Monthly Archives:

January 2020

Culinary Tales/ Savory Vegetables

French Fry Board

I love all of the appetizer boards that have been floating aorund lately, from classic charcuterie, to dessert boards. I see one everytime I turn my head. And rightfully so, they offer a little bit of everything for everyone. Today I’m making a French Fry Board perfect for game day (and really every day because I mean french fries are involved!)

French Fry Board

When making a French Fry Board one must consider how many different fries it will feature. For me this came down to the size of the board. I did not have a board big enough (shameful, I know) so, I opted for a sheet pan covered in kraft paper. I figured I would be able to fit about 5 different kinds of fries comfortably. Next, I decide on fries with varying size, texture, and taste.

I selected Curly Fries, Crinkle Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Steak Fries, and Dipping wedges. Fortunately for me 3 out of 5 of them had cooking times and temperatures that matched so, I threw thos ein the oven. Simultaneously, I threw the other 2 in the air fryer. Cook the fries according to the directions on their packages.

Meanwhile get your board (or tray) set up. To do this I placed a sheet of kraft paper over my sheet pan. Then I started filling up my dips and placing them in the center of the tray. I went with : sour cream and onion dip, nacho cheese, ketchup, honey mustard, orange sauce, mandarin terriyaki, and buffalo sauce.

As soon as the fries came out I added them to the tray, keeping them each in their own sections!

Finally, garnish. Once you have all of your fries and all of your dips on the tray it’s time to garnish. I added some rosemary and parsley to the fries. As well as sesame seeds to the terriyaki dip, minced garlic to the orange sauce, and a little chives to the sour cream and onion dip!

Now it’s ready to enjoy. The variety in this board is what makes it so appealing..and well fries..

This French Fry Board is perfect for your next get together! I will definitely be serving it on game day along with this Chili Cheese Dog Dip!

French Fry Board

Print Recipe
Serves: 10-12 Cooking Time: 25 minutes


  • Curly Fries
  • Crinkle Cut Fries
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Steak Fries
  • Dipping Potato wedges
  • Various Dipping Sauces (ketchup, ranch, buffalo, terriyaki, etc,)
  • Rosemary & Parsley for garnish



Cook fries according to directions on package.


Line sheet pan with kraft paper.


Add dipping sauces to the middle.


Add fries to the sheet pan after they finish cooking. Keep them in separate sections.


Sprinkle with salt.


Add garnish to the fries and a little to some of the dips.


Serve and enjoy wile warm!

Culinary Tales

Chili Cheese Dog Dip

Game Day is approaching and you’re going to need snacks! This Chili Cheese Dog Dip is the ultimate football snack. It combines two delicious appetizers “Pigs in a Blanket” and “Chili Cheese Dip” to provide classic Chili Cheese Dog Flavors all on one plate!

A crowd pleasing snack that’s easy to make!

Chili Cheese Dog Dip

Get all of your ingredients out! You’ll need shredded cheese, mini hot dogs, crescent dough, chili, green onions, minced onions, jalapenos, and neufchatel cheese.

Neufchatel Cheese tastes just like cream cheese and the texture is the same , but it’s fat free! While this isn’t necessarily a healthy snack I always feel like you should save you’re calories where you can and I actually prefer the Neufchatel because it’s a little creamier. You can by all means use regular cream cheese if you can’t find it.

Feel free to omit the jalapenos and green onions if you’re not a fan or have allergies, they are more so to add a little color and a little extra flavor but, the dip is still delicious with or without them. Another fabulous topping would be diced red onions!

Assembling the Dip

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by wrapping your mini hot dogs with the crescent dough. Place them on a cast iron skillet, arranging them in a ring.

Once you have a full ring, start on a second ring in the center. Leaving room for the dip. After you’ve added all of your dogs start on your dip!

Place the neufchatel cheese in a circle in the center. Next, add the chili on top. Finally, add the shredded cheese.

The last step is to brush your dough with egg. Crack an egg in a bowl. Use a pastry brush, (if you don’t have one you can use a spoon – just be careful not to get too much egg on it.) paint the tops of the dough on each of the dogs. Now, sprinkle a little minced onion on each.

Place the cast iron skillet in to the oven. Set your timer for about 15 minutes. Be sure to rotate the skillet halfway through.

As soon as the dough is golden brown and the cheese on your dip is bubbly and melted it should be done cooking. You can also test the dough to see if it’s done in the middle with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean – it’s ready!

