breakfast roll showdown: nutella rolls


Let’s talk about breakfast rolls.  I am probably the last person on earth who wants to get out of bed and put together some complicated breakfast recipe first thing in the morning.  If you’re like me, then you will love these breakfast rolls because they are 1) SUPER easy and quick to make and 2) only require a handful of ingredients.  Oh and 3) one of them involves Nutella and the other one involves cinnamon, sugar and butter.  I mean, what’s not to like?

First up are the Nutella rolls.

Ingredients (recipe adapted from Inspired by Charm)

  • 1 can refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 3/4-1 cup Nutella
  • flour and sugar for rolling

Yields 8 rolls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin tin with baking spray.

Lightly flour and sugar your surface, and using a rolling pin, roll out each biscuit until it’s flat and even.


Spread 1-2 tablespoons of Nutella on each disc of dough.


Then tightly roll up each disc and cut into three sections.


Place the three pieces, cut side up into one section of the muffin tin.


Repeat for the remaining discs then bake for about 15 minutes.


For the purposes of promoting safe baking practices, you should let them cool about 5 minutes before popping them out of the muffin tins.  But I won’t blame you if you don’t.  (I didn’t.)


The original recipe calls for spreading cream cheese icing on these, but in my opinion they’re perfect alone.  The icing might take them over the sweetness ledge for me, however if that’s your cup of tea then go for it!

The biscuits are flaky and buttery and if you didn’t think Nutella on a spoon could get any better, just wait until you take a bite of these.  The best part is you can pull the sections apart for easy bite size pieces.


I’d recommend making two batches because the first 8 will be gone in minutes.  Not that I know from experience or anything.


Next up: Cinnamon Sugar Rolls!

since i’ve been gone

Here we are a few weeks short of the one year anniversary of this blog and a few days short of my being married for six months.  Time flies when you’re having fun eh?  As you may have noticed, posts have been pretty scarce around here due to my being neck deep in wedding craziness, followed by work craziness with a dash of newlywed bliss craziness, plenty of house project craziness and just overall life craziness.  While the crazy still ensues, it’s about high time I get back to documenting the goings on around these parts.  If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve gotten sneak peeks here and there of updates to the house and recipes I’ve been trying out.  If not, then you’re in luck.  I present to you some snapshots of what I’ve been up to since I’ve been gone, Instagram style:


We’ve cooked a lot of yummy recipes that we’ll definitely be making again and will share some of them here in the near future.

Like these cute Christmas tree cake pops I made for the holidays…

Christmas Tree Cake Pops

and this artichoke soup…

Artichoke Soup

and these chicken enchiladas…

Chicken Enchiladas

and these banana fritters…

Banana Fritters

and these parmesan crusted calamari steaks with lemon caper sauce…

Parmesan Crusted Calamari Steaks in Lemon Caper Sauce

and this farfalle with pistachio cream sauce.

Farfalle with Pistachio Cream Sauce

Guest Room

We painted the guest room in Valspar’s Filtered Shade.

Valspar Filtered Shade

I had some trouble deciding which rug to put in the freshened up space.  Ultimately I went with Genevieve Gorder’s Arabesque rug on the left.

Arabesque Scalloped Fallon Dhurrie Rugs

We took out the bulky bed and added a sofa bed to turn it into a functional TV room when we don’t have house guests.

Ikea Hagalund Sofa Bed White Garden Stool Arabesque Rug

(pre wall art)

I then promptly changed my mind (big surprise) about the throw pillows and switched them out with these black and white ones.

Black White Chevron Pillows

Living Room

We painted our fireplace and re-tiled the hearth with slate in my beloved herringbone pattern.  Okay, more like Devin re-tiled the fireplace, but I directed.  I am super in love with it. (Details to come in a separate post.)

Slate Herringbone Fireplace Hearth

Last August we replaced the old mirror over the fireplace with a reclaimed wood one (sorry for the holiday decorations)…

Reclaimed Wood Mirror Holiday Mercury Glass Mantel Burlap Stockings

then last week I fell in love with this antiqued glass gem mirror (on sale!) at West Elm.

