Published on 8 February, 2014, by

IMG_1248.jpgSome people hate Valentine’s Day.

I’m not one of them. For someone like me, whose idea of religion consists of food and love, it’s the perfect kind of holiday. In fact, Valentine’s Day is my second favorite holiday — right after Thanksgiving. And yes, I understand it’s corporate derived to get you to buy loads of chocolate, wine, flowers and jewelry — but like anything, I think Valentine’s Day is what you make of it.

I like to make it about cooking and love — MeatLove.

Valentine’s Day Traditions

In our house, we have a tradition of starting Valentine’s Day off with a bang at breakfast. My son looks forward to Red Velvet pancakes, topped with orange maple syrup, Mascarpone and a jelly filled gummy heart from Trader Joes. I make a huge amount of batter because the leftovers from the recipe I use, lends itself to being transformed into cupcakes for us to enjoy later with cream cheese or mascarpone frosting and more of those delectable little juicy gummy hearts.

We pass around hand-drawn cards (more sentiment) and we dole out plenty of snuggles, hugs and smooches to each one another. We also eat great food and watch some lovey-dovey V Day movies and at some point, chocolate,  flowers or balloons may or may not arrive on the scene but either way we have a great time with one another.

Valentine’s Day has become so much more than a “romantic” holiday for our little family. For us, it’s about loving each other wholly, expressing it every way in which we can. This may mean we’re treated to a song or interpretative dance number by our little one, maybe some guitar by my troubadour hubby, Todd, and all capped off by a sumptuous dinner created by one of us adults to please the whole brood.

Todd has been known to make a mean steak (it’s actually marinated in garlic and thyme post-cooking- YUM!) and it is truly out this world good. He serves it with steak frites, creamy bleu cheese sauce, and veg (I’ll have to post that recipe one day too, if he’ll let me!) I’ve made everything from scampi to Hot Mess burgers (think jalapeño, cheese and hot sauce stuffed and topped) to steamed mussels in white wine with bacon and greens. All of which has been great but it’s all been done before.

So this year, we left it up to our son and he called for MeatLove this Valentine’s Day.


A Valentine’s Day meal or what is MeatLove?

MeatLove is my son’s favorite version of meatloaf, christened in name by him when he was 2 years old and did not understand that the word was instead, meatloaf. Back then, I made them in little individual sized mini loafs — faster cooking and super fun for kiddos — today, they’re still individual portions but shaped like hearts instead of loaves to live up to their fancy moniker.

What makes them so special is the bit of sweet caramelized flavor this version of meatloaf takes on to its decidedly savory dimensions, especially when juxtaposed with the heat of my mother’s recipe for one-of-a-kind homemade volcano gravy. I like this combo because, to me, it mirrors life in a long-term relationship. Showcasing the soft sweetness of love (maple syrup, red peppers and caramelized onions) and the fiery passion (tomato, beef drippings and spicy black pepper) required to keep things hot and fresh, all wrapped up in the simplicity of the every day routine of life (meatloaf.)

When you’re doing family-friendly Valentine’s Day recipes — it doesn’t get much better — or easier than this.

valentine-s-day-valentines-day-2010-10454062-1287-1084A Valentine’s Day movie . . . or two

While the little one is still up, we’ll put on Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (forget the lackluster 2002, A Valentine for Charlie Brown) and watch what antics ol’ Chuck and the gang get up to for their sweetheart’s day. But once the kiddo is nestled in bed, we go straight for a Rom-Com. I’m not much of a Dr.-Zhivago-or-Gone-with-the-Wind-sweeping-romance kind of girl. Neither do I have a taste for the saccharine schmaltz of the likes of The Notebook. I like Rom-Coms because no matter how unbelievable people say they are, they are more true-to-life for me than the other kinds of overwrought, dramatic depictions of love available. Love is messy and funny and full of misunderstandings and awkward situations and sometimes, it does take a while before you wake up and realize you’re madly in love with your Tomboyish best friend and not the super cool Miss Amanda Jones . . . (Ok, so I just dated myself, but John Hughes really was the King of all things for my generation, ya know.)