Remember the skillet is going to be ridiculously hot for a bit, so be sure to place it on a heat resistant surface and feel free to wrap an oven mit or heat absorbing towel around the handle so it’s easy to transport.

I also like to serve mine with corn chips or tortilla chips as well! Eat your dog, eat your dip, eat your dog in your dip…it’s two appetizers in one – the perfect game day snack!

Chili Cheese Dog Dip

Print Recipe


  • 2 Cups of Chili (no beans)
  • 1 Cup of Neufchatel Cheese
  • 1 Package of Beef Cocktail Weiners
  • 1 Cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Can of Refrigerated Crescent Rolls
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Green Onions
  • 1 Tbsp Sliced Jalapenos
  • 1 Tbsp Minced Onion



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Start by wrapping your mini hot dogs with the crescent dough.


Place them on a cast iron skillet, arranging them in a ring.


Once you have a full ring, start on a second ring in the center.


Next, create your dip in the center. Place a layer of neufchatel cheese, then a layer of chili, and top it with cheddar cheese.


Crack an egg in a bowl. Dip a pastry brush into the egg.


Paint the tops of the dough on each of the dogs. Now, sprinkle a little minced onion on each.


Place the cast iron skillet in to the oven. Set your timer for about 15 minutes. Be sure to rotate the skillet halfway through.


When the cheese is melted and bubbly and your dough is golden brown , it's ready to go!


Serve as is or with tortilla chips!

Culinary Tales/ Savory Vegetables

The 21 Best Avocado Recipes

Avocados are super fruits! They are nutrient rich, power houses. Did you know eating more of them every day can benefit your health and your taste buds?!

They have a subtle nutty taste, with a rich creamy texture. Basically, they pair well with a large variety of flavors and ingredients!

So, today on the blog I’ve compiled a list of The 21 Best Avocado Recipes! Here are my favorite, beyond delicious ways to help you incorporate more avocados into your daily routine!

Continue Reading…
Life & Health

Don’t Forget To Fall In Love With Yourself First

You know when you first start dating someone? You’re both on your best behavior. You want to impress them. Show them all of your best qualities.

That’s sweet and all, right?

So, what if we put that much time and effort into trying to impress ourselves? People to often sell themselves short.

Today I want to talk about why you really have to love yourself before you can really love and appreciate someone else! Continue Reading…

Culinary Tales/ Meats

Air Fryer Herb Crusted Pork Chops

I finally purchased an Air Fryer before Christmas. I’ve been so so excited to start cooking with it! Plus, I found these Hatfield Frenched Bone In Pork Chops on sale at my local Acme so, I really felt inspired to make these Air Fryer Herb Crusted Pork Chops.

And I’m so glad I was because these were the most tender pork chops ever, with a crunchy delicious crust at that! This pork is coated with a crunchy herb crust and cooked to perfection in the air fryer!

I started eating Hatfield a few years ago after working on a project with them and ever since they’ve been my go to when buying pork products! Everything I purchase from them ALWAYS turns out so juicy and tender!

I’ve been Air Fryer converted and I’m not going back! I can’t wait for you to try these Air Fryer Herb Crusted Pork Chops for yourself!

Air Fryer Herb Crusted Pork Chops

First, turn on the Air Fryer, I’m using the Instant Pot Vortex Air Fryer so be sure to adjust times or temps to your specific brand of air fryer if need be!

You want it to pre heat to 380 degrees on air fry.

Next, In a large bowl mix the eggs, milk, and mayonaise together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl mix your dry ingredients and herbs (panko, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, onion powder, and garlic powder). Set aside.

First, dredge your Pork Chops in the egg mixture, next dip them in the panko herb mixture.

Set each pork chop on your air fryer pan. You can either do all 4 at once by using two pans (you may have to up the cooking time a little) or you can do two pork chops at a time, which is what I did.

Once your Air Fryer is pre heated place your pork chops inside. Set the timer for 28 minutes. Be sure to turn the Pork Chops half way through the timer (flip them and turn pan).

Pork should be cooked to at least 145 degrees, personally I like mine at 160 degrees. You can use a thermometer to see what temperature yours has reached.
Once they are golden brown and cooked thoroughly, they are ready to serve! This time I served these with some easy fries, and zucchini coins but these would also be really fantastic with my Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes & Lemon Garlic Asparagus Spears !

