Canning with Liz!

Liz is an excellent cook and an even better friend. She has grown up canning and continues to do so as a college student. I had the opportunity to interview her on her experiences canning food from her own backyard.

See our podcast here:

After we finished our interview, Liz and I read through a few of her cookbooks. These cookbooks have been given to her from her great-grandmother, aunts and grandmother as well as a few she has picked up over the years. She just has a few…:)

Photography: Liz Burgess

Photography: Liz Burgess

After Liz so generously shared her expertise she gave me the entire right side of cookbooks shown above! I can’t wait to try them out!


Award Winning Green Chair Chili

I have never made chili before this fall which is wild considering my love affair with my crock-pot. I decided earlier this fall that I really wanted to learn because the non-profit I have had the opportunity to intern with this fall will have a chili cook-off at the Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone, N.C to raise funds to alleviate hunger in the High Country.


I talked to my friend Brooke about this and she recommended I try her dads recipe to learn how to make my own. Her dad’s recipe has been a family favorite after it won the chili contest at a family camp she attended as a child.

Unfortunately I was not able to give this recipe the justice it deserved because I lent a friend my large stockpot and knew I was not going to be able to get it back in time to prepare for the Hunger and Health Coalition Chili Cook-Off so I used a couple of pans and my crock-pot instead.
Photography: Sarah Kasper

Photography: Sarah Kasper

First I browned the meat in a large pan. The recipe called for between 2 and 3 pounds of ground beef so I did 2.5 pounds and used a medium to hot taco seasoning packet I had on hand instead of Carroll Shelby’s Original Texas Chili Kit or package of 3 chili flavors combines which was recommended. I sauteed the meat to blend the spices every 3 minutes or so.
Photography: Amanda Jacobson

Photography: Amanda Jacobson

After I finished browning the meat I drained the fat and dumped the meat into my 5 quart crock-pot. Next I placed the following vegetables cut into bite size pieces in the pan until the onions were translucent:
Photography: Amanda Jacobson

Photography: Amanda Jacobson

  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno minced with seeds
After the onions were translucent I added them to the crock-pot as well. At this point I realized that I did not do a great job of “cutting once and measuring twice”. In other-words I should have halved the recipe considering the size of my crock-pot because mine was filling up quick!
Photography: Sarah Kasper

Photography: Sarah Kasper

But the chili was not a lost cause, cooking is all about improvising and so I made a few changes. I decided to take out one can of water, beans and diced tomatoes to make it all fit and it worked out great! I then turned up my crock-pot to high and added in:
  • 2 14 oz. cans of pinto beans
  • 1 14 oz. can of kidney beans
  • 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can of water
  • 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp of salt (I used kosher)
  • 1.5 tbsp of corn starch
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
Photography: Sarah Kasper

Photography: Sarah Kasper

I left all the ingredients in the crock-pot for an hour until it simmered and dove on it!

Photography: Amanda Jacobson

Photography: Sarah Kasper

Thank you James Walsh for your awesome chili recipe! This recipe was so easy and filling, I can’t wait to compete December 6, 2014! Wish me luck!

Photography: Brooke Walsh

Photography: Brooke Walsh

Italian roasted potatoes

I try to make these pretty infrequently because white potatoes aren’t the most nutritious carbohydrate, however sometimes you just have to have potatoes and they are better for you at home than a fast food joint. I make these to dip in ketchup and to eat alone and I also like them as is paired with several other vegetables for a good filling dinner.

photo 1


Begin by washing and peeling three medium sized white potatoes and preheating the oven to 375. Next take out a 9.5 X 11 metal baking pan and grease the pan with just 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Yes, my cutting board is in the shape of a violin... I might be a little bit nerdy:)

Yes, my cutting board is in the shape of a violin… I might be a little bit nerdy:)

Cut the potatoes so they turn out like little pucks and season with:

  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon of oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon of basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt (regular or sea works as well)

photo 3

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes then use a spatula to flip potatoes so that both sides become evenly heated and roast for an additional 15 minutes.

photo 4

Let cool and enjoy!

