There are over 430 Waffle House restaurants in Georgia. Chances are that if you live in this wonderful state, you reside within 10 miles of at least 2 different Waffle House locations and probably at least one within walking distance. If you're not a Georgia resident but you've ever had the privilege of driving through our beautiful state, there's no doubt you took notice of our state restaurant. 😂 You won't have to drive far from an exit off of any major highway to satisfy your most imminent waffle emergency.
According to their website, Waffle House serves 341 strips of bacon, 238 orders of hash browns, 127 cups of coffee and 145 waffles -- EVERY MINUTE!!! That is a LOT of waffles. When I first moved to Georgia, I thought that everyone went to this popular establishment for the waffles. Turns out, people flock to this chain restaurant because it's open 24 hours a day - 365 days a year, it's relatively cheap and it serves greasy spoon comfort food.
What I find fascinating about this iconic restaurant, is that no matter what time of day I pass by any given location, there are cars in the parking lot and people sitting at the counter with steaming cups of hot coffee. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I've been in a Waffle House at 3:00 in the morning and there were plenty of other hungry diners happily enjoying a meal alongside me.
This is not going to be a popular opinion but I'm not actually a big fan of the waffles at Waffle House. My very favorite waffles are the still the ones that I make in my own kitchen. They're light, fluffy and delicious and even though they may be not be as popular as the Waffle House waffle, I think they're far better. And as it turns out - my kitchen is open 24/7 too. 💁🏻♀️
1 3/4 cups whole milk
8 Tablespoons butter
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon vanilla
In the morning, pour batter into a hot waffle iron.
Serve with fruit and powdered sugar (Amy style) or drizzle with maple syrup.
Weekends were made for waffles. With a little planning and prep work the night before, you can have fresh homemade waffles in under 15 minutes. That might actually be faster than I can get to a Waffle House and order a waffle. 🤷🏻♀️
What is the deal with pancetta? Is it just fancy, more expensive, hard to find bacon? Is it really necessary in recipes or can you swap pancetta out with bacon? Why do people use pancetta? Is it really THAT much better than bacon? I've got a lot of questions. 🥓🤷🏻♀️
I used to be able to buy pancetta from the deli department in my local grocery store. They've recently stopped carrying it though and the only way that I can buy it now is in the prepackaged, sliced deli meat and cheese case. I'm not a pancetta expert so I really don't know if this kind of pre-packaged pancetta is any good or if I'd be better off with bacon. Where are my pancetta experts? Can you help a girl out? I need answers.
I did a little research and I found out that the biggest difference between bacon and pancetta is that bacon is smoked and cured and pancetta is seasoned, rolled and cured. I'd say that pancetta is the Italian cousin of bacon. It's used for things like soups, pastas and risottos. Most cooks believe that one can be swapped for the other in most recipes as long as you keep in mind that bacon will add a smoky flavor that pancetta will not.
This simple pasta and cheese recipe is what first stirred all of this bacon/pancetta curiosity. Changing just one of the five ingredients in the recipe can really alter the results. I decided to do a little of my own research. I made one batch with pancetta and the other batch with bacon. The results were inconclusive. We liked both pasta dishes. They were different but both were delicious. How's that for ambiguous?
Pasta with Pancetta and Pecorino
8 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/4" thick
1 Tablespoon oil
1 pound pasta
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
Reduce heat to low and add pasta, pancetta and pecorino. Stir 1 minute.
Serve with additional pepper and pecorino.
Hey pancetta people - where you at? Send me the information that you know about pancetta and any advice that you have for this novice pancetta user. I need support and more importantly - I need to know where I can buy great pancetta in the greater Atlanta area. 😂
I'm baaaaack!! I hope that you were not alarmed when you didn't see any new blog posts from me over the past couple of weeks. I didn't taking a break because I'm tired of blogging. And don't worry, I haven't gone completely crazy and decided to tackle a THIRD website. 🤣 Believe it or not, I went to Europe for a casual ten day trip to visit some of the most beautiful places on earth. No big deal. 😲
Just kidding. This was SUCH a big deal in my little world. We covered 3 amazing countries in 10 days. I was so freakin excited about this trip that I felt like I could have just burst. My suitcase was packed for over a week before I left, I successfully lined up 4 different dog sitters and prepared and froze 7 days of meals for the world's greatest house sitter/starving college student/youngest child.
Who would ever have guessed that little old me would jump on a plane to meet my handsome husband in Venice? VENICE!!! Even though I didn't post on my blog while I was travelling, I did document all of my travels with my trusty phone and camera that was constantly attached to me. If you want to follow my journey through Europe, follow my Instagram. And just a warning: If you DON'T want to bombarded with a ridiculous number of food pictures over the next couple of weeks - you should unfollow me immediately.
I'm incredibly jet lagged and I can think of nothing better thing for me to at 2:00 on the morning that I returned than edit and post pictures of my trip. I just loved everything about these amazing countries and I can't wait to share all of my photos with you. The views were amazing, the people were awesome and the food was incredible.
If I've got your Euproean juices flowing - I suggest you make some Fregola with Shrimp and Tomatoes while you scroll through my pictures on Instagram. Open a bottle of Chianti and we can take this beautiful journey together.
Fregola with Shrimp and Tomatoes
3/4 pounds shrimp (peeled, shells reserved)
8 ounce bottle of clam juice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup fregola
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Remove from heat and stir in shrimp and juices, 1/2 T. oil, lemon juice and parsley.
