Frozen Peach Yogurt {Cooking With Gerber}



Disclosure: This post is sponsored through the Gerber Cereal Influence program in cooperation with The Women Bloggers, Kendal-King Group #SoapboxInfluence and@SoapboxKKG. As always, all opinions expressed here are my own–and you just know I have opinions!

frozen peach yogurt gerber featured photo

It’s that time of the year again, y’all. Ice cream and frozen yogurt are usually our typical summer sweet treats, taking advantage of the bounty of Arkansas seasonal fruits. This Peach Frozen Yogurt used part of the last bit of my frozen peach stash from last year along with the added goodness of Gerber’s Peach Yogurt Blends and 2nd Foods Peaches to make an incredible Peach Frozen Yogurt.

froz peach yogurt products gerber

The frozen peaches are certainly an optional ingredient if you don’t have any on hand. In fact, your little ones may prefer the smoother variety. 

frozen cubed peaches

Gerber Yogurt Blends are shelf stable, making them really convenient to have on hand or as a travel option. I really like the fact that there are no preservatives, artificial sweeteners or artificial flavors in them. They are made with whole milk yogurt, an excellent source of protein and Vitamin D.

Each container of Gerber 2nd Foods Peaches equals 3/4 of a peach. The plastic pack is conveniently designed as a single feeding straight from the container. Made from fresh peaches and peach puree, it is an excellent source of Vitamin C and potassium.

While I prefer using Greek yogurt for its tangy flavor, you could use regular yogurt if you prefer. Make sure you use whole milk yogurt, however. Both ice cream and frozen yogurt need the butterfat to make a smooth product.

frz peach yogurt in freezer

Strained Yogurt

Straining the yogurt drains off the whey and leaves you with a higher concentration of butterfat. You will use the strained yogurt cup for cup as you would yogurt that is not drained.

To strain the yogurt, line a wire strainer with a paper coffee filter or a few layers of cheesecloth. Peel back about 1/3 rd of the foil seal from a quart of Greek yogurt and invert in into the strainer. Allow to drain at least 6-8 hours in the refrigerator. I typically put mine in the refrigerator overnight, turning it on occasion. 

You can use the whey as a liquid in soups, etc. rather than throwing it away. 

frozen peach yogurt with blueberries

I like to serve the Frozen Peach Yogurt topped with additional cubed peaches and fresh blueberries. If you have it available, top it off with some fresh mint. Sit back, relax and enjoy!


Frozen Peach Yogurt


  • 3 cups whole milk Greek yogurt, strained
  • 2 3.5-ounce containers Gerber peach yogurt blends
  • 1 4-ounce container Gerber 2nd foods peaches
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups finely cubed fresh or frozen peaches, optional


  1. Mix all ingredients except cubed peaches together until smooth Stir in cubed peaches if desired.. Set aside in the refrigerator for 1 hour to chill.
  2. Freeze according to ice cream maker manual directions.
  3. Allow to cure in a covered container in the freezer for at least 1 - 2 hours before serving.
  4. Garnish with additional cubed peaches and blueberries, if desired.

So have you made these Baby-Lovin’ Turkey Meatballs yet? Why not stir those up today?

Baby-Lovin’ Turkey Meatballs



Disclosure: This post is sponsored through the Gerber Cereal Influence program in cooperation with The Women Bloggers, Kendal-King Group @SoapboxKKG and #SoapboxInfluence. As always, all opinions expressed here are my own–and you just know I have opinions!

cooking with gerber ingredients mini meatballs

Recently, I had the opportunity to do a little recipe testing and development with my sweet friend, Jenny Marrs of Blessings and Raindrops. She and I were invited to the Nestle USA kitchen in Rogers where we used various baby and toddler foods to recreate and sample recipes from the Gerber Cereal Recipe Program.

We had such fun, y’all! Jenny and I chose our dishes and jumped right in as if it was something we did on a daily basis — test kitchen-wise, that is. Jenny has a houseful of kiddos she has to feed and well, I like to cook!

Photo courtesy of Kendal King Group

Photo courtesy of Kendal King Group

We ended up with lots of “helpers” not only in the preparation, but there were a few observers who were easily convinced to become the taste testers! Needless to say, there weren’t any leftovers when we finished that afternoon.

So that’s the background for why I’m telling you all about these Baby-Lovin’ Italian Turkey Meatballs.

baby lovin turkey meatballs cookingwithgerber

But I have a twist. You just knew I would, didn’t you?

If you have little ones you are transitioning to table foods, these meatballs are sure to be a hit. It’s a very tasty little meatball, and it can easily be adapted to appeal to older children and adults without much effort at all.