West Elm Gem Mirror

Dining Room

We got a beautiful reclaimed wood farmhouse table for the dining room along with a new rug and Tolix marais chairs…

Reclaimed Wood Farmhouse Table and Marais Chairs

and I finally finally have a chandelier. (Separate before/after post to come.)

Dining Room Crystal Chandelier


I took some baby steps towards my office redux. I still need to paint my beloved campaign desk and dresser, but the filing cabinet looks great in there already.  Here’s a peek of a new print in the room.

The Best is Yet to Come Print

Master Bedroom

Currently we’re concentrating on redecorating the Master Bedroom.  I’m really excited about the beautiful rug that will add a fun pop of color to the room.

West Elm Dhurrie Rust

Here’s a sneak peek of the new dresser and lamp.

West Elm Stria Dresser Honeycomb Lamp

So.  As you can see we’ve been busy.  I’m looking forward to sharing all the details of the above projects with you all!

Also, welcome to all of the new readers who have been popping over from Recipe by Photo.  I’m so happy you’ve all been enjoying my spinach artichoke bites :).

sweet glazed butterflied chicken and tater asparagus toss

I always assumed that butterflying a chicken was one of those things that “fancy” chefs do.  Until I saw this recipe on Food Network one morning and it looked SO good that I just had to try it.  As it turns out, butterflying a chicken isn’t so difficult.  If I can do it, anyone can do it.

How to Butterfly a Chicken

  1. Place chicken on a flat surface, breast side down with the drumsticks pointing towards you.
  2. Using kitchen shears, cut along either side of the backbone and remove completely (you will hear a crunching sound as you cut through the ribs).
  3. Use a sharp knife to make an incision down the center of the gristle or cartilage running down the breast bone in the now open cavity of the chicken.
  4. Turn chicken over and using the palm of your hand, press down on the center of the breast until you hear a crack and the chicken lays flat.

Not so hard right?

This chicken is DELICIOUS.  The meat is moist and juicy, and the sweet tangy glaze in particular is finger licking good.  Seriously, this stuff should be bottled.   I’m not exaggerating one bit.  In fact, next time I’ll be doubling, maybe even tripling the glaze recipe so that there’s extra to go around.   The Tater and Asparagus Toss goes perfectly with it and can easily be made while the chicken is roasting in the oven.

Sweet Glazed Butterflied Chicken (recipe from Sunny Anderson)

  • 1 (5 pound) whole chicken, butterflied
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP onion, grated (I used a microplane zester)
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP stone ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Allow to rest on the counter for up to 2 hours to come to room temperature.

Heat a large cast iron skillet (or other oven safe pan) over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Just as the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken, skin side down. Press gently while cooking and sear until skin is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Flip the bird over so that the skin is on top, place the pan in the oven and roast about 30 minutes.

While the chicken is roasting you can make the finger licking good sweet glaze.  Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic and allspice, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Sweat the onions for a few minutes, but do not brown. Add the brown sugar, mustard, hot sauce and vinegar. Cook a few more minutes to bring the flavors together, then remove from the heat.

Remove the chicken from the oven and brush on the glaze.  Don’t be stingy and make sure you get that deliciousness in every nook and cranny.  Return to the oven and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F, about 15 more minutes. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving and try not to drool all over it.

Tater and Asparagus Toss (recipe adapted from Sunny Anderson)

  • 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 4 yellow potatoes, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • grated zest of 1 lemon

In a large pan over medium high heat, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add butter to the remaining bacon fat and add the potato slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook until crisp on one side, then toss and cook on the other side until crispy.  Add the onions, garlic, scallions and asparagus.  Cool until the asparagus are bright green and tender, yet still crunchy, about 3-5 minutes.  Season with salt to taste, and sprinkle with lemon juice and lemon zest.  Toss in the reserved bacon.



