popcorn cookies with chocolate chips

popcorn + chocolate chip cookies

ok, so imma be real with you.
i burn popcorn.

like pretty much every time i make it.
no matter how closely i listen to the microwave as it’s popping, i still burn it.
i follow the directions – i swear – and then stand patiently by the microwave as it pops, listening for the break in the popping… i pull it out as soon as i AM SURE i got it at just the right moment and without fail, i open the door to a slightly burnt smell. and see the little black flecks inside the popped kernels. poor things…
then i deliver the sad attempt to my husband, head hung low. every friggin time.
he can vouch for this. and yet he continues to ask me to make it for him. #smh #sorryhoney

so until i can learn to pop popcorn correctly – and this is not a paid ad – i will remain a HUGE fan of angie’s boom chicka pop. a friend and a client introduced me to it a couple years ago and i have kept it stocked in our pantry ever since. naturally when i came across the idea to put popcorn into a cookie – and it called for popping your own in the microwave for the recipe – i was all, SHYAH RIGHT, i got this.

i adapted a recipe from my favorite design magazine, canada’s house and home (like these maple pudding cakes) and these have quickly become a favorite in my house. the savory, salty element in these cookies is awesome.. and the combination of it with the melty chocolate chips is THE JAM.

popcorn cookies with chocolate chips
makes 28 cookies


5 cups popcorn (pick through + remove any unpopped kernels)

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1 stick butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup chocolate chips


  1. preheat oven to 325. place top rack in lower third of the oven. line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. in a separate large bowl, beat butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until smooth. add egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. with a spatula, stir in dry ingredients. then mix in the popcorn, and then the chocolate chips, until evenly distributed.
  3. with a 2-tbsp cookie scoop or large spoon, drop cookies about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. with clean fingers or a fork, smash them down a bit. bake for 12-13 minutes, until cookies are browning around the edges.

strawberry + mascarpone tartine with balsamic reduction

strawberry + mascarpone tartine with balsamic reduction
a few months ago, i took a little weekend trip to nashville with a dear friend of mine, to help her find a house. (kid-free, i might add. WOOT WOOT.) we viewed about 20 houses in two and a half days, and obviously worked up quite the appetite. being the good friend she is, she went along to all the foodie places i wanted to hit up while we were there. one of my favorite stops was marche artisan foods in historic east nashville. it’s this charming yet super cool spot to grab brunch or lunch, great coffee and pastries, and lovely atmosphere. my favorite thing we ordered was their tartine – a fancy toast – with ripe strawberries, sweet mascarpone cheese and a thick, tart balsamic reduction drizzled over the top. you can probably tell from the picture above how AHmazing it was. seriously, i could lick the screen.

when we got home, i set out to make it myself. and in may, for my little girl’s fifth birthday, i served this for brunch and was so happy with the reviews. people had fourths, i am pretty sure, because i ran out fast.

so if you get out to nashvegas, you must go to marche – you will love it. but if you can’t make it out there, this is the next best thing to their perfect strawberry toast.

oh, and cook’s note: don’t get too amorous while you are simmering your balsamic reduction. if you lean over the saucepan and dreamily inhale the steam, you’ll get a wicked burn all the way to the back of your nose. trust. (i speak from experience.)

strawberry + mascarpone tartine with balsamic reduction


1 loaf sourdough bread

2 16-oz containers fresh strawberries

2 8-oz containers mascarpone cheese

2 tbsp honey

1 cup balsamic vinegar

butter, to spread


1. make the reduction: put balsamic into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. bring to a boil (watch it – it will boil pretty quick) then reduce heat to medium. let simmer for about 10 minutes, until it has reduced to close to 1/3 cup (gently tilt the saucepan towards you to see how much.) remove from heat and let cool – it will thicken up as it cools. (you can store this in an airtight container and it will keep for a couple months. it will probably congeal, but that’s ok. just warm it up a bit with a teensy splash of water when you are ready to use it again.)