TIPS from Gerber:

  • Test temperature before serving.
  • For a denser meatball, add more cereal
  • Add herbs and spices your little one loves to the meat sauce.
  • If your child dislikes spices,  you can easily omit them

THOUGHTS from me:

  • The Gerber cookbook recipe makes approximately 10-12 mini-meatballs. Honestly, I think a toddler would probably eat at least 2 and a preschooler probably 3-4. 
  • Depending upon the size and composition of your family, double or triple the meat and double the other ingredients. The first time I made these, I only used turkey (chicken would also work) which works well for the little ones. The addition of the mild Italian sausage was a good addition for the bigger folks.
  • Sauté 1/4 cup minced celery, 1/4 cup minced onion and 1/4 cup minced bell pepper until tender. (or more depending upon your preference) Add this vegetable mixture to the meatball mixture when preparing them for other-than-baby family members.
  • You could easily add parboiled finely shredded and diced carrots to the meatball mixture. I like to think of all kinds of creative ways to get more vegetables into our diets.
  • Make the meatballs larger, if you want, for the older kiddos and family members–although the mini ones are kinda’ cute, y’all:)

CookingWithGerber mini meatballs

  • Use a small ice cream scoop to make uniform meatballs. Chill at least 30 minutes before browning. Or, flash freeze and store in a freezer bag until ready to use. They cook in minutes.
  • Why not serve these over pasta, rice or with mixed vegetables? How about vegetable spirals with zucchini? 

CookingWithGerber whole wheat spag with mini meatballs

I bet you could share some really creative additions with me. Please do!

Here’s a fun idea.

Have a party! These meatballs would make a super party appetizer. I added freshly grated Parmesan and kicked up the spices, including adding some crushed Aleppo pepper.

Sprinkle with additional freshly grated Parmesan and shreds of Genovese basil. Accompany the meatballs with some of the sauce and small pieces of garlic bread, if desired.

They’ll be gobbled up in no time guys.

#cookingwithgerber mini meatball appetizers

Now, before you can say, “Why in the world is she trying to get me to eat baby food?” just think how easy it is to adapt this recipe so that your entire family, including that little-bitty one can share basically the same meal. 

And a healthy choice meal it is. Turkey is lean. The cereal is high-fiber, high nutrient, fortified, and then there’s the veggies.

Win-Win, y’all.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Did somebody say pizza?

Do your kiddos gobble up pizza like the ones in our family? Then they’re gonna’ love making pizza with these mini-meatballs, a slice of naan, a little of the tomato sauce, some mozzarella or cheese of your choice, I like to top my cooked pizza with some fresh arugula.

cookingwithgerber naan mini meatball pizza

Preheat a pizza stone in a 400 degree oven. Place prepared pizza on the stone and bake until cheese is melted, 5 – 10 minutes. You could also grill these if you prefer.

Let the kids make their own. Even your toddler can get in on the action. After a few minutes in the oven  or on the grill and you will have yourself (errr your children rather) one delicious, quick, easy and healthy pizza.

Baby-Lovin’ Italian Turkey Meatballs (Big Kid Version)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

10 minutes

1 meatball/ toddlers; 2 meatballs/preschoolers

This recipe is adapted from the Gerber Cereal Recipe Program. It is part of a #sponsored post, but all opinions about it are my own. As always!

**Meatballs may be baked in a 375 degree oven about 10 minutes (minis).


  • 1/3 cup finely minced onion
  • 1/3 cup finely minced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely minced bell pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons GERBER MultiGrain Cereal
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried oregano (or 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried basil (or 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh basil)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, optional
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8-ounces tomato sauce
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons crushed Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 container (3.5 ounces) 2nd Foods® Squash (or Mixed Vegetables)
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, celery and bell pepper until soft. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine turkey, Italian sausage, cooled vegetable sauté, cereal, garlic, egg, oregano and basil lightly but thoroughly.
  3. Form into one inch balls (or larger if you prefer).
  4. Chill meatballs in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to browning.
  5. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add meatballs and cook 30-40 seconds on top and bottom or until lightly golden.**
  6. Remove from skillet to a paper towel-lined plate.
  7. Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and squash to skillet and heat over medium; allow to simmer 10-15 minutes to thicken.
  8. Add meatballs and gently stir to combine.
  9. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve over pasta and garnish with chiffonade of basil.

Be sure to follow #CookingWithGerber for additional ideas for adapting Gerber products into your family’s diet. There are some really amazing dishes being created, y’all. In the meantime, check out this website for additional ideas.

Salmon Burgers


If it’s a burger, it has to be beef. Right?

Nope. Nada. No way. I’m here to set you straight. And free!

My most recent THV11 This Morning segment was A Burger Bar for your Burger Bash. With those summertime parties that we all love so much coming up, I thought we could all use a twist to the ole grilling routine.

salmon burger vert

These salmon burgers are just the trick to do that. Who woulda’ thought?