Ashton Kutcher is Pretty in Pink in Valentine's Day

Ashton Kutcher is Pretty in Pink in Valentine’s Day

Anyway, our movie of choice for Valentine’s Day has rotated for years, through Hughes’ catalog and other, more modern favorites like Serendipity (if you haven’t seen it, you really should — great frozen hot chocolate scenes!) But then, the gods smiled upon us all and we finally got an official V-Day movie, starring just about everyone, including — for you Grey’s Anatomy fans, both McDreamy and McSteamy and though it’s no work of Shakespeare, we find it pretty hilariously charming and a whole lot of fun to watch on le jour de l’amour. 

So, without further adieu, let me present, “A Perfect Valentine’s Day pairing” featuring MeatLove and Volcano Gravy, eaten while watching Valentine’s Day, starring Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner and paired with a juicy Barbera d’Alba in homage to one Ms. Jessica Alba, who also happens to star in this movie. *BONUS — as a bit of surprise, Taylor Swift is a complete Mo in this movie, stealing just about every scene she is in with her goofball antics.

kid friendly Valentines recipes

Nessie’s MeatLove and Volcano Gravy

  • 1 lb lean ground beef (I use organic, grass fed)
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced and sautéed
  • 1/2 small yellow or Walla Walla sweet onion, diced and caramelized
  • 1 red pepper diced and sautéed
  • 4 oz sliced crimini mushrooms, browned with caramelized onions
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/8 cup cooking sherry to deglaze the pan
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce

Sauté the onion in olive oil until caramelized, then add the mushrooms until lightly browned and then the red pepper for just a few seconds before deglazing the pan, taking care to remove the veggies from the pan while the pepper is still somewhat crisp. Set the veg and its resulting sauce aside to cool a bit, as you mix the remaining ingredients together, once the veggies have cooled add them and any of their pan drippings to your meatload and mix to incorporate. Shape into individual loaves or hearts (depending on how adventurous you are) and pop into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes mounded to look like a volcano (if you need help with this, please see this clip of Richard Dreyfus in Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and top with spicy volcano gravy and veggie of your choice (we like asparagus for Valentine’s Day!)

Volcano Gravy

  • Meatloaf pan drippings
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 1 to 3 cups water or beef broth (depending on drippings yield, fatty ground beef means more drippings)
  • 1 Tbsp flour (or cornstarch for thickening)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tsp to 3 tsp black pepper to taste  (we like ours with a peppery bite!)

This is a fly-by-the-seat of your pants gravy that my mom always made when we had meatloaf. Over the years, I’ve added more pepper for a spicier kick that my hubby loves. It starts, as all gravies do, with either a good roux made from flour and meatloaf drippings (or you can cornstarch it up after all the ingredients are in the pan.) As always, taste it as you go, to get the right spice and flavor for your fam. Once you’ve got your roux going, add the beef broth and then the tomato paste, sauces and seasonings to your taste. Don’t forget your pepper!


Published on 27 January, 2014, by

Creamy Avocado Dressing

I like homemade salad dressings because you get to control the amount of sweet, heat, or spice to your liking. But I also like them because you can keep it simple, without all the corn syrup and ingredients you can’t pronounce, let alone identify in a food line-up (and therefore should not be put into your body. (more…)

Published on 22 December, 2013, by
Easy Peasy Holiday Chocolate Pie

Easy Peasy Holiday Chocolate Pie


There are some things in this life that never disappoint — chocolate is one of them. During the holidays, I usually go a little off the rails, especially when it comes to chocolate and chocolate pie is a fave. In fact, it was the one thing I craved so much when I was preggers (besides steak tacos) that I actually ate half a pie — only once (don’t judge, if you check the conversion sheet, every girl is auto-allowed half a pie when she’s pregnant.) This year for Christmas, we’re at my MIL’s house in Maryland (it was snowing when we got here but now it’s in the 70s — go figure!) and we’re headed to my SIL’s house tonight for a little family gathering around the backyard fire pit.