Cover and let stand 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
OK food blog followers, who's been to or lived in Italy, Switzerland or Austria? What are the foods that you absolutely love? The foods that define the culture. Much love to you all and I'll see you in a couple weeks with LOTS of pictures.
My college aged daughter moved home to live with us for the summer and I have to say that it was just about the quickest three months of my life. Two years ago, when we moved her into her dorm room for the first time, I had prepared myself for the hardest goodbye of my life. My baby girl was moving away and I armed myself with an arsenal of coping mechanisms and a box of tissues to help myself deal with the transition of being an empty nester. I read the parenting books about the significance of "drop off day" written by all sorts of "experts" and I was prepared for the emotional flood. And believe me - there was a flood that day.
I was filled with overwhelming pride that she was attending the college of her dreams and sadness that her bright shining face would be absent from our dinner table every night. So on the day of her college drop off we carefully hauled tote after tote of bathroom necessities, school supplies and university sweatshirts into her unusually tiny dorm room on the 4th floor. After we organized her closet to Marie Kondo perfection and made her bed with the new sheets and comforter that she picked out for this exact occasion, we said our final goodbyes. The "experts were right" - it was hard. I may have let a few tears slip out before we left her room but I managed to mostly hold it together until we got to the car.
It was no surprise that it was hard to say goodbye and to leave her in that dorm room for the first time. What WAS a surprise is that there would be so many goodbyes over the next few years that would be equally heart wrenching. Why didn't the "experts" mention the goodbye when she moved back to school after her first Fall break? Christmas break? Summer vacation? It seems there's an endless stream of goodbyes when your child moves away to college. And in my experience - these subsequent goodbyes - don't get any easier with time. Silly me, I thought that once we got through the initial college drop off, each time she went back to school would be easier - turns out - I was wrong. Very wrong.
So last week I had to say goodbye again to my sweet daughter who moved back to school. Life feels differently when she's not in the house and it's going to take some getting used to not having her here again. It takes me about a week before I can even go into her room to change her sheets. 😥
Over the years, I've managed to come up with my own goodbye rituals when my kids go back to college. There's some crying, a lot of busy work and there's always some chocolate involved in my coping techniques. It's not the healthiest way of dealing with the emotional trauma but what can I say? Chocolate soothes my aching soul. So for all of you parents out there who may be struggling with the endless cycle of painful goodbyes of a college-aged child - whether it's the first goodbye or the 20th goodbye - I'm here to say I feel your pain and I've got your back. This Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie won't make the goodbyes any easier but it will help you feel better as you sit alone in your quieter than usual house.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons rolled oats
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
Bake 35 minutes at 325. Cover with foil and bake another 10 minutes.
Let cool 15 minutes then cut into 12 wedges.
Chocolate and pasta are my comfort foods. (Not together obviously.) What do you eat when you need to really need something comforting and soothing? Send me your favorite comfort foods in the comments.
You can debate me on this all day long but I'm absolutely convinced that I was raised on the most delicious, home cooked meals EVER. My mom was a master of taking a package of chicken breasts, a can of soup and a dash of spices and creating something spectacular in under and hour. She had an uncanny ability to take the most unappealing of meats (liver, squirrel, etc) and turn them into tender, juicy delectable fare. This is a genetic trait seems to have skipped right over me, unfortunately. I have a knack for taking the most choice cut, beautifully marbled steak and turning it into snow tire consistency. 🤷🏻♀️
The magic that my mom could perform on a roast beef was nothing compared to the wizardry that she could work with vegetables. She was an expert at taking a vegetable that was absolutely intolerable to her children and turning it into something that we all begged for. Believe me when I tell you that I was not a kid that loved broccoli but I can't even begin to add up how much of my mom's cheesy broccoli casserole I consumed as a child. Thank goodness for a mom who could disguise vegetables as appetizing, flavorful sustenance.
There was nothing fancy about my mom's broccoli and cheese casserole recipe. (A recipe that I'm fairly certain was handed down to her by her sister.) Frozen broccoli florets, Velvetta cheese, butter and Ritz crackers were the keys to successful broccoli transformation. The recipe was simple but the results were extraordinary.
If you were lucky enough have grown up eating home made cheesy vegetable casseroles, you know exactly what I'm talking about. All it takes is brief walk past the Velvetta cheese display at the grocery store and I'm instantly transported back to my childhood and Easter dinners with my family gathered around a table filled with ham, potatoes, freshly baked rolls and of course broccoli cheese casserole.
There's absolutely no point in trying to compete with my moms beloved broccoli casserole but I have a feeling that this recipe for Three Cheese Broccoli and Cheese Casserole will appeal to an entirely different audience than the Velvetta version. It's not that I don't think that children will like this recipe, I just feel like it appeals to a more mature and refined palate. Broccoli and cheese casserole for grown ups - if you will. I'll never stop craving my moms version - just adding this to my vegetable repertoire as well.
Three Cheese Broccoli Casserole
3/4 cup panko
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
6 Tablespoons butter
2 pounds broccoli florets
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons flour
3 cups half and half
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped American cheese
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Bake 15 minutes at 400. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.
This is the stuff that makes summer cook-out memorable. Broccoli casserole goes with everything from burgers and fried chicken to apple stuffed pork tenderloin medallions like the ones in the picture. I don't think that this dish was ever intended to be picnic fare but I think broccoli casserole tastes even better when eaten outside on paper plates - old school. Fancy or casual - broccoli casserole is just about the most perfect side dish.
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