Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Toasted Almonds

I've never been a great gardener, but I've always been surrounded by those who have been more than willing to help me with their eager green thumbs. I grew up with a garden in our backyard every year, and monthly visits to my Grandpa's full acre garden. Every Fall we'd make it up to Cache Valley Utah for harvest time, and shuck corn, boil corn, and bag corn the entire day. Our pumpkins always came from Grandpa's garden, my Mom made fresh jam from the raspberries, we had endless amounts of squash and zucchini, and my Grandma's apple tree was something Martha Stewart's trees could envy. It was a dreamy childhood of a beautiful and deep appreciation of the fruits of the land. I didn't fully appreciate what my Grandparents had done, and how amazing a gardener my mother is, until I tried to grow my own. 


Panda Express Orange Chicken Copycat

On Saturdays, I feel like we either have all the time in the world to make dinner, or we have nearly zero time at all. On one particular Saturday this month, we found ourselves with zero plans, and a serious craving for Chinese food. It was then when we finally tried this recipe I had been dreaming of, and it seriously didn't disappoint! 


Panda Express Chow Mein Copycat

When I was in high school, I wasn't the greatest at attending all my classes. But then again, most of the said "classes" I was cutting out on were my Music Independent Study classes. For those of you who aren't familiar, for the credit in that class, you were expected to sit in a small secluded semi-soundproof practice room by the music room for an hour and practice your instrument; any musician's dream-come-true, really. The music I needed to learn for the Wind Symphony at my high school was never treacherous, so I mostly practiced my pieces and scales for my private lessons with a music professor at BYU. I was an addict to my music, and it paid off in college immensely! 

Unfortunately (I thought it was fortunate at the time), my high school boyfriend and his best friend had the same class with me at the same time. I'm almost 100% sure his friend didn't have the class with us, but he often came along with us anyway. For the most part, I practiced my tail off in the practice room (driving the choir teacher nuts), and he would practice guitar or chat it up with his buddy.  I can't say, though, we didn't take the everyday occasional off-campus break to go to the food court at the mall down the street. We loved Panda Express, and ate it more in those teenage years than I've ever had since. He'd always get chow mein with his orange chicken or broccoli beef, and I'd always get the fried rice as a side. I thought chow mein was nasty, and how could I ever pass up my precious fried rice to even give it a try? 

My tastes in Chinese food (and guys) matured over time, and I ended up falling in love with chow mein. I could never find the perfect recipe, though. Sure, the recipes we tried were great, but they weren't the near-perfect taste we were searching for. Until now :) 


Toasted Coconut Malt Ball Cookies

We usually bake a batch of cookies every week. It might sound extreme to some, but as a food blogger I have to stay on my toes! Trying new recipes and flavors combinations is something I crave, and the fruits of my labor are usually kind of fun to  stuff in my face like a complete animal  nibble on. My favorite recipes, however, are the ones that are kind of random, and 100% unplanned; thrown together from the random ingredients in my pantry. 

I had a busy week in full force, and needed some cookies for some visits we were going on for our church. Unfortunately, I didn't have a single chocolate chip or candy bar in the house to toss into my favorite cookie base recipe. This is when this strangely addicting cookie came into play. 


S'mores Brownie Pie

I wasn't going to share this little darlin' until August, but I just couldn't wait any longer! Mostly because we're still working on it slice by slice, day by day. When you have a dessert as decadent and rich as this, small bites are definitely best. You get to experience the flavor longer with smaller pieces, and the pie lasts much longer. Unfortunately, whenever I finish a little slice, I can't help but think about the next slice the second my plate is empty. Bad, bad, bad, I tell you. 


Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispies

I know what you're probably thinking. Oh wow, Blondie. A recipe for rice krispie treats? You're really scraping the bottom of the barrel these days. 

Oh man, if only you could have a mouthful of these little babies. You'd ask for another 10 mouthfuls. These typical rice krispie treats have been completely transformed by two of my favorite ingredients: 

browned butter
sea salt. 

This treat will never be the same for me, nor will I ever make rice krispies without those two blessed ingredients. HUGE transformation, folks.