This means there’ll be plenty of really tasty finger foods, served up by my BIL, Alan, who has such a good palate and a “no fear” attitude when it comes to food, that I keep trying to encourage him to start his own food truck revolution in the surrounding burbs of Baltimore. (Doubting he’s gonna ever take me up on that though, now that he’s a fancy government inspector.) *BONUS — he makes the best mixed drinks ever, always with a generous pour. ;)

Because Laurie and Alan will have the food and drinks covered, my MIL offered to bring dessert and she was going to stop and grab a chocolate pie from the store on the way over to her daughter’s house tonight. But, I intervened, offering to make two of the yummiest (and easiest!) chocolate pies ever. Though, the ones I’ll be taking tonight will be full-on gluten and dairy filled versions (even some processed ingredients – Egads!) when I make them at home, it’s usually dairy-free, gluten-free and just as easy and delicious.

Last night, after a full day out with the fam and trek to see Saving Mr. Banks with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson (a must see if you like Thompson, Hanks, Poppins, P.L. Travers or Disney or, of course, if you’re breathing.) I came back to the MIL’s kitchen at 11pm and whipped up two decadently delicious pies in no time (15 mins each) — and now you can too!

Happy holidays and — You’re Welcome.

Yum! Chocolate shavings take this yummy pie straight to impressive.

Yum! Chocolate shavings take this yummy pie straight to impressive.

Easy Peasy Choco-Breezy Pie

12 ounces of Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet chocolate chips
1.5 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Crust & Topping:
1 chocolate cookie crumb crust
1 can of real whipped cream or 1 pt of heavy cream whipped
2 to 4 ounces of shaved chocolate to top the cream

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or in a bowl over a pot of boiling water.) Set aside and let cool to room temp while you’re whipping the cream with vanilla and powdered sugar. Once the cream has been whipped to medium peaks, pour in chocolate, continuing to whip, until peaks are more stiff, be careful not to go too far and break your whip. Cover and let set at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve top with freshly whipped or convenient canned cream and chocolate shavings. Serves 6 to 8

2 great pies- 1 great recipe modified for your holiday dietary needs

2 great pies- 1 great recipe modified for your holiday dietary needs

Easy Peasy Choco-Coco-Breezy Pie (*DF, GF)

This version is (nearly, depending on the chips you use) dairy-free, gluten-free and every bit as delicious (actually, I think more so!) I sometimes do this with a shredded coconut crust too. They make great mini pies too, if you shape them in cupcake tins.

12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips (Here’s a list of DF chocolate purveyors)
1.5 cups canned coconut cream (Trader Joes is a fave)
1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar (powdered in a coffee grinder)
2 tsp Madagasccar Bourbon vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or in a bowl over a pot of boiling water.) Set aside and let cool to room temp while you’re whipping the cream with vanilla and powdered sugar. Once the cream has been whipped to medium peaks, pour in chocolate, continuing to whip, until peaks are more stiff, be careful not to go too far and break your whip.

Crust & Topping:

  • 1 box Kinnikinnick Foods KinniKritters Animal Cookies Gluten Free Chocolate — 8 oz
  • 4Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 can of coconut cream, whipped
  • 2 to 4 ounces of shaved chocolate to top the cream

Run chocolate cookies through the food processor (or put in a big storage bag and beat with a meat mallet until crumbly) mix with the melted coconut oil thoroughly and press into the pan. Let sit in the fridge for 30 min to firm up before adding the filling. Then fill pie and cover and let set at least 4 hours or overnight.When ready to serve top with freshly whipped coconut cream and chocolate shavings. Serves 6 to 8

Published on 30 November, 2013, by

Every year, I try to put together a holiday gift list or two for foodies and cooks everywhere. It should be noted that I’m not super big on gadgetry (your cook may be) so my lists reflect more the ingredients, cookbooks and food inspiration that my foodie friends and I enjoy. Today’s list is all about a few great new cookbooks and guides I’m looking forward to this season.