You may have had salmon burgers before, but my twist on these is to use some of that yummy smoked salmon that Hubby prepares in mine. The one we liked best combined fresh salmon and some of that leftover smoked salmon we had for dinner the night before. It was a perfect combination.

Now, if you don’t happen to have any of that leftover smoked salmon, don’t fret. Just use all fresh. It’ll still be quite delicious. I suppose you could add in a tablespoon of Liquid Smoke for a little of that smoky taste, but I haven’t tried that. Let me know if you do.

We like the burger topped off with some tzatziki or homemade tartar sauce and half a handful of arugula. If you have any summer, homegrown heirloom tomatoes put a big slice on there as well.

These can be prepared on the grill on the stovetop in a skillet. I think I really prefer it best in the skillet actually since it really crisps up the panko breading.

salmon burger on salad horz full plate

Or, you can lose the bun and try it served on top of a green salad. Just be careful you don’t get all puffed up eatin’ healthy that way!.

Happy summer burgers, y’all. #letsbreakbread

Salmon Burgers


  • 1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless salmon*
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 shallots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • ½ cup coarse Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Lemon wedges
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 4 brioche buns, split

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing buns
  • Tartar, Tzatziki or Feta-Dill sauce and arugula, for topping
  • Tzatziki Sauce
  • 1 large cucumber seeded and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup thickened nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Splash Tabasco
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Feta-Dill Sauce
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons finely crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Dice three-quarters of the salmon into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the rest of the salmon into chunks; transfer to a food processor along with the mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest and ground chipotle.
  3. Pulse to make a paste.
  4. Combine the pureed salmon mixture to the bowl with the diced salmon.
  5. Add the scallions, 2 tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Gently stir to combined.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Divide the salmon mixture into 4 mounds on the parchment paper.*
  7. With damp hands, pat into 4-inch-wide, 3/4-inch-thick patties. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat the skillet.
  9. Spread the remaining 1 cup panko on a plate. Press both sides of the salmon patties in the panko.
  10. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties (in batches if necessary) and cook until browned on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary.
  11. Turn and cook until the other side is browned and the patties feel springy in the center, 3 to 4 more minutes.
  12. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; season with sea salt.
  13. Brush the buns with the oil and toast.
  14. Serve the patties on the buns; top with sauce of your choice and arugula. Add a slice of heirloom tomato, if desired.
  15. Tzatziki Sauce
  16. Whisk together all ingredients until smooth; refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  17. Feta-Dill Sauce
  18. Bland all ingredients until smooth; refrigerate at least 2 hours.


*I actually draw 4-inch circles on the parchment paper to use as a guide. It helps keep the burgers all uniform in size.

Zippy Zucchini Fries


Your family and friends will love these Zippy Zucchini Fries, y’all. They are such a nice change of pace from regular potato french fries. They can just as easily be made with yellow summer squash if that’s what you have on hand. 

zucchini fried horz with towel

This is a side dish I’m preparing for this week’s THV11 This Morning segment. I’m going to be talking about setting up a Burger Bar for a Burger Bash, specifically geared toward Memorial Day. But you don’t have to wait around for a special occasion to make these fries.

I’ve served them with the Herbed Mayonnaise shown here, but they would be just as delicious with Blue Cheese or Roquefort Dressing or even Buffalo Wing Sauce. I’m not a real mayo lover so I often substitute nonfat Greek yogurt which has been well-drained for it. If you’re so inclined to make homemade mayonnaise, go ahead. You just know it will be delicious.

This week’s feature will showcase burgers of all kinds: Smoked Salmon Burgers (fresh and smoked salmon), Italian Burgers (beef and Italian sausage, Tequila-Lime Chicken Burgers, Kickin’ Bison, Bacon and BBQ Burgers, and Gyro-Style Lamb Burgers.

Thanks for hanging in there with me while my site is being reconstructed. It seems as though my custom theme decided to take a hiatus. Sometimes technology…

zucchini fries plated

Zippy Zucchini Fries


  • 1 pound zucchini, about 3 small (I prefer the smaller ones because they hold up better.)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2-3 cups panko
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 1-2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Riceland Rice Bran Oil or peanut oil
  • Herbed Mayonnaise or Greek yogurt and/or prepared blue cheese or Roquefort dressing. Buffalo sauce is nice as well.
  • Tabasco, optional
  • Herbed Mayonnaise
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or drained Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground smoked chipotle pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme
  • 2 teaspoon minced flat-leaf parsley