Air Fryer Herb Crusted Pork Chops

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: about 45 minutes


  • 4 Bone In Hatfield Pork Chops
  • 3 1/2 Cups of Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Rosemary
  • 1 Tsp Chopped Sage
  • 1 Tsp Chopped Thyme
  • 1 Tsp Parsley
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Mayonaise



Turn on Air Fryer, so that it preheats (Temp - 380 degrees on air fry)


Mix eggs, milk, and mayonaise together in a large bowl.


In a separate bowl mix your dry ingredients and herbs (panko, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, onion powder, and garlic powder).


First, dredge Pork Chops in egg mixture, next dip in panko herb mixture.


Set each pork chop on air fryer pan.


Place pan inside air fryer once it's preheated.


Set timer for 25 minutes.


Turn Pork Chops half way through timer (flip them and turn pan).


Once they are golden brown and cooked thoroughly, they are ready to serve!

Culinary Tales/ Sweet Things

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

This Avocado Chocolate Mousse is decadent, rich, and sweet but you don’t have to feel guilty because it’s made with 4 simple ingredients! Avocados, sugar, almond milk, and cocoa powder.

I’ve been wanting to try this for sometime now and I’m so glad I did. Because, this came out really well.
One thing I want to note is that you can fully customize this recipe. You can use any kind of milk and any kind of sweetener. It will not effect your texture since the avocados are what make this so perfectly creamy!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Start by cutting the avocados in half (vertically). Using a spoon remove the avocado from the skin. Add it to your blender or food processor. Next, add your cocoa powder, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.

Finally, add in the sugar and almond milk. Place lid on securely and blend.

Blend until its fully mixed and there are no clumps or avocado chunks. Divide into saucers or bowls and eat right then or feel free to refrigerate for up to 48 hours.

I also had some mint in my garden and decided to use that as garnish, adding a little sprig to each.

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 10 minutes


  • 3 large ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tbsp of Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup of Raw Sugar (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract (optional)
  • Dash of Cinnamon (optional)



Using a spoon remove the avocado from the skin. Add avocado to blender.


Add cocoa powder, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Finally, add in the sugar and almond milk.


Blend well. Divide into serving dishes and enjoy!

Satisfy that chocolate craving while giving your body the nutrients it needs! Did you know avocados are super high in rich antioxidants and there’s a million reasons to eat more of them every day! Check out my article ‘7 reasons you should eat an avocado a day’ to read more about it!

Culinary Tales

Getting Fit The Lazy Way

The New Year is upon us! While I realize it’s a little cliche it really is a great time to focus on making healthier choices and being the best version of yourself you can be.

What better time to leave the past in the past and focus on a positive future! I’m all about body positivity. I’m all about loving yourself, no matter what size you are (and no matter what anyone else, including society says about you!)

I also strongly believe you can love & accept yourself and also actively try to be the best version of yourself you can be.

Because, that’s where I’m at right now. I love me, and I also want to feel healthier, have more energy, and give myself the best chance at living a long and healthy life!

The Struggle

Personally, I’ve always struggled with my weight. Always. I’ve always been bigger than I wished to be. I’ve always looked in the mirror and been less than happy with the reflection staring back at me. I’ve always had way less energy than I need.

I even dealt with an eating disorder in high school and all kinds of other self-depricating things due to lack of self esteem .

Now that I’m older, and a little bit wiser I realize that I do love myself. I have so many great qualities and nothing to be ashamed of. I also realize that by taking accountability of my health & eating habits I can be the best version of myself that there is.

And to be honest being constantly active and going full throttle really isn’t my nature.

Wanting to be healthier and actually doing it.. are two different things entirely. But they don’t have to be.. if you just focus on baby steps and go from there. Every single step in the right direction is A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!

Getting Fit The Lazy Way – New Year , New You

Here’s my guide to getting fit – the lazy way! Sometimes small changes can make the biggest difference. So, here are a few tips that help me!

Distract yourself.

Unfortunately for me I’ve never been the type to get excited about exercise. I want to, don’t get me wrong. Am I jealous of those who do? Absolutely. I know that there are actually people who love running . But, the idea of doing something on purpose that’s going to make me even more exhausted than my child already does – isn’t necessarily my idea of a good time.

And Zumba at 5 am, don’t even get me started. I honestly admire people like this. I do, so if you’re reading this and that’s you – teach me your ways please!

I get more excited by things like I don’t know, Cheesecake. Tacos. An entire bottle of Wine.

And what I really mean is all of them at once – while binge watching a Real Housewives Marathon for 4 hours. Ok.. not really thats a little extreme, but you get my point though, I’m just not that into it.

