning next years trip!

The view from our door.
The rental’s pool- which we spent a lot of time beside and in.

Day #1

Was the dreaded(just because it’s exhausting) flight from O’Hara Airport to Tampa. We got into our rental at like 7:30pm and decided just to stay in and order delivery from Glory Days Grill. Which was very yummy. The main reason we ordered from them is we wanted a gallon of ice tea to keep at our room and which lasted our whole trip.

Day #2

Our second day was gorgeous! (In fact weather for the whole trip was fabulous! Upper 80’s no humidity and a very pleasant breeze) We started our day by walking down the street to Sweet Brewnette Coffee Shop for coffee(obviously) and breakfast.

Highly- highly recommend Sweet Brewnette. We came here every morning and enjoyed everything we tried. Plus the ladies here are super sweet.

After breakfast was a walk down the beach…

Then we dashed back to the room, threw on our swimsuits and packed a cold lunch for a day on the sand and in the water.

I got my Mom and me matching swimsuits from Albion Fit. We rocked it! #twinning #winning

So we may have gotten a little too much sun but after a brief nap and pool swim back at the room; we walked down toward’s John’s Pass Boardwalk. Basically a super cool village of shops and restaurants. We popped into a few shops, but then headed to Mad Beach Bar and Grille for supper.

Our table overlooking the waterfront.
If you go there we highly recommend the Beach Girl drink(we got ours nonalcoholic) So good!
And the fish feast! Crab, mussels, shrimp and clams. Plus corn on the cob, potatoes, and sausage!
Save room for a piece of Key Lime pie. Our tummies were very happy that night.

Day #3

The next morning we once again headed for Sweet Brewnette where we got their Tropical Smoothies for breakfast and then trolled the beach.

Bridge from Madeira to Treasure Island.

After our beach walk we went shopping!!

Tea and Spice Shop… may have spent too much money here.
Also spent a bit here, but I mean it’s gourmet popcorn and they give you free samples… which cause you to buy a little of everything. (Though Birthday Cake and Strawberry were my favs)

For a lunch break we head to Pirate’s Pub for some gator bites.

We loved the gator by the way.

Then we headed back to our room for a swim and a nap. With plenty of leftovers for dinner we did walk down the street to The Candy Kitchen for something sweet.

A Lemon Italian Ice. So refreshing.

To end our day we headed back to the beach to watch the sunset.

Day #4

Keeping with tradition we once again made our way to Sweet Brewnette.

And then back to the beach for some sun time. And a few surprises!

When you see it… Yeah not a shark, but dolphins! They swam right up to the beach chasing fish. It was sooo cool!!

After the dolphins we did some last shopping and then headed to the Friendly Fisherman on the broad walk for lunch.

Tropical Lemonade
Fried Calamari… umm amazing!
Corn fritters, coleslaw, scallops, shrimp and gouber over a bed of rice. So good! Like crazy good.

Then it was pool and nap time. Before we headed down to the Candy Kitchen for ice cream and the beach for the sunset.

Day #5

We had a mid morning flight home, which allowed one more trip to Sweet Brewnette and a stroll on the beach.

And now we’re home and I miss the sun and the sand, but it’s nice to be back. This trip was absolutely perfect. Everything from the flights to the stay to the food; was just what we had imagined(even better) And I can’t wait for the next adventure!

Lots of love,


Culinary Week #7

Hello my lovelies! And welcome back to the cooking extravaganza that is my life. I think this past Thursday I just cooked the whole day and it was glorious! Probably becoming too obsessed… Or maybe it’s just because this past week our word was coffee and y’all know how I feel about coffee(and in case you don’t here, here and here)

Let’s get to it…

Finnish Cardamom-Coffee Bread 10 out of 10

Ummm yes it tastes as good as it looks and sounds. The bread is that perfect balance of sweet and yet the coffee glaze on top balances it out. Will be making this again someday.

Lemon Spinach 7 out of 10

Basically just cooked spinach to go with the below meal. (Keep reading) Not sure I will make this recipe again it was almost too lemony. But not bad.

Coffee and Cinnamon Roasted Carrots 8 out of 10

I really liked these, which surprised me. The coffee and cinnamon and salt seasoning was actually really good together.

Corn Fritters 7 out of 10

These were yummy and were just an added side to pair with…

Coffee Rub Ribeye Steak 9 out of 10

STEAK!!!! Okay so this was more Tay’s benefit than mine. I am not a huge fan of steak- I know, “what’s wrong with me?” But I’m just not. But the coffee rub was yummy and I have a bit extra I might try on some chicken.(lol)

Coffee Bean Cookies 8 out of 10

(Ignore the dirty scale… I apparently didn’t clean up from baking the coffee bean cookies) These were so cool! The perfect little short bread cookie. I couldn’t exactly taste the coffee(probably because I drink really strong coffee) but they tasted amazing with coffee. And they’re just so cute, aren’t they?

