Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

Good morning!  I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  I can’t believe how chilly it was this morning when I headed to the gym.  I don’t think we’ve seen the 40s in 5 months.  Brrrrr….

But yesterday was not only gorgeous but it was the perfect day to visit the pumpkin patch.

We picked out several pumpkins and one perfect pumpkin that will be carved later this month.

Post-pumpkin patch, we prepped the dough and sauce for pizza.  A pizza and movie night was on tap.  It’s been quite a while since we made homemade pizza so I was pretty excited about dinner.

We used a crust recipe from How Sweet It Is and tried making the pizza in a cast iron.  And it worked perfectly.

But back to the crust…


It’s a fairly simple crust (not gluten-free) that uses a combination of all=purpose flour and white whole wheat flour.  If you make this crust, give yourself some time – it need an hour and a half to rest before baking.

In addition to the crust, we also made a homemade sauce.  Super simple but incredibly fresh tasting.  You won’t want jarred sauce again.

The sauce is a simple mix of peeled, whole canned tomatoes, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper.

Once the pizza had risen, I worked on prepping the toppings:  mushrooms, onions and pepperoni.  I sauteed both the onions and mushrooms in a mix of olive oil and butter.  The crust cooks super fast in the cast iron so you need to have the ingredients that you want cooked already cooked.  For the cheese, a combination of fresh mozzarella and goat gouda.


And I’ve learned that pizza is only made better with a nice glass of red wine on the side.



Spiced Autumn Crostini

I told you I was obsessed with this cookbook.  

And this is the perfect appetizer for fall.  In fact, I’m pretty sure this is what fall tastes like.

Crunchy crostini is topped with a sweet pumpkin-mascarpone spread that is spiced with nutmeg before being sprinkled with fried sage and spicy pecans.

Each bite was perfection.

A little sweetness, a little spice, and a lot of fall.  It’s such a lovely combination of flavors.

If I were to make these again, I think I would try using goat cheese instead of mascarpone for a little more tanginess.

And I loved my switch of using pecans instead of hazelnuts.  Pecans are just “so fall” to me.

But seriously, I’m probably going to make a recipe or three from her cookbook again this weekend.  Because I just can’t help myself.

And if you come over for “appy” hour anytime in the next three months, I’ll probably serve you a plate of these nuggets.



Eating / Everything in moderation.  I’ve brought gluten back into my life.  But not daily.  And sometimes not even weekly.  But nothing is off limits when it comes to me and my gastronomy.

Drinking / Red Wine.  The most fun part – Big Guy is loving my new found love for red wine because now we can share a bottle and talk about the wine together.

Practicing / Pilates.  When I first started taking a Pilates class once a week several years ago I didn’t understand the point.  It was too slow and I didn’t sweat.  But fast-forward four years and now I crave Pilates.  In fact, I wish I could incorporate it into my routine more.  It’s helped me with slowing down and stopping my mind.  And that takes a lot of practice.

Mastering / The Art of Tailgating.  And I’m serious.  We have it down to a science now.

Learning / More about red wine.  Especially the notes on the nose.  I’m even keeping track in a journal.  See, it’s more than just drinking…

Trying / To spend as much time with my girlfriends as possible.

Playing / sweet potatoes.  Random, yes.  But I now have pounds upon pounds of sweet potatoes curing and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to use them all.  I have recipes galore in mind.

Finishing / The tomatoes.  I have eaten tomatoes until I can’t eat them any longer.

Reading / French Kids Eat Everything.  And I cannot wait to do a review on this book.

Remembering / That my passion in life will never lead me in the wrong direction.

Wearing / A smile.  Because I am so ridiculously blessed.

Cooking /  All.the.things. from Jessica’s blog and cookbook, Seriously Delish.

Working / Only after coffee.

Traveling / Around the world.  That was the theme of our last Supper Club in September and it was such a delicious menu.

Wanting / To see my family.  It’s tough not seeing my family every few weeks.  But that makes the “reunions” even more fun and special.


Red Wine and Goat Cheese Risotto with Caramelized Mushrooms

One of my least favorite things that come with Fall and Winter is the lack of natural sunlight come dinner time.

Seriously annoying.  Especially when the dish is absolutely beautiful and all I want to do is give credit to the recipe creator.

The Red Wine and Goat Cheese Risotto with Caramelized Mushrooms has been on my “to make” list since 2011.

And let’s just say I’m already trying to plan when I can make it again.

Because it’s that delicious.