  1. Cut zucchini into 2 x 1/4 (or so)-inch lengths. Slightly larger sticks will have more of the zucchini flavor.
  2. Sprinkle sticks with kosher salt; let stand 20-30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
  3. Combine panko, garlic powder, black pepper and ground chipotle in a large zipper bag; set aside.
  4. Place flour in another zipper bag; set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk eggs. (I usually put these in a plastic zipper bag as well. It's just easier for me.)
  6. Shake zucchini sticks in the flour in batches.
  7. Dip in the beaten eggs being sure to coat thoroughly.
  8. Place sticks in the panko bag and shake well to coat.
  9. Heat oil to a depth of 1/2 inch to 374-400 degrees. Fry zucchini sticks in a single layer until browned and crisped.
  10. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  11. Herbed Mayonnaise
  12. Mix all ingredients together and chill for at least 1 hour. May be made ahead.
  13. The fries may also be baked in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.


Adapted from Southern Made Fresh by Tasia Malakasis.

Spring Vegetable, Rice and Smoked Salmon Salad


Don’t you just love this time of the year when the spring vegetables start coming in? I sure do, and I try to take advantage of them as much as I can.

Fresh spring peas are a beauty to withhold. They taste nothing at all like the ones in the can. Frozen peas are a suitable substitute if you don’t have a fresh supply readily available in your home garden or local farmers market.

asparagus bed sq

What’s not to love about fresh spring asparagus. We are harvesting from our small patch for the second season this year. The flavor of garden to table asparagus is incomparable. But, if you don’t have your own asparagus patch, certainly buy it locally if you can. I always prefer stalks about the size of my middle finger as I think the flavor is better than in those pencil-thin stalks.

spring veg rice smk salmon salad in mix bowl

Hubby loves his smoker, and I try to take advantage of that as often as I can as well. His smoked salmon is amazingly delicious, and it freezes quite well so I often have that available. You can easily substitute store-bought smoked salmon. This salad works equally as well with any white-flesh smoked fish such as trout.

This is always a main dish for us either at lunch or dinner. As the weather starts to warm, its so nice to have it available in the frig for a quick meal. Plus, it’s a great way to use up some of that leftover rice.

spring veg rice smk salmon salad vert

The vegetable amounts and kinds are easily varied to suit your tastes, but I encourage you to use that fresh asparagus and those fresh sweet peas if you can get them at all.

Spring Vegetable, Rice and Smoked Salmon Salad

4 servings as main dish


    Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salad
  • 2 cups prepared Riceland Gold Perfected Rice
  • 1 cup small, diagnonal slices fresh asparagus
  • 1 cup thinly shredded carrots
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed sweet peas
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced green or yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chiffonade of basil or minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved, optional
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper


    Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette
  1. Whisk all together and toss with the salmon and orzo.
  2. Salad
  3. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add asparagus pieces; cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove asparagus from water with tongs or a slotted spoon, reserving water in pan. Plunge asparagus into ice water; drain and set aside.
  4. Repeat with shredded carrots.
  5. Break fish into chunks. Combine fish, rice, diced vegetables, feta and basil or parsley in a large bowl; toss gently with the Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette to coat.
  6. Chill well before serving.
  7. At serving, garnish with cherry tomatoes, additional basil or parsley. Additional lemon juice may be sprinkled on top, if desired.


Uncommon Goods – Uncommonly Good


This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods. As always, all opinions are mine — and you know I have them!

diningwithdebbie uncommon goods

What makes Uncommon Goods so uncommonly good? Yes, their products are remarkably beautiful. Yes, their designers are among the creative best. Yes, their products are all handmade by skilled artisans using “interesting, unusual, reclaimed, or recycled materials.”

But more than that, I think what makes Uncommon Goods so uncommonly good is told through their stories. The stories of the people and places behind those stories.


Our buyers don’t just evaluate new goods based on materials and function. They also take a deeper look at where each design comes from. We’re interested in how it’s made, who’s making it, and the process that leads to the finished product

Take a look at the story of Tracy Shea an Ohio mom of two who spends her days making her popular Pedestal Jewelry Holder

Perfect Girl's birthday necklace from Uncommon Goods featured on her great great grandmother's handkerchief.

Perfect Girl’s birthday necklace from Uncommon Goods featured on her great great grandmother’s handkerchief.

Or Beth Lawrence of Tennessee who created the Freshie & Zero Past, Present and Future necklace we are giving Perfect Girl for her 9th birthday this month. Where is my tiny baby girl?

kb baby girl bubbles

“Founded in 2006, Beth Lawrence’s studio is located in Nashville, TN where she creates each piece of jewelry while her dog Zero sleeps nearby. A Nashville native, Beth has made jewelry since she can remember, and even sold her work to neighbors and boutiques while still in elementary school! After earning a BFA in Studio Art from Belmont University, she worked in art and craft galleries in Atlanta and Nashville before rekindling her passion for creating jewelry. Mainly drawing inspiration from geometry, she makes each piece with “love and a hammer,” using sterling silver and gold-filled wire to create jewelry that is simple and delicately feminine. Beth travels extensively to promote her jewelry. However, Zero typically stays in the studio dreaming about squirrels and peanut butter.”

