Pumpkin spice. You either love it, or you hate it. Or maybe you liked it, but you’re totally sick of everything being pumpkin spice. I mean, you can get pumpkin spice Cheerios, Twinkies, cream cheese, and even candy corn. Really? Candy corn. There is nothing that can enhance candy corn to make it more appealing. And not only are the packaged foods over-saturated with pumpkin spice, you can also buy pumpkin spice, soap, lotion, household cleaners, and even beard oil. With that said, I am one of those people that used to love pumpkin spice. My love for pumpkin spice came at a time when you had to make it yourself. You didn’t buy tons of pumpkin products, you bought tons of canned pumpkin and hit the kitchen making pumpkin spice pancakes, cookies, breads, and cakes. And that’s when I created pumpkin meatloaf.



My sister-in-law claimed to hate meat loaf. She also never had it and refused to eat it. My brother couldn’t even cook it at home for her to try. It’s not like she doesn’t like ground beef. She eats burgers and other meat dishes. How can you not like meat loaf? Or even more shocking, how do you hate it? It’s the classic mid-western American meal. What was her problem? It was my goal to investigate this, and then later educate her on the greatness that is meat loaf.

Continue reading “MEAT LOAF? NO, MEAT CAKE!”


Chili in our family is a Halloween tradition. What turkey is to Thanksgiving, chili is to Halloween. I can’t imagine a Halloween without it. Even when we aren’t with my parents on the holiday, I try to carry the tradition and make her famous chili. It’s not overly spicy, or interestingly unique, but it is a classic dependable recipe. If you like to experiment, this is a good base to make your own creation. However, I don’t like to stray too far from this tried and true recipe. Continue reading “MOM’S CHILI”

Biryani and Chapli Kabobs

2013_02_24aWe visited our friends for the weekend and they cooked some fabulous food for us. They made freshly ground homemade burgers when we arrived Friday night, and then we were treated to this fantastic home-cooked Pakistani food on Saturday.

This is normally a pretty spicy dish, but Aya has been very sensitive to spicy things she got pregnant with Chloe. It’s very strange because she usually loves hot spice. The hotter the better she usually prefers. So to accommodate Aya’s fragile taste buds (and mine, I’m not a huge fan of big spicy hot) they made this dish pretty mild.

This was so good. We ate thirds and I think Aya had fourths. The kabobs were awesome too with the yogurt sauce. The kabob recipe is easy enough that I’ll make these myself at home soon. We had such a good time and thoroughly enjoyed the food.



2lbs beef cubed
3 cups rice
2-3 medium onions chopped
3 Tbp plain yogurt
3-4 tomatoes
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp garam masala
3-4 dried plums
2 large green peppers
fresh cilantro
half a lemon

Fry the onions to a golden brown. Add garlic and beef. Then add the rest of the ingredients through the green peppers. Cook until meat is bully cooked. If the sauce is still really watery after meat is cooked, remove meat and cook sauce until it’s thickened. Then return meat back to pan. Add chopped cilantro and a the juice from half a lemon.

Next, boil the rice until the rice is 3/4 the way cooked. Add 1/2 tsp salt per cup of rice. Then strain rice.

In a large wide pot or oven proof pan, layer the rice and meat mixtures. Layer half of the rice, then add all of the meat, and then top with the other half of rice.

In a separate pan, heat a little oil and 1/2 tsp cumin seeds. After about a minute or two, pour this on top of the rice.

Mix 1/4 tsp orange or red food coloring to 1/4cup of water. Also pour this over the rice. (I was told this is just for decoration).

Bake in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.


Chapli Kabobs

1 lb ground beef
1 onion finely chopped
1 serrano pepper finely chopped
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix together. Form meat into kabob size pieces and pan fry with a little oil until done.


Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup diced cucumbers
1/2 cup diced seeded tomatoes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Serve.

The Best Burgers!

2013_02_23aWe went to visit friends over the weekend, and after a loooong drive and some relaxing rush hour traffic-jam traffic, we had this wonderful meal upon our arrival.

My friend’s husband is a bit of a burger connoisseur. Always on the quest for the perfect burger. The right meat, the right seasonings, the right bun, etc. So when I heard he was making us burgers, I knew we were in for a treat, and boy were we!

These burgers were definitely one of the best I’ve ever hand. He grinds his own meat, and insists on grinding just before grilling. His current philosophy is the simpler the better. So it’s just meat, onion, and cheese. But they did make a homemade thousand island type dressing that we loved too. We each had two! And plenty of homemade fries to go with too. So good!



Fresh ground short rib meat
Salt and pepper
American cheese

Make 3 or 4 oz loosely packed patties, lightly salt and pepper. Fry on a griddle until desired doneness. Add an onion on the patty once it’s flipped and then top with cheese. Lightly grill the buns. Eat.


Special Sauce

2 Tbp mayo
1 Tbp ketch-up
1/2 tsp relish
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp pepper


Garlic Parmesan Fries

Cut potatoes to desired size. Double fry them (this gives them the crunchy texture). Add Garlic powder and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.