Creamy yet tangy.

Rich on the tongue but not overly heavy.

And the dish comes together relatively easy.

You just need a little patience.  And some red wine.


I am sure you could use white wine instead of red but who wouldn’t want pink risotto?

I used a Pinot Noir that was perfectly sweet and didn’t over power the goat cheese.

And any one who says that don’t like mushrooms hasn’t had them caramelized in a combination of butter and olive oil.  Because I could seriously have eaten just a bowl of those tender, meaty mushrooms.

You may even be tempted to eat the leftovers for breakfast.

And that can be your little secret if you give in to your temptation.

So I apologize for the not-so-pretty picture.

But I’m blaming the season change on this one.



Gouda Grits with Smoky Brown Butter Shrimp

I am totally a grits girl.  I grew up eating grits for breakfast.  Sometimes as a snack after school.

If you didn’t think I was Southern before now, that should prove my Southern roots.

And my favorite kind of grits growing up:  cheese grits.

Lots of cheddar cheese melted into a bowl of piping hot grits.

Last night I took my love of cheese grits to a whole new level with Gouda Grits with Smoky Brown Butter Shrimp.

Applewood smoked gouda was whisked into the grits until they become a dreamy bed for the browned butter shrimp.

The shrimp (local, wild caught) were seasoned with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder and cumin.

The shrimp are cooked in a bath of melted butter that browns as the shrimp cook (I had to cook my shrimp in two batches – you don’t want to overcrowd the pan).

On top of the shrimp and grits – sauteed corn.  This was the last of the summer corn that I had frozen back in July (oh, how  I’m going to miss having that on hand).

In the bowl, ladle in a good amount of gouda grits.  Perfectly creamy.  On top, smoky browned butter shrimp and sauteed corn along with a sprinkle of chives.

A bowl of Heaven.

I seriously could eat gouda grits for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner.

Bacon-Blue Burgers with Arugula and Quick Jalapeno Jam

I know that I shared with you my Fall Bucket List yesterday and that I should be posting a pumpkin recipe or a soup recipe but I can’t bring myself to not share with you the most incredible burger recipe.

After a gorgeous weekend, Big Guy and I wanted to end the weekend {and summer} with something “totally summer.” It didn’t take us long to agree that burgers were for dinner on Sunday.

This burger isn’t anything “fancy” – in fact, it’s a little messy.  But messy equals delicious.

The burger recipe is from my newest obsession, “Seriously Delish.”  After featuring it on a Friday Favorites post as my “Favorite Drool” I ordered the book that same day.  I just had to have it.

And now that I have it, I want to cook allthethings.  It’s full of incredible recipes that will make you want to go to stay home and dirty up every single dish you own.

Bacon and blue cheese are usual suspects when it comes to burger toppings.  However, this burger becomes something special when you add a homemade jalapeno jam.

Four jalapenos were deseeded and diced (I actually used a mini food processor for this step as to avoid having jalapeno hands all night) and then simmered with a combination of water, brown sugar, a little apple cider vinegar and honey.  Once cooled, it comes a delicious spread for the burger.

Another key component – quality beef.  We used an 85/15 mix of grass-fed beef.  The beef was gently mixed with salt, pepper and olive oil before being formed into patties.

Instead of a cast iron, we grilled our burgers to a perfect medium.  Juicy and tender, the burger would have been amazing on it’s own.

Piled high:  bottom bun, jalapeno jam, burger, blue cheese crumbles, bacon, arugula, top bun.


The flavor combination was unreal!  Sweet and savory – each bite was perfection.  Pungent blue cheese was balanced with the sweet jalapeno jam and the bacon.  But bacon makes everything better.

On the side, a simple tomato salad and a glass of Petit Verdot that I savored with every sip.

Goodbye, summer!  I’m counting the days until you return…


Fall Bucket List {2014}

Fall is officially here.  And instead of wishing that I was still wearing my white jeans and drinking mojitos, I’m going to fall in love with fall.

Visit a pumpkin patch and carve the pumpkins with Big Guy.

Bake a pie.

Have a fire pit and just enjoy the crisp air (and perhaps a glass of wine).

Make homemade cinnamon rolls.

Clean out my closet and donate things I haven’t worn in the past year.

Make a batch of chili.

Update a room in the house with new pictures or prints.

Pumpkin beer tasting with Big Guy.

A total football Saturday at home – with no other plans.

Host a Sunday brunch.

What would be on YOUR fall bucket list?