2. wash and rinse the strawberries, then slice off the tops and dice them up. put in a bowl and let macerate in their own juices for a bit.

3. put mascarpone cheese into a medium bowl. squeeze in honey and stir to combine completely.

4. when you are ready to serve, cut long sourdough slices in half and toast the bread. (i toast it pretty well so it really stands up to all the toppings.) spread with a light schmear of butter. now generously spread on the mascarpone – i like it really thick. top with diced strawberries and then drizzle with balsamic reduction. repeat for remaining slices of toast.

*leftover mascarpone with honey will keep for a week or two in the fridge.

**this recipe is enough for a decent sized brunch party – maybe 10-12 people. if it’s just a few people, or a small family –  just use 8 oz mascarpone cheese and 1 tbsp honey, and one container of strawberries – instead of making the big batch.

the el grande chewy chocolate chip cookie

grande chewy chocolate chip cookies | via she likes to eat
once, i thought you should look for and keep only one chocolate chip cookie recipe. pretty sure my beliefs have changed and i now agree that life is too short to only make one recipe.

these cookies are the result of lots of advice, tips from others, and searching the depths of my soul. one friend of mine has always said a good chocolate chip cookie (CCC) is BIG, definitely not on the small side (although sometimes i am fine with a small cookie because i feel ok about eating more of them). another wise source, claims that CCCs come out best when baked at 360, and not 350. i personally love a little espresso powder in mine, but i added only a little in this recipe. it truly lends so much depth to the batter. lastly, there is a little “secret ingredient” that i have added, after just playing around with different ideas: ground pecans (these are the things i think about before i fall asleep at night). FOR REALS it makes these cookies crazy good, giving them this chewy but thick puffy texture and SO much flavor. (of course, if you’re allergic, you can omit the pecans.)

these cookies have a special place in my heart, as do these of course, for they are classic and perfect and ohmygoodness i have a hard time eating just one.
so maybe i should say they have a special place on my thighs in my smile!

the EL GRANDE chewy chocolate chip cookie
makes about 14 cookies


2 sticks butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp espresso powder

1/2 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/3 cup pecans, ground

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark)


1. preheat oven to 360. line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper. put pecans into a small food processor and ground until fine. set aside.

2. in a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and espresso powder. set aside.

3. in a separate large bowl, beat softened butter and sugars on medium speed, until light and fluffy. add in vanilla and eggs. with a spatula, mix in ground pecans. add half of flour mixture and mix. add the rest and mix by hand until *almost* completely incorporated. add in chocolate chips and stir to combine.

4. scoop batter with a large cookie scoop, or spoon into balls about 1/4 cup in size, onto a cookie sheet. keep about 2 inches apart – you should get about 4-6 cookies per cookie sheet. bake for 11-13 minutes – they should be just beginning to brown along the bottom edge. bang sheet lightly on the counter after removing from the oven (this gives them the pretty lines on top that i just love). allow to cool a bit on a cookie rack – but not too long if you want them all melty & gooey :)

kanakuk’s famous coffee cake

kanakuk's famous coffee cake via she likes to eat
as some of you may know, i grew up going to a camp called kanakuk. in the summers as a kid, worked there every summer while i was in college, and now my husband directs one of the camps full-time. crazy the places you never think you’ll end up..

if you know kanakuk, you know that this wonderful little camp is famous for many things, but one thing they are especially famous for is their coffee cake. i dreamed about it during the school year as a kid and constantly begged my mom to make it all year. and when i got to camp? you know i made it MY JOB to eat that coffee cake every sunday when they served it.

the recipe that was given to me years ago by a camp cook was for massive quantities and i was not really sure how to cut it down so much.. (insert nervous face). so i got a new recipe in the last 5 years or so that made a much smaller batch. this is that original recipe from the camp cook, but i have increased the topping portion to make it a little bit thicker (i am sure there are no objections there). also, i initially had some trouble with the topping sinking into the cake (because it is so deliciously heavy) so i now bake the cake for a bit before taking it out, adding the streusel topping, and then finish baking it.