You just have to love a story like that, and I love the story of Perfect Girl’s birthday necklace representing me, her mom and her. I hope it will be a treasure she passes on to her daughter one day. Shhhh. She hasn’t received it yet.

Uncommon Goods offers so many beautiful creations for persons of all tastes. Still needing something special for Mom for this Mother’s Day? They have gathered some beautiful and unique pieces — not just jewelry– for you to consider. 

How about a homegrown spa experience? Or this personalized family print from Mary and Shelly Klein? What mother or grandmother wouldn’t love to receive either one?

With berry season just coming in, I’ve been giving strong hints that this Berry Buddy by Brian Kunkelman needs to find its way into my kitchen.

“We’re on the lookout for designs that serve a purpose, solve a problem, stun us with their beauty, or make us wonder why no one thought of it before.”

When you read that quote from their web site, you just know you’re headed for an amazing adventure. If you’re anything like me, you’ll certainly be drawn to the unique merchandise, but more than that, you’ll be drawn to Uncommon Good’s people and its mission.

I’d love to hear from you after you’ve paid them a visit. I really know it’s going to be the beginning of a shopping love affair:)

Thanks for stopping by. Come again soon and #letsbreakbread.

Pappardelle with Peas, Parmesan and Pancetta


One of the dishes I prepared for my THV11 This Morning segment called Peas, Pretty Please (aren’t I clever), was the pasta dish, Pappardelle with Peas, Parmesan and Pancetta. I was inspired by a Mario Batalli dish and just took it from there.

peas, pancetta, pappardelle 3 vert

If you’re not familiar with pappardelle, it’s the pasta Hubby prefers with my homemade Bolognese.  These noodles are large, very broad, and flat, similar to wide fettuccine only fatter. I especially like them in this dish since part of the richness comes from the pea pesto that ultimately coats the noodles. The pea pesto coated noodles, coupled with the saltiness of the pancetta and the brightness of the fresh spring peas, creates a rich and very satisfying dish.

Even if you’re one of those people who used to push your peas off the plate or slyly fed them to the dog under the table, you really should give this dish a try.

Fresh or even freshly frozen spring peas are much more lively than the ones in a can. Now, don’t fuss at me over that. I know canned peas have their fans. I just don’t happen to be one. And, yes, I have used them on occasion. It’s not that I hate them; I just think frozen ones are far better if you can’t harvest fresh ones from your garden or locate them at the farmers market.

Pappardelle with Peas, Parmesan and Pancetta


  • 4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
  • 3 cups freshly shelled sweet peas (substitute frozen baby sweet peas)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus additional
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallot
  • 1 pound fresh or dried pappardelle
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper


In a cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta until crisp; remove pancetta from skillet and set aside to drain on paper towels.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Put half of the peas in the water. Cook for 4 minutes. Plunge immediately in ice water; strain.
  4. Place the blanched peas in a food processor along with 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  5. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.
  6. Reheat the skillet with the rendered pancetta fat over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil if needed
  7. Add the shallots and the rest of the peas; sauté until softened, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  8. Add the fresh pasta to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until al dente. Or cook dried pasta according to package directions; drain reserving pasta water.
  9. Add the pea pesto and a ladle of the pasta water into the pan with the peas and stir to loosen the sauce.
  10. Add the cooked pasta directly into the pan with the pea mixture, stirring gently to mix well, adding a bit of pasta water if needed.pasta water if necessary.
  11. Add more freshly grated cheese and scallions and toss to combine.
  12. Gently stir in the cooked pancetta.


Thanks for stopping by, y’all.



It Really Is: #HummusMadeEasy {Smoked Turkey Wraps}

***Site under reconstruction***
This post was sponsored by The Women Bloggers, LLC and #SoapBoxInfluence. . Special thanks to the Kendal King Group creators of #HummusMadeEasy Campaign. As always, all opinions are mine — and you know I have them!

Hubby and I often have wraps as our preferred sandwich style. I tend to make them often especially during the spring and summer months when I can fill them with tons of fresh vegetables from the garden or farmers market. And since he envisions himself as king of the smoker, we always have plenty of smoked meat or fish around to include as an added protein.

#hummusmadeeasy red pepper turkey wraps slider

When I was contacted about  Hummus Made Easy from Bush’s Beans, I knew right away I’d have to try one of the three varieties in a wrap. I make hummus all of the time and truly wondered why anyone would consider purchasing Hummus Made Easy when hummus is already pretty darn easy to make anyway.