Foodie Holiday Gift Ideas: Cookbooks and Guides

This year there are a LOT of great books out for food lovers and I’m pleased to announce that some of the best titles come from the tastiest chefs and foodies right here in Portland.


Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird by Gabriel Rucker

One of my absolute favorite restaurants here in Portland, from the foie gras jelly doughnut and duck breast with chive crepe roll to bleu cheese burgers and honey, bacon and apricot cornbread with maple ice cream, Rucker doesn’t miss a beat. And though the food sounds high class (Rucker is after all a James Beard award winner) the atmosphere is pure chill — perfect for Portlanders.


pok pok book


Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand by Andy Ricker

I have been passionate about Pok Pok and the culinary exploits of Andy Ricker since its first incarnations as a little hut on the front driveway of a residence on Division Street. Where you could order papaya salad and baby octopus skewers with lime and sit huddled beneath a giant outdoor space heater, on one of two outdoor benches to nosh. Fast forward to today, and Ricker has built himself a bicoastal empire that includes Pok Pok, the Whiskey Soda Lounge (both coasts), Pok Pok Noi, Sen Yai, Pok Pok NY, Pok Pok Phat Thai (NYC).  Though his restaurants run the gamut from chi chi to grab and go, they all start with the roots of Thai street fare and though you may think you have tasted Thai food before this, your palate will heartily disagree, as your tastebuds come alive with flavor combinations never before experienced (unless you’ve been to Thailand.)

Now, Ricker brings his signature Thai flair home to your kitchen, making it all accessible through early chapters, dedicated to technique, equipment, ingredients (including mail-order sources), explaining regional differences in Thai cuisines and more.


 The Unofficial Girls Guide to New York: Inside the Cafes, Clubs, and Neighborhoods of HBO’s Girls by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin

Love HBO’s Girls? Love to eat? Love New York? Then the Unofficial Girls’ Guide to New York is for you! Filled with 21 illustrated maps, more than 100 photos and 20 recipes that bring the Girls’ favorite haunts to life, this fun and spunky guide will have you channeling Lena Dunham’s characters (Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna) in no time.

Breakfast a history

Breakfast: A History (The Meals Series) by Heather Arndt Anderson

Local Portland writer and foodophile, Heather Arndt Anderson has opened up a can of “Who Hash”style whoop-ass on that most important of meals — breakfast. Though I have not yet had the chance to read this gem, I have perused the contents of its bindings and can tell you, I’m most excited to dig in. Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly had to say:

“According to author Arndt Anderson, J.R.R. Tolkien’s hobbits had it right all along when it comes to breakfast. Their lives in the shire afforded them six meals a day, ‘three of which before lunch: breakfast, second breakfast, and elevenses…’ In this literary paean to the morning meal, Anderson provides historical, social, and cultural perspectives on breakfast consumption . . . references foods traditionally eaten in other countries, looking at jook (rice porridge) in China, for example, and platters of feta, olives, figs, and cucumbers or fresh flatbread with labneh (spreadable yogurt cheese) in the Middle East. . . She gives beverages such as coffee, tea and orange juice their due and provides significant background on the major players in the cold-cereal industry like Kellogg and Post.”


Next week: Foodie Holiday Gift Ideas, Part Two: Food Fiction and Movies 


Published on 25 September, 2013, by

300 sandwichesToday my Facebook feed has been crammed with people chattering about and linking to The New York Post’s outing of one of their own, as the blogger behind the controversial The blogger is freelance stringer, Stephanie Smith, about whom the internet is all abuzz trying to decide how to categorize her and her so-called 1950′s approach to hooking a man (“the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”)

Is she a maligned beauty desperate to prove her worth through the art of cooking, er, uh, well sandwich making (can we really call it cooking?) to a man dangling the prospect of marriage? Or is she just a playful partner attempting to match her man’s sarcastic pokes by taking it to new hilarious heights in a very public forum?