Quick+Dirty Espresso Cinnamon Rolls 8 out of 10

Can someone say delicious? So they weren’t exactly that flatly cinnamon roll I was expecting but they tasted amazing. I don’t know if it was the recipe or me that made the dough too… doughy. I’ve never made cinnamon rolls before so(shrug)

Coffee Chili 9 out of 10

Bacon, chocolate, coffee and chili equals one great combination! As our final meal of the week this was an awesome way to end it.

Yahoo! Coffee week was amazing and I am sad to see it go. Seriously this was some good eating. Anyway we are taking a one week break because of traveling but will be back and our new word is vegan! I am excited but Tay thinks she might die.

Lots of love,


Apartment Tour 2021

For this post I decided to give you guys a brief tour of my apartment/suite in the basement of my employers’ house, where I have lived comfortably for the last… three and 1/2 years. Yikes time flies! I’ve never done a full tour so this should be fun.

We’ll begin at the beginning… I know shocking. And then just follow the room around. As you will see my decorating style is basically lots of stuff and dogs and quotes… lol!

Arguably one of my favorite spots in my room; the coffee bar.
Yes I make all my many culinary creations with a hot plate, combination toaster oven and a microwave.
All the things… though this bar cart was a lifesaver for cabinet space.
Another favorite part of the room; our mini home gym.
My current reading list.
Mini library.
And the bathroom.

Yeah so this is my own private domain! Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I move with the work family to the summer lake house and where I stay while there. So excited about that post.

Lots of love,


Recap Culinary Week #1

Hello loves it’s been a minute. Had a very busy week and another one to go this week. And then March looks like I have something going every weekend. Which if you know me(slight introvert over here) it just sounds like a lot of work. Yikes! But I will hopefully get my posts back on regular releases of Thursday and Friday. (And of course Culinary Mondays)

Anyway here is a brief overview of very first week in our culinary challenge(all the info here) Prepare to have your mouth watering!

Fake Sourdough Bread

California is apparently big on the very trendy sourdough… Umm trend. But I didn’t have the time nor inclination to mess with actual sourdough, so I found a cheat recipe. Great bread, but not very sourdough-ie and with a rising time of 18 hours not very helpful in saving the old time. So yeah yummy, but not worth the time it took to make.

Rating out 5 of 10
Veggie Omelette 4 out of 10

Also pictured here is an absolutely disgusting espresso orange drink I tried my hand at making… Yeah one sip and I was like nope!

The omelette was… okay. I mean I am not a huge omelette person. The strawberry fresh salsa however, is killer(if it needed to be a bit spicer) and gets a 6 out of 10.

Cioppino Soup 10 out of 10!!

Oh my gosh this soup(recipe) is freaking my fav!! Substituted the clam for crab and squid and the halibut for tilapia(cheaper lol) but otherwise followed the recipe to a tee. (By the way I am in love with fennel- like I want to put it on everything) Will definitely be making this one again.

Waldorf Salad 8 out of 10

Super yummy spinach greens covered in peppers, pears, figs, apple, walnuts, radishes, celery and drizzled in a sweet oil vinaigrette. (From this recipe) Another thing I am now officially in love with is figs- Yummy!

Pineapple Chiffon Cream Pie 10 out of 10

Both my sister and I were skeptical of this cool pie at first but then you just sink into heaven. Here is the recipe and trust me: you need this in your life.

Burrito Bowl 10 out of 10

Nothing says California like a burrito and apparently it’s not a burrito without Cajun fries pilled on top. Yum! Also a few avocado chips(which are only eh and probably not worth the effort)

Well there you have it my loves! Our first week of culinary endeavors. This coming week is gonna be pretty packed so we are going to wait a week for our next adventure but our new word is:

Ooooo… (bad handwriting)

Lots of love,


What Eat in A Day Off

If you read my post a couple of weeks ago on what I eat on a day I’m working then you should be more then ready to see my culinary habits on a day that I’m off. Warning: BE PREPARED TO GET HUNGRY.


Here we have a nice cup of jo; old fashioned oats with raspberries, blackberries and blueberries cooked in; half a banana and a scoop of peanut butter. Yum city!

I used to absolutely hate- and I do mean hate, oatmeal. But since I’ve learned to add almond extract and ground cloves; in addition to cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Plus topping it with peanut butter, I think I could safely eat it everyday. Yummy!

