Januray Wish List

Hey There,

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to buy things. It’s something about getting something new that created a huge rush for me. I think that feeling may be characterized as a shopping addiction, but oh, well! LOL. This year, I am working to be more disciplined with my purchases and how I spend my money. I’ve come to realize that you can’t have everything you want and that there has to be some balance. Even if you can afford something and there is nothing stopping you from getting it, it is sometimes good to pass it on just to practice discipline and self-control.

Although I am working on curving the amount I buy, there is nothing wrong with still dreaming and adding things to my wishlist even though I know that I am not going to get them for a while. So with that being said, below is my “Wish List” for January. These are just a few of the items that I’ve had my eye on.

Vitamix Blender – Now that I am cooking more and experimenting with different dishes, I’d like to upgrade my blender. Right now, I am using an older version of the Ninja blender and to be honest its still works pretty well. It gets the job done and does a pretty good job of blending everything smoothly. However, if you’ve ever used a Vitamix you know that NOTHING compares to a Vitamix. My mom has one, and from time to time I use hers and my goodness it is nice! This magical machine blends things down until they are as smooth as butter! SO NICE! Now, I know that these blenders are well worth the price but it just seems ungodly to spend $300 to $500 on a blender. After all, three hundred dollars can cover a couple of bills or be used to support a very worthy cause!  Maybe one day I’ll bite the bullet and get one. Perhaps for my birthday in April, but for right now, this will remain on my wishlist for a while.

Staub Cast Iron Tomato Cocotte – I think these cast iron dishes are just the cutest and most festive things in the world. As you all will come to learn, I swear by cast iron! I just love how heavy and sturdy it is and I truly feel that it makes your food taste 1000% better than it would be if it were cooked in a conventional dish. Cast iron wears well and if it has an enamel coating its a dream to clean. I first found these Staub dutch ovens a few years ago. I actually found a pumpkin shaped one in Marshall’s maybe three years ago but I decided to pass on it because of the price. This year, I decided to buy one but I couldn’t find one at Marshall’s. The William Sanoma here in Richmond had the pumpkin shaped dish during the fall season, but every time I went to buy it, I talked myself out of getting it. I think it was the price that kept tripping me up. Just like the Vitamix, I know this dutch oven is well worth the price, but it is just something about spending $150 for a dish that seems a little extravagant. This dish, like the pumpkin shaped one, is priced around $150 so this too will probably stay on my wishlist for a while but I honestly think this would make the perfect spring and summer dish. Actually, this would work all year long. The tomato shape would be appropriate for spring and summer and the red color would carry you through the fall and winter. This actually may be a better buy than the pumpkin dish! However, at $150, I’ll have to think about this for a while longer before I decided to add this to my cart.

KitchenAid Pasta Roller and Cutter – This is another item that I have been wanting for a while. Actually, I’ve wanted this ever since I got my KitchenAid stand mixer about 6 years ago. As you’re probably guessing, the price is what stopped me from getting this.  I’ve always wanted to learn how to make pasta and these attachments will really come in hand when I get ready to learn. I’m thinking to make it a little easier on my pockets, I’ll maybe buy one attachment at a time. I just saw that Amazon is selling one of the attachments for about half the price of the set so that may be an option.

Staub Mini Round Cocotte – These are just so cute and little and they would be perfect for family dinners. They could be used to hold sauces or mini casseroles.

So guys, that’s whats on my wish list this month! Be on the lookout for February’s list next month, but in the meantime, please share with me some of the things on your wish list. Oh, and be sure to check out my Pinterest board, Oh I Just Gotta Have It! to find out what other items I’ve been eyeing.

Until next time,


January 2018 Wish List


Staub Tomato Dish

KitchenAid Pasta Roller and Cutter Trio

Staub Mini Round Cocotte


Let’s Get Saucy

Hey There,

These last few days of my holiday vacation have been so great and productive. Not only did I get to shop, wake up late, watch the morning news shows and stay locked up in the house while the temperatures here in Virginia plummeted to the 20s,  but I got to work on the blog. Normally, during the work week finding time to cook, take pics, come up with recipes and create content is practically impossible, but over the past week, I have been able to take my time and get some things done! Go me! I feel really accomplished!