Blend #HummusMadeEasy with a can of drained and rinsed @BushsBeans garbanzos.

Blend #HummusMadeEasy with a can of drained and rinsed @BushsBeans garbanzos.

But I’m always open to new ideas, and I am soooooo glad I gave this one a go.  It’s delicious and oh so easy. I’m very sincere when I tell you I’m pretty much “in love” with it. Not only is it super tasty, it could not be any easier to make.

I mean. It may have taken me all of 15 seconds to make the basic recipe using the Roasted Red Pepper variety  with Bush’s garbanzo beans. I paired it with smoked turkey and lots of crunchy veggies on FlatOut Light Original flatbread (only 90 calories) to make the wrap we had for lunch that day.

#hummusmadeeasy roasted red pepper @bushsbeans plated on cutting board horz

It could just as easily been made with smoked turkey, ham or pulled pork and a tortilla as well. I plan to try the Classic #HummusMadeEasy with some fresh herbs, garlic and smoked trout or salmon. 

Here's a Party Idea
How about setting up a hummus wrap bar for your next family or friend gathering. Let each person create his or her wrap with whatever floats their boat!

And the hummus was even better, if that could be, the day after I made it.

My Perfect Daughter and Perfect Girl are hummus lovers just like we are. She probably would tell you that I went on and on about Hummus Made Easy — maybe a little excessively?? But I have no doubt she’ll be loving it as much as I do once she gives it a whirl. 

Honestly, it’s so easy to make I’m certain 8-year-old Perfect Girl could make it all by herself.

My Community Bible Study group had lunch together this week, and I took the leftovers with me to share and get their reaction. It was a 100% super hit with each lady in the group. I even had to pull up a photo on my phone so they could be sure to identify the product on the shelf at Walmart since several were headed there to get some of the packets and beans after our lunch!

How’s that for an endorsement?

By the way, the packets are really easy to find. They’re sitting right there on the shelf at Walmart next to the Bush’s Beans. Can’t miss ’em.

If you’re interested in some more delicious ideas using #HummusMadeEasy from Bush’s Beans you can check out their website and also do a search using the hashtag, #hummusmadeeasy. Several others from The Women Bloggers are creating deliciousness that you’ll definitely want to try. 


#HummusMadeEasy {Smoked Turkey Wraps}

6 wraps

1 wrap

Healthy and delicious smoked turkey wraps made using Bush's Beans Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Made Easy and garbanzo beans. I used FlatOut Light Original Flatbread (90 calories) instead of tortillas to decrease the calorie count.


  • 1 15.8-ounce can Bush's Beans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 6-ounce package Bush's Beans Hummus Made Easy Roasted Red Pepper variety
  • 1 11.2-ounce package Flat Out Light Original Flatbread (substitute tortilla wraps)
  • 6 leaves romaine lettuce, ribs cut out
  • 6-12 thin smoked turkey slices
  • 1 medium red pepper, membranes and stem removed, julienned
  • 1/2 English cucumber, julienned
  • 1 1/2 cups julienned carrots
  • 1/2 cup julienned radish strips
  • Fresh mint leaves, optional


  1. Process drained Bush's Beans garbanzo beans and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Made Easy in the bowl of a food processor until smooth and creamy; set aside.
  2. For each wrap, lay a flatbread on your work surface and spread with approximately 2 Tablespoons Hummus Made Easy.
  3. Cover hummus with a lettuce leaf and two slices smokedd turkey. Top with red pepper, cucumber, carrot and radish strips as desired.
  4. Add a few leaves of mint, if desired.
  5. Fold the bottom edge of the flatbread over the filling. If using a tortilla, fold in the sides, then roll up, squeezing the wrap so that the roll is tight and compact.
  6. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes and up to 24 hours.


Hummus may be made in advance and kept for several days. The flavor will become even more pungent and delicious. The wrap can be made a day ahead and kept wrapped until serving time.

The amounts given may be varied to suit each person's taste.


Kitchen Basics: Kitchen Herb Garden, Part 1

This is my new herb garden location Hubby created for me. I know he did it because he loves me, but my constant whining may have had a little something to do with it as well. Either way, I’m tickled pink and really looking forward to nursing it through its first year. This particular spot provides both partial shade and full sun which is good since different herbs have different light requirements. 

Just as in real estate, there a 3 basic rules for the placement of your herb garden: location, location, location.

herb garden

  • First: Put your herb garden as close to your kitchen as you can. You’ll want to have it just as handy as your spice cabinet. This will ensure you will actually use and take advantage of your herbs on a daily basis.
  • Second: For the most part, herbs thrive in full sun. Partial shade is okay in areas of intense afternoon heat. Full sun will promote fuller foliage
  • Third: A kitchen herb garden, I believe, has to be one of the most useful gardens you can grown. But, it needs to be located where you will access it frequently. With just a little maintenance, you herb garden will reward you with an abundant and steady supply from spring through much of fall. In fact, my parsley, sage and rosemary typically winter over outside just fine.