Mid morning Snack~

Homemade date and coconut energy balls… yummy 🤤

I made these for the first time ever the other day and I am surprised how much I like it. At a 160 calories a pop these are surprisingly filling for being so small. Not for everyone my sister is not a fan… oh well more for me!


A avocado, black been, air fried sweet potatoes coated in my sister’s super secret taco seasoning. The definition of deliciousness!

Oh my gosh! This was amazing!! So filling and delicious. A perfect combo of spicy and sweet. Highly recommend.

Afternoon Snack~

Aka the “second cup of coffee”. Alongside homemade granola(kinda obsessed right now) a touch of plain nonfat yogurt, half a banana, a drizzling of Carmel sauce and a sprinkling of shredded coconut.

A little bit of a sweet snack. I normally don’t do something so sweet… but I wanted some of my homemade granola. I needed a good excuse and it was delicious!


A classic example of a dinner cooked by me- Ha! A cottage cheese, spinach stuffed portobello mushroom; Italian chicken; cucumber, beet and feta salad. Plus whole wheat everything bread and just a touch of Carmel sauce.

Dinners on my days off tend to be a big deal for me. It gives me the time and excuse to cook and play around with recipes. Which basically equals my happy place. These simple, mouth watering mushrooms have been a repeat for me and my sister. So good.

Lots of love,


What I Eat In A Day

… If I’m working.

Felt I needed to clarify that, because when I’m not working my eating habits vary slightly. (Normally I forget to eat- oops) Anyway since I have been really digging my own meal preps here of late I thought I would share a few with you. Bon’apiti!


Here I am having my craft coffee(Colectivo’s Winter Wonderland blend) with just a dash of 1/2+1/2. Plus strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and half of a banana. Then half of a light English muffin and a scoop of fat free cottage cheese. Before eating I smooshed all my fruit on my muffin making a mini fruit pizza. So yum!

Breakfast is that meal of champions, that grand starter of the day… Why do so many people try to skip you? I cannot and never have been able to skip my most favorite meal of the day. I have to have my breakfast(coffee) before anything serious can even remotely be done. So even on my days off this meal remains pretty much the same. Every other day I try to have an iron, protein rich smoothie(since I hate taking my iron supplements and I have to hide them) Or I do overnight oats, chia pudding, Greek yogurt, cottage and fruit, oatmeal, etc. But normally lots of fresh fruit.

One because it’s delicious and two because it looks pretty. Banana spilt with yogurt.


Oh look more fruit! So here we have spinach greens, a fried egg, an apple(shared with the kids) half a mandarin orange, celery, cucumbers, raspberries and my fav blueberries. Topped with a tablespoon of salsa and guacamole.

Lunch is probably the easiest meal for me to forget to eat. Especially when I am working since I am normally trying to feed four hungry kiddos in between school times, laundry and naps. But I normally do something similar to the above option. A spinach salad topped with… something. Leftover chicken stir fry, grilled chicken, leftover… some kind of protein to tide me over till afternoon snack.

Same salad as above but this one has leftover lemon chicken and a hard boiled egg on it. Not that you could tell with all the other goodies.

Afternoon Snack(over as I like to call it the 2nd Cup of Coffee)

Say hold up! That ain’t coffee… no, no it’s not. On this particular day I was trying to be good and stick to one cup of coffee. So I had hot tea instead with a dash of honey. It was torture. The tea was good but it was not coffee.

I have a really hard time “making” it to supper without eating again. And why should I have to try and make it till dinner? Afternoon snacks aren’t just for kids people. Normally I have fruits or veggies with peanut butter. But since we had this amazing bean dip I took advantage.

This is a tiny snack mainly because I couldn’t decide what I wanted. But it’s bean dip, carrots, cucumbers and that other half of a mandarin orange… yeah not my best.


Okay so I had leftover Chinese takeout for dinner a top a spinach salad(gotta have me spinach)

This is how dinner normally works for me on “work days” I eat with the work-family and whatever they’re having or eat whatever I have leftover in my stash for the week. I think I’ll do another post of what I eat when I’m off because that’s when I normally make food for myself and my sister to eat on for the rest of the week.

Evening Snack

To be totally honest with you I normally don’t eat an evening snack. Either because on my nights off I wait to have dinner with my sis, when she gets off or because dinner while working was super satisfying. Yeah so not much of an evening snacker.

There you have it guys my meals for a work day. Plus quiet a bit of water and Bubly. I hope you enjoyed this.

Lots of love,


Christmas for a Coffee Snob

Well I only promised a Ratio Coffee Maker review like months ago(here) but in this crazy COVID world things get lost in back order.

And yet I think it makes more sense to do this post now, during the holidays and combine it with a few of my top gift ideas for the coffee snob in your life.