I heard from feminists who felt their hearts sink and their stomachs churn at the sight of this news, I heard from people who think her blog is funny and that people should check their funny bones, I heard from those who had been lingering on her site, armchair cooks who were now fantasizing about being her boyfriend because they so badly wanted some of her damned sandwiches. (Thankfully, she provides the recipes, you only need to move away from the computer and off to the kitchen and soon, you too can tuck into one of her delightful creations.)

After reading the frustrated thoughts and comments from loads of the smart, savvy folks I know, many of them professional writers, food bloggers and just all around whip smart people, I found myself coming to a totally different conclusion and maybe one less obvious option for what exactly is going on here.

So after checking it all out for myself — including her tasty blog. I had two other theories that I wanted to spring on you folks — one is the overlooked possibility that Ms. Smith might just be “getting off” on very publicly being the tortured sandwich-wielding submissive — the other, more obvious choice — that she is a media savvy pro who just found a way to hook, not just her man, but instead all of us — and possibly a book contract while she’s at it. ;)

BDSM for Sandwich Artists or Publicity 101

Peoples relationships are all so personal and idiosyncratic, aren’t they? And sometimes sarcasm doesn’t translate well in writing without all the proper tone and smirk cues. So context and dynamic are key when deciding what you think about this woman, her man or their coupledom.

Things to note though, when analyzing it all — there is something she is getting from all of this, something that is immensely pleasurable for her. That’s a given, because maintaining the making of 300 different sandwiches AND posting, writing and photographing all of those sandwiches takes time and effort. (Trust me, I blog food and there are patches — like now– when I haven’t posted in forever and I adore both blogging and cooking.) I think we have to look at the fact that this, is in all likelihood a publicity stunt to get her food blog attention (in the industry, we’re all constantly trying to “hone our niche” and “increase our audience”) allowing her to transition successfully to a food writing career.

It could, of course, also be some elaborate and kinky extension of their bedroom dynamics, a kind of submission/dominance scenario that fulfills his unquenched desire for sandwiches and her desire to feel as if she is earning her way in — all with a voyeuristic twist. (She likes to be watched . . .making sandwiches.)

Then again, they could be as backward as all get out. It’s true that there are issues here that could be seen as misogynistic or anti-feminist and yes, the karat dangling would seem, on the surface at least, to be problematic.

(Hmmm . . .unless, of course, they’ve already talked about marriage and their future and it’s all just a matter of timing his proposal for the “right time.”)

As all good storytellers and comics know, when sharing a story (one, that in this case, is told a bit like being let in on a couple’s private lexicon, their inside jokes) they could also be withholding the parts that just might keep you from getting to the punchline in time.

No matter what your theories are (and there are a lot of them!) my money’s on publicity, niche and audience share.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the plan is to get everyone to tune into her countdown to 300 sandwiches (she’s only 124 away!! Don’t miss it!) and see if he pops the question. (He will.) Followed by a sandwich book deal and maybe even a follow-up advice book, “How to Land a Man in 300 Sandwiches,” a book tour that includes warming the seats of both the Today and the Tonight show guest chairs (Everyone’s gonna wanna chat up the girl who locked him down with a sandwich. Controversy , friends — there is no bad publicity.)

Soon she’ll be sharing her charmingly funny sandwich recipes and anecdotes between the pages of People magazine,all the while updating her fans on the planning of the wedding — maybe finger sandwiches at the reception and little sandwich shaped cupcakes for the wedding guests.

Mark my words, they’re gonna ride this wave all the way to the sand(wich) bar

Published on 11 June, 2013, by



You may or may not have noticed that things have been changing a bit around here. That’s because I found myself getting bored with the same old, same old happening in the world of food blogging. I love to cook and I love to write — so food blogging is a given but when I started this blog I had HUGE ideas about what it would house and cover, how I would approach the recipes and the site. But as I moved through the process, day-by-day and week by-week, taking opportunities as they came, I found myself moving away from those plans into others territories, some I liked and others — I most definitely did not. As John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

So I took a break — no new posts since October and over the course of that time, I learned a lot about myself — about what I want for the blog and what I don’t.