i have only tweaked it a little, but this is the honest, true kanakuk coffee cake recipe. if you have never had kanakuk’s coffee cake, just take my word for it. go make it.

i promise you’ll quickly understand why it’s so famous.

kanakuk’s coffee cake

ingredients for the topping

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour

4 tsp cinnamon

6 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

ingredients for the cake

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp coarse sea salt

3 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla

1 1/2 sticks butter

3/4 cups water

1/2 cup (4 oz) evaporated milk (like milnot)


1. preheat the oven to 350. spray a 9×13 baking dish with coconut oil or cooking spray.

2. in a medium bowl combine topping ingredients. work cold butter in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and all of the butter chunks have been worked in. put in a ziploc bag, seal it, and place in the fridge.

3. in a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt – whisk to incorporate. in a separate large bowl, beat the eggs a minute or two, until foamy + fluffy. add in vanilla and evaporated milk.

4. melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave, about 1 minute. add water to melted butter, gently stir to make sure all the butter has completely melted. add melted butter & water to egg mixture and whisk well to incorporate. add half of dry ingredients into the egg mixture and whisk. add second half of dry ingredients and mix until combined and no longer lumpy. pour batter into prepared baking dish. bake for 20 minutes.

5. remove cake from oven. sprinkle chilled streusel topping evenly over the top of the batter, making sure to cover well and get the edges too. bake for 20-25 minutes more, until center is no longer jiggly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. let cool for about 8-10 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature.

mixed greens salad with dijon champagne vinaigrette, toasted walnuts, and herbed goat cheese wrapped in basil leaves

via she likes to eat

a little over a year ago, my other half took me to a cooking class at whole foods for a birthday present. it was, truly, one of my favorite gifts he has ever given me.

we went together, after leaving the girls at home with my parents, and cooked an incredible menu with about 5 other couples. we laughed, ate well, drank good wine, and met new people while learning a few new things in the kitchen. for real, it was one of my favorite nights ever.

the menu included a wonderfully hearty beef stew with wild rice, a rustic berry tart, buttery biscuits, and this lovely salad. the whole technique with the goat cheese really intrigued me, as i had never seen it done before but thought was crazy brilliant. at our station we had a little bit of the goat cheese leftover after wrapping the rest in the basil leaves.. you can bet i ate that straight out of the bowl. and the dijon vinaigrette has become a staple in my house, one of my favorite basic vinaigrettes that can go on pretty much any salad.

mixed greens salad with champagne dijon vinaigrette, toasted walnuts, and herbed goat cheese wrapped in basil leaves
makes 6-8 salads


6 cups mixed greens (i like to use a combo of bibb, romaine, and spinach), cleaned + rinsed

1/3 cup walnuts, toasted + chopped

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinaigrette

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp agave nectar, or honey

4 oz plain goat cheese, at room temperature

small bunch basil leaves (you’ll need about 8-10 large-sized leaves)

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped*

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped*

olive oil

coarse sea salt & freshly ground pepper


1. in a small bowl, stir together the goat cheese, lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil. (if your goat cheese is harder, add a little more olive oil to soften.) add a small pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper – a couple twists of the grinder. mix well, cover with saran wrap, and place in fridge to chill.

2. preheat oven to 350. spread out walnuts on a dry cookie sheet. roast in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes. place on drying rack to fully cool.

3. in a mason jar, mix 3/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, dijon, agave/honey, and another small pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. shake vigorously until well incorporated.

4. after the goat cheese mixture has had at least 15-20 minutes to chill, remove from fridge. on a clean surface or cutting board, remove stems from basil leaves and roll each leaf out flat. place a bit of goat cheese mixture onto the base of each leaf, and then roll the leaf up, wrapping the goat cheese mixture completely with the leaf. once rolled, using a serrated or very sharp small knife, carefully (saw the knife gently back + forth as to not break the leaf) slice the rolled leaf into small sections (you should get about 3-4 slices per leaf.) continue until all basil leaves have been used and sliced.