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal bars

I am a big believer in eating breakfast. I think it is the best way to start the day. It is even better when it is easy to grab for on the go, this recipe makes for 8 to 12 servings, (although it generally doesn’t last that long in my house).

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

Before. Photography: Amanda Jacobson

You are not looking at this photo funny, I live in the mountains and my house is not level:) Photography: Amanda Jacobson

Coat your 8×8 inch pan in olive oil. Next, mix the following ingredients, leaving the flaxseed and water mixture to be stirred in as the final ingredient.

2.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (regular or soy milk would be fine)
2 large bananas, mashed OR 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup dark or milk chocolate chips

*3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed set aside in 1/3 cup of warm water for ten minutes before mixing in with other ingredients.

Bake for 40 minutes and enjoy.

TIP: This stays good in your refrigerator for up to five days making this perfect to make on a sunday evening to prepare for your school week.



oatmeal bar recipe -1


Avocado and Mushroom Panini

I wish my lighting was better for this photo but this is the final product.

I wish my lighting was better for this photo but this is the final product (minus a few bites:). Photography: Amanda Jacobson

Panini’s are an easy way to make simple sandwiches taste much better. If you have the storage space and the 20 to 25 dollars to dish out I would consider investing in a griddle.

If you don’t have one that is just fine, a medium sized saucepan will do the trick. Begin by coating the pan with a little butter, (half a tablespoon will do the trick) and turning the heat to medium-high.

Begin by spreading half a mashed avocado on one piece of whole-wheat bread and then place the avocado-less side on the pan and place the fillings on top of the mashed avocado in order. This will help to keep the spinach in place:

  • 1 sliced mushroom
  • 1 small handful of spinach
  • 1/2 chopped green onion
  • 1 slice of cheddar cheese

Place the second piece of bread on top and let the pan or griddle work its magic for about 2 to 3 minutes (this could be longer depending on your stovetop). Once you see that the cheese has started to melt and the side that has been directly on the pan is lightly browned, flip the sandwich so that the other side gets the same heat exposure.

Serve with carrot sticks and enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Bananas are another staple for me as they are inexpensive and easy to freeze if you don’t eat the whole bunch before the begin to brown.

Tonight I experimented with making eggplant pizza (recipe to come soon) but I found that my meatless, flourless meal did not have enough protein in it to fill me up. I decided to make dessert to curb me over.

I have a 1970s blender (no joke it is the same blender Jennifer Lawrence had in her kitchen in the film “American Hustle”), and although it has remained faithful to me, I can hear its motor breathing its last breathes.To preserve my gem of a blender I try to always put the softest ingredients in first.

Combine the following ingredients in order:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup of unsweetened greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of ground flax seed (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of semi-sweet milk or dark chocolate chips
  • 1 frozen banana (cut into 4 pieces)

Blend ingredients for approximately 1 minute (or until liquified).



grocery list 2 -1


Roasted Corn Salad


Corn has become one of my favorite starches these days with how filling it is and how easy it is to prepare. Lately I have been really into roasting corn, I think it gives it a deeper flavor and makes this salad pair well on top of turkey burgers, tacos, or on its own as a light lunch.

Begin by preheating your oven to *375 degrees, while it is warming up take out 2 cups of frozen corn and place it in a microwave safe bowl with 2 teaspoons of water for *2 minutes or until you can break apart the clusters of kernels to roast evenly.

Lightly grease cookie sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil using your fingers or a paper towel to spread the oil evenly on the pan. Spread undrained microwaved corn onto the pan and roast for 10 minutes. Flip the corn at 10 minutes so that the corn will roast evenly on both sides and then bake for an additional 8 minutes.

While your corn is roasting begin to chop the remaining ingredients into small pieces and dump into your serving bowl.

  • 1/2 tomato
  • 8 pieces of cilantro (I use the stem and leaves)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 leaf of kale (minus the stem)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons of olive or canola oil
  • 1/2 clove of garlic
  • Black pepper and Sriracha to taste

When your corn has finished roasting add it into the serving bowl and mix ingredients until ingredients are mixed evenly. Serve and enjoy!

*Oven and microwave cooking times vary, please watch your appliances carefully while cooking for your safety.

Designed by Amanda