What I DO and DON’T Want for this Blog

  • I don’t want to look or sound like everyone else — no matter how popular they are.
  • I don’t want to cover the same recipes, as many in the world of food blogging do over and over. There’s a LOT of copying of the same recipes or hot food trends going on, albeit with the intention of everyone to add their own unique “spin” on something. But when your inbox is inundated with the domino effect of won ton wrapper pizza bites — it’s time for something fresh.
  • Though I am a sucker for FREE stuff and will gladly accept most things that companies send me to try or review, I really HATE the way the food blogging world works now. Companies making assumptions about what you will do for them and how you owe them for the sample bag of granola they sent or even worse, the PR people that approach us having never read the blog, asking us to pimp their product, sight unseen, untasted, unused — for FREE. (SIDENOTE: If you sent me a product and found I didn’t review it, feel lucky — it means I didn’t love it, so it doesn’t belong on my blog!) Anyway, it all just feels kind of sleazy.
  • Just as I am not one-dimensional (and I’m sure you aren’t either) neither is what I eat. Yes, I am the inventor of such concoctions as Spicy Vanilla Mushroom Risotto and I try to eat healthfully MOST of the time (have you seen my quinoa recipes?!), but I am also a girl that enjoys a good hot wing, a warm bowl of rice cereal or a heaping helping of the nearly nutritionally devoid Tater Tot Casserole (I promise to post this gloppy mess some time in the future.)
  • I love writing and food — I also LOVE movies — especially Food Movies! Since I was a kid, watching old Danny Kaye flicks, I have loved movies and no matter how intellectual and “Kill Your Television,” we’re all supposed to be, watching a good movie or even a TRULY bad one, can be just as transcendent an experience as getting lost in a book, listening to a great song or eating the perfect coconut cupcake.

In the end, I realized something was just not right with how things were moving along with my blog. I no longer wanted my blog to feel like something I have to check off my list. I want to look forward to it with excitement. I write all day long for a living, so in order to be pushed forward to write yet another thing (this time for myself) the idea of it has to thrill me, otherwise, I might just tuck into a good movie instead.


Movies and Food and Food Movies

As I was marinating on how I would change the look of The Groovy Foody site and what I wanted to change content wise, I did just that — watched some truly great movies some of them food related (It’s Complicated, Dumplings, The Recipe) and some were not (This Must Be the Place, Interiors, Silver Linings Playbook.) A couple of them moved me to want to write about the movies themselves (look for my reviews of Sean Penn in This Must Be the Place and a side-by-side comparison of both versions of True Grit, on my lovely life-long friend Tracy’s movie and TV site, Reel Goddess) and one even made me want to not only write about it, but also to perfect my recipe for its subject — Dumplings (though using more culinarily appropriate ingredients – wink.)

This  is what lead to the idea for changing this blog — movies. I have an entire list of Food Movies here on the site already, I’m always watching them and always getting inspired to cook something from them. The same goes for Food Books — I’m always reading them and getting inspired to cook something from them (this list isa little anemic as it’s just being started.) So I thought, “Why not do like that old TBS show from the 90′s Dinner and a Movie and provide a movie description or review along with a yummy recipe?” Turns out that “old TBS show from the 90′s,” ran all the way until 2011 (just sans the charmingly acerbic Annabelle Gurwitch) — who knew, right?


Inspired Again, Wild and Beguiled Again . . .

Suddenly, I felt inspired again. Coming up with blog topics and recipes seemed endless (as usual) but somehow more manageable. It’s as if I just needed a lens through which to filter all the recipe ideas.Yay!

To those of you who like the blog just the way it is and who have followed it for the last few years, rest assured that the same great recipes and stories will still pepper these posts but now you’ll get movie (and sometimes book recommendations to go along with it) and maybe, occasionally, a little shorter post length — though you know I love to write long.

The site now has a more nighttime feel, as if you’re hitting the town for a dinner and movie date (my favorite!) and the logo has changed ever-so-slightly to include the tagline: Dinner and a Movie but overall, I’m still The Groovy Foody — now with just touch more groovy.