5. in six or so salad bowls, begin to assemble the salads. first the greens, then the basil leaf/goat cheese slices, sprinkle with toasted walnuts, and drizzle generously with vinaigrette.

*i stress using fresh herbs here, if possible.

dark chocolate mexican brownies

mexican dark chocolate brownies via she likes to eat

these might be the perfect brownie.
yes yes, the oreo brownies ROCK MY WORLD and the chocolate-ginger brownies are unexpected and lovely, but for a classic brownie, these are just awesome. they are just the right amount of fudgy and they have that perfect shiny, thinly crisp top. my mom (aka “mahm”) sent me her recipe for spicy mexican brownies a while back and i played with it a bit to get the shiny top (fave) and then added the dark chocolate because IT’S AWESOME. and i am pretty sure she approves, since she is the one who passed on to me the love of dark chocolate. (of course you can use bittersweet or milk chocolate if you’re not a fan of the dark.. and you can come to me for counseling, if so.)

if you aren’t into spicy things like i am or have little ones, you can omit the cayenne pepper. but instead of omitting it altogether, i have come up with a solution. i have 2 little girls who love chocolate mayyybe more than i do so i make it like this: i mix everything but the cayenne, pour half the batter into an 8×8 dish, then whisk in 1/4 tsp cayenne to the last half of the batter (mix well) and then pour it into the other baking dish. then you have one spicy/adult dish’o’brownies, and one for the kiddies.

inexplicably, those little half-texans are not fans of spicy. yet.
maybe these brownies will be the thing to get them to come over to the dark side…

mahm’s dark chocolate mexican brownies


2 sticks butter, cut into tablespoons

6 oz. (1 cup) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (or you can use morsels)

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup special dark cocoa powder, unsweetened

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


1. preheat the oven to 325. grease a 9 x 13 (or two 8-inch square) baking dish generously with coconut oil or baking spray.

2. melt butter and chocolate together in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

3. while you’re waiting for the chocolate to cool, in a large bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, and sugar – whisk well.  stir in remaining ingredients. add in melted chocolate and butter. stir to combine.

3. pour batter into prepared baking dish(es). bake 25-35 minutes. (25 minutes will get you really fudgy brownies and 30-35 minutes will bake them through a little bit more.) let the brownies cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then cut into squares and enjoy! (store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.)

rosemary garlic hummus

rosemary garlic hummus via she likes to eat

thank you, lord, for hummus.
really. THANK YOU.

hummus is one of the rare things that is on the healthy side, and that everyone in my family loves.
i got a tough crowd, yo.
i usually buy the store-bought hummus since it’s everyone’s favorite but i have been wanting an outside-the-box recipe… one that’s not too wild (or the other 3 people around here would not eat it) but one that is different from your basic hummus. last week, i had some rosemary i was wanting to use up, so i played with it a little and well, THIS HUMMUS ROCKS. i seriously love this hummus. the garlic gives it a little kick, but without being spicy. and the rosemary is just so lovely – my hands smelled like it for a few hours afterwards. as with any hummus, it’s super easy to make and you can store it for a week or so in the fridge. this makes just enough for my family to snack on for a day or two, so if you are making it for a party or a crowd, go ahead and double this recipe.

rosemary garlic hummus
makes about 1 cup


1 15-oz can garbanzo beans

1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil (depending on how thick you like your hummus), plus more for drizzling

3 cloves garlic, peeled and tiny brown ends cut off

juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 large sprig of rosemary (about 1 tbsp), not chopped

1/4 tsp coarse sea salt, heaping

freshly cracked pepper


puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. put in serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil. serve with cut up veggies, pita chips, or our personal favorite, pretzel chips. will keep for about 7 days in an airtight container in the fridge.