If you will read the post linked above you’ll learn that my boss was on the hunt for that craft, handcrafted coffee experience without all the work and time of a pour over device. Well I think she finally found it in the Ratio Coffee Maker(here)

It’s much pricier than the maker she had tried earlier (without any success) but this maker is made of sterner stuff than plastic. So no super-heated, disgusting plastic taste in your coffee.

It blooms your coffee perfectly and makes the coffee somewhat hot. Yep I said somewhat. There is no heating pad underneath the pot(to prevent you from accidentally burning your coffee, because the kid spilt grape juice all over the kitchen floor) which is why I recommend springing for the thermal package. It comes with a very nice(and frankly my fav part) thermal decanter. (Not pictured here) If you don’t want to cough up the money for this extra package just remember to drink your coffee when it is done brewing. And/or slap it in your Yeti quickly before the coffee cools.

As far as tastes go I was very pleased. Again I will be honest; I can tell the coffee came from a maker and instead of a pour over, but I honestly think this is because I just need to find the right coffee beans/water balance. Another selling point for this kind of coffee maker is you can really tweak the measurements until you find the perfect balance.

All in all I would give the Ratio Coffee Maker from price to performance a 7 out of 10. Maybe an 8 if I can find the perfect measurements.

Now on to just a few of my favorite coffee related gifts for the snob in your life!

  • Coffee Scrub- You can find this at literally any beauty store. Or go that extra mile and find a recipe for homemade coffee scrub on Pinterest. But coffee themed gifts are always appreciated by us snobs.
  • Coffee Cup/Tray Set- I personally love this set from Amazon. Or others like it. So chic and cute.
  • Coffee To-Go Kit- I cannot tell you how many times I have used my kit!(here is the link to the post where I list everything you’ll need to make your own to-go kit) Vacations, trips home, the entire summer living at the lake house. Best decision ever!
  • Colectivo Coffee Gift Box- Colectivo is a coffee roaster based here in Milwaukee that has amazing coffee and super cute holiday gift boxes. Here and here and here. This makes shopping for that coffee snob just a wee bit easier.
  • Coffee Subscription to Black Refile- Another great route to go is giving your coffee lover a monthly subscription to a great roasted like Colectivo or Black Refile.
  • Coffee Gummies/Espresso- Lastly any food, candy or little do-dads that say the word coffee are always accepted. Just keep your eyes open.

Well I hope you guys enjoyed this post and I will see ya later!

Lots of love,


Brim Coffee Maker Review

Hello all! So ya know how I am a coffee snob? Yes total control freak when it comes to the brown liquid of life and happiness. And ya know how I love to share my obsession with anyone who will listen? Well I may or may not have corrupted my boss into my cult of the coffee bean. (Lol- but seriously)

I made her maybe a handful of my specially crafted coffee and she(like everyone else who has ever tried a pour over) was hooked. But let’s be honest here making a pour over every morning takes time. 5-6 minutes actually. And because you are completely in control of the brewing time and water distribution(which is what makes it taste so good) you can’t multitask. Trust me I have tried. And ended up with a cup either under extracted or way over. Yuck!

Anyway thus lead my boss(and me) in a search for a coffee maker that makes craft quality without you having to stand there and completely obsess, making sure all the grounds are equally exposed to water.

When she found the Brim Coffee Maker on Amazon for only $178- (which is very reasonable) we thought this was the one! It looks awesome. It blooms the coffee and it gets the water(which most coffee makers can’t do) to the ultimatum temperature.

The coffee itself was hot, flavorful and not bad. Now I will be honest that it didn’t convince me, the ultimate coffee snob to give up my pour over. But it is reasonable to assume that I would have used if I was crunched for time.

Yes I realize I used the past tense, “would have..” Meaning the maker didn’t make the cut? Funny thing(and honestly probably why it is so cheap) is that after half a dozen uses the internal components of the maker, which are plastic- Yea plastic! Get so overheated that’s all you can taste and smell in your coffee.

Obviously the idea of a coffee maker like this is to make a perfect cup of coffee like a pour over without the hassle. So having your coffee taste like hot plastic isn’t exactly the outcome one would hope for.

So in summary: The concept of this coffee maker is brilliant but it’s acceptance of poorer quality material(in an attempt to keep the price down) rob the machine of it’s ability to give you a decent cup of jo. I unfortunately wouldn’t recommend this one to anyone.

Back to the research for the perfect coffee maker(that isn’t $1000 of dollars) and that elusive cup of coffee. When we find the next candidate I will give you guys my thoughts. If you are curious about craft coffee and pour overs here and here are two posts for your interests.

Lots of love,