Watch for all the changes and NEW and IMPROVED posts and remember to comment because your support and participation will help make this the absolute grooviest place to pick up tips for a night in — just you, me and dinner & a movie.


Published on 28 October, 2012, by

Hey ya! Groovy Readers;

I’ve missed you all. After a horrific month of ridiculous medical issues for the whole fam (my sweet toddler even had pneumonia!) and a very messy transfer from to fully hosted (My top links got hacked and I lost a ton of READERS due to rerouting issues!! YIKES!!!) I am now back on track and so is the blog.

I hope you haven’t forsaken me.

So to kick things off in style, I have a giveaway in appreciation of all of you that have stuck by me and continued to check  back for new posts.

I know how much it sucks when your favorite cooking blog goes on hiatus.

I wanted to reward all you diehards with something fun and this new cookbook certainly fits the bill, it’s called:

Bacon is his jam!

Fire in My Belly: Real Cooking’ by Kevin Gillespie

This book is chock full of recipes that will knock your socks off — even for food you swore you didn’t like. I can’t wait to try the sage-battered mushrooms with cheddar fonduta and the savory fig tart. But lest you think Gillespie has abandoned his southern roots or swung into “modern southern” fare (he hates that label!) Fear not. The book is jam-packed with southern classics like Granny’s banana cream pie, pole beans, one-pot “hog supper,” and cocoa cola pot roast.

sage battered mushrooms with fonduta

Gillespie, a Top-Chef contender and fan favorite, as well as a former transplant Portlander, is farm-to-table all the way. In fact, he is so committed to getting you to LOVE real food the way he does that he opens the book with a chapter titled, Food You Thought You Hated. It’s everything you’d expect from the man who uttered, “Man, bacon is my jam!”

Savory Fig Tart

Enter to Win Your Copy of Fire in My Belly: Real Cooking’ by Kevin Gillespie

If you get the chance check out the book (there are some sneak peak pages at Amazon to give you taste) I highly recommend it and if you want a copy for yourself then enter here because one lucky blog reader will win a spanking new copy of Fire in My Belly, just by leaving me a comment below and telling me your all-time favorite southern or comfort food dish — the one you just can’t live without!

Additional entries:

Follow Kevin on Twitter

Follow Me (The GroovyFoody) on Twitter

Follow Kevin on Facebook

Follow the Groovy Foody on Facebook

Retweet this message:  Just entered 2 win Kevin Gillespie’s New #cookbook Fire in My Belly on GroovyFoody Hope I win @nessnix @topchefkevin

Congratulations to Denise Nickerson, winner of Kevin Gillespie’s “Fire in My Belly,” enjoy the southern comfort food!

Best of luck!




Published on 28 September, 2012, by

Ready for a taste of fall’s bounty

A Taste for Fall

Fall is beginning its descent all across the country. Here in Portland, it’s not coming fast enough for me. I’m ready for it to kick into high gear — maybe even wanting to force it a little before its true time.

As a fall baby, I’ve always had a great affinity for my birth season. Even in the midst of a 80 degree day, I can feel myself wanting to bake more. (I’m working on perfecting a super-moist, gluten-free pumpkin cream cheese muffin with candied pepitas right now. Look for it here on the blog soon!) (more…)

Published on 10 September, 2012, by

RIP old friend

The Loss of a Few Trusted Old Friends

Two years ago, my toaster oven died and I didn’t have the funds to replace it, so we began using the oven for our toast in the morning. We found it worked just fine as long as you kept an eye on the toast and remembered to flip it.  I had loved using my toaster oven in the summer for baking fish and other foods. It kept the heat in the house down and it did a great job at keeping the fish juicy too!  I’ve improvised without it for the last two years. (more…)

Published on 10 September, 2012, by

Today’s guest post is courtesy of my friend Brad. Brad is my oldest friend in life — which is saying a lot for a girl who attended 4 elementary schools, 4 junior high schools and 2 high schools. I have known him since I was 14 years old, where we met under our desks during a disaster drill (remember those?) in Mr. Seifert’s class. (more…)


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