I’ve grown herbs for years. In pots and pans, in garden and flower beds — wherever I could find a spot to stick a plant. I love the little surprise and sensual pleasure they bring when you walk by and brush your hand across them. Or when they bloom and the butterflies and bees hover over by seemingly by the hundreds (Just indulge me with that stretch of hyperbole, won’t you?).

Some ideas for you to consider:

  • Start simply. It’s easy to get a little too excited and overplant. Trust me. I’ve been there. Lots.
  • Choose what you will use. If you don’t like the taste of licorice, don’t plant tarragon. And if cilantro is the very last flavor you want in your salsas or pico de gallo, for heaven’s sake, don’t waste your money and precious space growing them.
  • Contain the wanderers. Do you absolutely adore mint? Well, it probably will adore you right back and spread all over the garden unless you hinder its little journey. The same with oregano, marjoram and chives. They are aggressive little fellows that love to spread their wings — and roots—everywhere. And I do mean EVERYWHERE. Plant these fellows in containers unless you have room to let them spread rampantlyPersonally, I love have oregano as a large ground cover in my front shrub and flower bed. It makes for a VERY ample supply and it’s a great conversation starter.And I let my mint and garlic chives have free reign in an area below the garden where not much else grows except rocks. So why not. They love the area and I love having them around.

Some recommended favorites from my garden:

  • Basil. I grow copious amounts of basil, especially Genovese basil. In my opinion, it is the best overall variety for cooking. It is certainly the best for pesto, caprese salad and other tomato dishes. I keep bottles of basil-infused olive oil and basil compound butter in my refrigerator and freezer year round.herbs genovese basil

    There will also be Greek or spicy globe basil just because it’s such a cute little plant, and I do like the little kick it brings to some dishes. It has a peppery aroma and is very easy to grown in the border or planter.
    herbs spicy globe basil

    I’ll also have a purple variety, usually called Fluffy Ruffles, just because it looks so bright and cheery in summer salads and it makes a gorgeous purple vinegar (so, so easy to make — come back later and I’ll show you how to do that). The flavor of purple basil warm and similar to licorice. Herbs purple basil
    I also include Thai basil and Cinnamon  basil as well. I use the Thai basil for stir fry dishes. Thai basil has a peppery, sweet aroma with a sweet, anise-licorice flavor. Cinnamon basil, a native of Mexico, has a lively sweet cinnamon aroma. Serve it with spicy, stir-fries, beans and other legumes.Other varieties I really like are Lettuce basil and Lemon or Thai lemon basil. I haven’t located any plants this year, but hope to do so soon. Thai lemon basil perks up noodle and curry dishes when added just before serving. Lettuce basil, with its big, floppy and wrinkled leaves is excellent in any dish where you would use Genovese basil. It’s a gorgeous variety, I think.

    An annual, basil is best used fresh. Heat will dissipate the flavor, so wait until the end of the cooking time to toss it into your dish. And it doesn’t like cold either so keep it out of the refrigerator.

    Simply store it in a glass of water, changed daily, on the countertop and it should last a few days. In fact, it may even decide to sprout roots.

    Keep basil pinched back to encourage bushy growth and cut off any flower heads that show up.

  • Chives. I mentioned that I have garlic chives growing along a hillside below the garden. Those babies have been there for years, and I didn’t legitimately plant a single one of them.How did that happen? Well, when your chives take over the garden, you pull them up by the roots and toss them down the hill. They rebel and start multiplying like jackrabbits.Chives have a mild onion flavor and are perennials.  Garlic chives have, as the name suggests, a subtle garlic aroma and taste as well. It’s easiest to grow chives from plants, but you can grown them from seeds if you have the time and patience. Trim them on a regular basis to encourage growth and divide and replant them every few years. Or share a starter plant with a neighbor or friend.herbs chive blossom
    Go ahead and use the lightly purple edible flowers which make a lovely addition to salads. Toss chives into your savory dishes at the end of the cooking time. Otherwise, they will become bitter. Plus, you don’t want them to go to seed unless, of course, you want a yard full of errant chive plants.
    Chives should never be cooked as they lose their flavor in the cooking. Snip them with scissors into butter, sour cream, thick yogurt or over baked potatoes and other vegetables.
  • Cilantro. This is one annual I don’t really have in my herb garden anymore. It’s certainly easy enough to grow from seed, but don’t try transplanting because it doesn’t usually transition well.herbs cilantro
    Cilantro bolts so quickly in our Arkansas heat, I find it’s just cheaper and easier to buy it in the grocery now. However, if you live in a cooler climate or are prone to fall gardens, plant a patch. The entire plant is edible—well, maybe not the roots;) My preferred variety of Santo if you can find it.
  • Parsley. I do love me some parsley, and I almost always grow it from seed. However, it is readily available each spring as plants. I plant both flat-leaf (also known as French or Italian parsley) and curly varieties. The Italian variety is what I use most often in cooking while the curly variety makes a beautiful garnish or addition to mayonnaise or soups.Flat-leaf parsley is a key ingredient in bouque garnis, fines herbs, Italian gremolata, salsa verde and tabouleh. It pairs very well with eggs, lemon, lentils, fish, rice, most vegetables and tomatoes. herbs flat leaf parsley
    Many sources agree that parsley is the world’s most popular herb. Its name comes from the Greek word meaning “rock celery” (parsley is a relative to celery). It is a biennial plant that will return to the garden year after year once it is established and allowed to go to seed.Did you know that parsley roots are actually edible? They resemble carrots when you pull them up, and you cook them in the same way you would carrots.