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“so good” tomato basil soup with italian sausage

While it’s warm and beautiful here in the bay area this week, early last week was pretty chilly with lows in the 40s.  It was perfect soup weather, and I took advantage of that by making one of the first recipes I ever pinned on Pinterest.  This tomato basil soup is SO easy to make and is super delicious.  I decided to spice things up by adding hot italian sausage, and I’m so glad that I did.  It added a nice little kick and depth to an already yummy dish.  I imagine that mild italian sausage would be great too if heat’s not your thing, but believe me…I don’t have a very high tolerance for spicy food and the bite in this was just right for me.  I also added more sugar because the natural acidity of the tomatoes needed a little more to balance it out.

We’ve had our painter friend staying with us while he works on our house so I doubled the recipe (Note: the recipe as listed below is NOT doubled).  It fed all three of us plus seconds plus leftovers, but in my opinion, the more the better.  As the guys dug in, the only sounds breaking the silence were slurps and sporadic mumblings of “mmm” and “so good.”  Needless to say, I’ll be making this again.

You absolutely positively need to serve this with your favorite grilled cheese…because let’s be honest, what’s tomato soup without grilled cheese?

Ingredients (recipe adapted from Jenny Steffens Hobick)

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. hot or mild italian sausage
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 oz.) can whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used chicken)
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 3 TBSP fresh basil, julienned plus a little more for garnish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stock pot. Saute the garlic for a minute and add italian sausage.  Crumble sausage in pot and cook over medium heat until browned.

Add the crushed tomatoes, then add the whole tomatoes one by one, squeezing each one by hand to break it up.  Also add the juice from the whole tomatoes and stir well.

Next add the stock, salt, pepper and sugar and simmer for 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and stir in cream and basil.  Garnish with more basil, and serve with grilled cheese.



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no bake chocolate peanut butter bars

There are a couple things in this world that I know to be true, and one of these is that you’ll never go wrong combining chocolate with peanut butter.  Can I get an “AMEN?”

We’re going on a camping trip down in Monterey with Devin’s cousin and her boyfriend this weekend, and I wanted to make something sweet for us to snack on.  I decided on no bake chocolate peanut butter bars, mostly due to a) my aforementioned love of chocolate paired with peanut butter and b) I had all of the ingredients on hand already.

Warning: yes there is confectioner’s sugar, and yes there is melted butter…but hey, I never claimed that this was a health food blog :).

Ingredients (recipe adapted from Bites Out of Life)

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) melted butter
  • 1 (10 oz.) bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 heaping spoonful of peanut butter

Line an 11″ x 7″ pan with foil or parchment paper.  (Note: Originally I wanted them to be on the thicker side, but after tasting them, next time I’d use a larger pan so the bars come out thinner).

Make your graham cracker crumbs by either pulsing the crackers in a food processor, or do like I did and put them in a large ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin.

I used Simply Jif creamy peanut butter which has less sodium and 33% less sugar.  If you use regular peanut butter, I would cut out about 1/2 cup of the confectioner’s sugar because these bars are pretty sweet.  Not that I’m complaining.

In a large mixing bowl (if you’re using a hand mixer) or a stand mixer bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, confectioner’s sugar, 1 1/4 cups of the peanut butter and melted butter and blend until combined.  The mixture will have a fairly dense consistency.  Then you should grab a spoon and taste some. Quality control is key :).

Press the mixture into your lined pan and set aside.

Put the chocolate chips and heaping spoon of peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until you get a nice smooth consistency.  Mine took about 1 1/2 minutes.

Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter mixture and stare in amazement at all of that glorious shiny chocolatey-ness.

Then spread it out evenly and pop in the freezer for 15-20 minutes until the chocolate is set and cut into squares.

I definitely recommend having them with a glass of milk.  They were too sweet for Devin, but I liked them in moderation.  If I were to make them again, I’d probably cut the sugar even more and make them in a larger pan so that the bars are thinner with a more even peanut butter to chocolate ratio.

At any rate, they should curb any sweet tooth that pops up this weekend!



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