So, the most important thing I’ve found is DISTRACTION. Instead of just walking on the treadmill or riding the exercise bike, I do it while watching whatever show I’m catching up on at the time. Or sometimes I’ll even try to multi-task and do some blog work on mobile while working out.

Also, If you don’t have any equipment, it’s just as easy to walk in place in front of the tv, throw in some high steps, some tai bo kicks, get your arms moving. If you want a break from standing, see how many sit ups you can do during each commercial break. Its fun and takes your mind off of the fact that you’re actually doing work. If all else fails – MUSIC, music, always music. The right playlist can always get you going!

Find a Friend

Find a friend to help keep yourself accountable and do the same for them. This could be in the form of your best friend, a significant other, or a friend from work. Whatever works for you. Having someone to confide in when you’re having trouble staying motivated is super beneficial. Another awesome reason to find a friend is that you guys can get up and get outside, go walking or jogging with that friend – you wont even know notice many calories you’ve burnt, because you’ll be too busy catching up!

Take the stairs and park further away.

If you can safely take the stairs and park farther from your destination,do it! Obviously, this isn’t something we can all do, all the time. I’m not talking about when it’s night time or If you’re in a bad part of town. I’m talking about when you’re being a lazy Susan.

You circled the front row of Target once already just to see if that lady in the second spot over was pulling out yet. But, why not park at the other end of the parking lot and get in a few extra steps on your way to the door.

Save those close up spots for someone who really needs them and burn some extra calories while you’re at it! Its a win win.

And If you’re in a hotel, the mall, an office building somewhere where you have time and are only going up a few floors, why take an elevator? Take the stairs! Move. Always move.


Water. Lots and lots of water. This one is simple in order for your body to flush out toxins, stay hydrated, and run properly.. you need water. Lots and lots of water! So, calculate how many ounces a day you should be drinking and make it happen!

Reward Yourself

This one is self-explanatory. But, here’s why I think it’s important to reward yourself : You are not going to see immediate results. You won’t. So squash that dream right now. This is why I personally think you should reward yourself for making good choices. Eventually if you stick to it, make good choices, and work hard you will start seeing results!

It can be something small  like: you drank 10 glasses of water today, so now you can have that glass of wine you’ve been thinking about all day. Or you’ve had salads for lunch all week.. now its Friday have a piece of pizza. Or it can be something larger like, you dropped 2 pants sizes, buy yourself that nice Coach purse you’ve been eyeing or a new pair of pants. Figure out a good reward that works for you and will motivate you to stick with your plan and not give up!


Ok, let’s get into motivation a little more deeply. This is the key, really. Without motivation, we lack determination.

What drives you? Think about this. Are you motivated because you need to lose weight for your health? Think about your loved ones and yourself. Are you motivated because you want to be the best version of yourself  you can be? Whatever it is that lights a fire under you to make some changes, use it. Take it and run with it. And when you’re struggling, remember it!

Fruit Instead of Fries

Look, I’m not giving up fries. So, don’t even worry. I’m also not giving up wine, chocolate, tacos, or pizza.

Learning to eat what you love in moderation is key. This topic is two fold. My first point is when choosing , choose wisely. This doesn’t mean you must always swap out for the healthier choices it just means be aware of your choices, if you are having fries for dinner maybe don’t have that bag of chips at about some veggie chips instead? Or even a side of fruit?

The second part goes a step further and it comes down to swapping ingredients while cooking. Making swaps here and there can really help keep you on track.

You know that saying, “You should eat to survive.” ?

Well,  (insert eye roll) I also eat food because it’s delicious and I love it. I also love to cook. Personally, I don’t want to sacrifice any flavor, so finding ways to switch one thing for something healthier and still come out with a tasty meal is absolutely key! Check out some of my favorite swaps and healthy-ish meals here:

Pizza – Low Calorie Pizza Dough

Chocolate Mousse – Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Sweet & Sour Chicken – Oven Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

Mashed Potatoes – Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic

French Fries – Oven Baked Fries

Change Doesn’t Happen Over Night

This saying is so popular, because it’s true! Don’t expect to see change tomorrow morning. That’s not how it works and honestly you’ll just be setting yourself up for dissapointment. It can take weeks before you start seeing a change in yourself. That’s ok. Keep at it and don’t give up. Remember why you’re doing this – it’s to feel healthier and be healthier, so focus on how you feel and not how you look!

You’re worth it

Wait, you know that right? You are 100% worth it. So take pride in yourself and your life. Get out there and be the best YOU, you can be!