    Parsley is highly nutritious and can be used in a multitude of ways: gremolata (parsley. olive oil, garlic and lemon), compound butter, salad just to name a few. I like to fresh it in ice cubes to use for winter soups, stews, casseroles and sauces.

    Be sure to store it correctly once harvested, and it should last several days after cutting.

    Parsley contains several essential oils. One of those is apiole, a kidney stimulant. Parsley, in large quantities, should be avoided by pregnant women since those oils can simulate uterine contractions. However, after the baby is born, parsley will help tone the uterus and promote lactation. The Complete Guide to Natural Healing.

    Each fall, I plant parsley seed in a pot and let it winter over outside or inside under my grow light when the temps are extremely cold. By doing so, I have a big pot of fresh parsley ready to go in the spring.

    The pot from the previous fall’s planting will be allowed to go to seed so that it reseeds in the same pot. I usually have good results, but I always have parsley seed on hand and routinely start plants throughout the year that grow under our basement grow light.

    flat-leaf parsley

    Flat-leaf parsley going to seed.

COMING NEXT:  Part 2: Oregano, Marjoram, Mint, Thyme, Fennel

I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the new herb garden. Thanks for stopping by.

Red Apple Inn Paradise Pie


So this week on THV11 This Morning I shared  some goodies from one of my favorite Arkansas gems, The Red Apple Inn at Eden Isle. You know I’ve featured them before:

One of the recipes I shared was for Paradise Pie which Mrs. Ruby Thomas, one of the original owners,  always had available on the menu. Even though the property has changed hands a couple of times since the Thomases owned it, the Red Apple Inn has kept many of her recipes available due to their tradition and popularity. Paradise Pie is one of those.

It’s really a simple pie to make. You just won’t believe how uncomplicated it is really. It can be frozen quite well so it’s nice to have it available when you need to prepare ahead or to keep on hand for last-minute guests. I suggest you let it mostly thaw before serving. You could eat it frozen, I suppose, but it would be rather like eating a meringue popsicle.

Red Apple Inn Paradise Pie

“I first had this simple but delicious dessert 30 years ago in Booneville, Arkansas. It is still a favorite at the Red Apple. It is quickly made and freezes well.” Ruby Thomas


  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated coconut, divided
  • 20 saltine cracker squares, crumbled fine in a food processor
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped


  1. Butter a 9-inch pie plate; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Lightly toast 1/2 cup coconut while preheating the oven; set aside to cool completely.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff
  5. Gradually add in sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon coconut extract and 1 cup coconut continuing to beat during additions
  6. Fold in crumbled crackers and pecans.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pie plate and bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees.
  8. Cool completely. Freeze until shortly before serving.
  9. In a chilled mixing bowl with chilled beaters, beat whipped cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla until stiff.
  10. Top cooled (or frozen) pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with 1/2 cup lightly toasted grated coconut.


The pie can also be frozen after topping with the whipped cream and toasted coconut.

Adapted from Feasts of Eden by Ruby C. Thomas

Be sure to join me next week when I’ll be sharing even more Favorites from the Red Apple Inn. In the meantime, go check out those first 3 links where you can read about the history and development of the inn property.

I sure hope you get a chance to visit this Arkansas jewel in the near future. When you do, be sure to tell Rachelle and Jack, long-time employees, I said hello. They are great people and I’m sure they’ll do everything they can to make yours a enjoyable visit.

favorites from the red apple inn on thv 11

PS: Dear FTC, I have not been compensated in any manner for this post. These opinions, as usual, are my very own.