So, earlier this week, I tried my hand a making stir-fry sauce. I saw a post on Instagram for orange sauce and I was like, “I can make that!”. It looked easy enough so I decided to give it a go. I can’t remember what they used in their recipe but below are the ingredients that I used in mine. The sauce turned out so good, that I was inspired to try my hand at some other sauces. I was thinking about what other flavor combos would be good and  I came up with ginger, lemon, and garlic. I basically followed the same recipe formula as the orange sauce and just tweaked the ingredients. At first, the sauce was too lemony (is that a real word!??!) and the flavors were flat. All I could taste was the ginger and the overwhelming tang of the lemon but then, I decided to add some soy sauce and sugar. That really helped to round out the flavors and give it that savory taste. In the end, it worked out and I ended up with another stirfry sauce option.

This week, I plan on making a quick stir-fry with broccoli, peppers, noodles, and salmon and either one of these sauces will be tasty. I can’t wait to see how the whole meal turns out.

I’ll be sure to share the stir-fry meal with you all later this week and let you know how everyone liked it. In the meantime, be sure to leave a comment if you liked this recipe and let me know what some of your favorite homemade sauces are in the comment section. Also, consider signing up to receive notifications when new posts go live. I promise you won’t regret it!

Until next time,



                                                            Orange Sauce

1/8c honey                                                                                       1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger                                                    3/4c soy sauce

3 cloves of garlic (minced)                                                           2 tablespoons of green onions

1/3c light brown sugar                                                                 1 tablespoon of cornstarch

1/3c orange juice                                                                           1 tablespoon of water

1/2teaspoon turmeric


Combine soy sauce, ginger, turmeric, cumin in a saucepan over med/low heat.

Heat for 3-5 minutes

Add in minced garlic

Heat for 3 minutes

Add in the orange juice, honey and brown sugar. Feel free to adjust measurements according to taste.

In a separate bowl mix cornstarch and water until the cornstarch has been dissolved

Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce (while constantly stirring) and let cook for 1 minute. The sauce will begin to thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool before transferring to the storage containers.

Orange Stirfry Sauce2



                                                         Soy, Garlic and Lemon Sauce

1/2c ginger (minced)                                                                         2c soy sauce

1 1/2c water                                                                                        1/2c light brown sugar

3 cloves garlic                                                                                    1 tablespoon water

1 lemon (juiced)                                                                                1 tablespoon cornstarch


Combine water, garlic, and ginger in a pot and bring to a boil.

Boil for 10 minutes to bring out the flavor or the garlic and ginger

Add lemon juice

Heat for 3 minutes

Stir in soy sauce and brown sugar and combine

In a separate bowl combine cornstarch and water until cornstarch is dissolved.

Add cornstarch mixture to the sauce (stirring constantly) and heat for 1 minute. Remove the sauce from heat and allow to cool before transferring to storage containers.


Soy Lemon Ginger Stirfry Sauce1.jpg





Spicy Mango Dressing

Hey Guys,

We’re now at the height of summer here in Virginia and it is hot, I mean blazing hot! Not to mention it is humid and muggy too! You know all winter long, I anxiously wait for summer to come so that I can break out my fancy summer shoes and dresses but as soon as the hot weather gets here, I start looking forward to the cooler days of early fall. I guess I’m just never satisfied.

Anyway although the weather has been hot, I have been really enjoying summer. Since I’ve started this blog this year, I’ve been more attentive to the summer fruits and vegetables and I’ve been working to incorporate them into my cooking. Whenever I go to the grocery store, I make a habit of walking around the produce section a couple of times and checking out what’s on sale for the week. This week, mangos were on sale so I grabbed a couple. I’m not a huge mango fan (I love the taste just not the consistency) but headed over to Pinterest to find a recipe that I could make with my perfectly ripe mangos. I ran across the recipe below for Spicy Mango Dressing pinned by The Café Sucre Farine. It looked colorful and easy to make so I decided to give it a try. The dressing turned out to be very tasty and flavorful. It was a little thicker than I would have liked so I opted to use it as a marinade over shrimp as opposed to a dressing. The spicy mango flavor paired nicely with the flavor of the shrimp and created a fresh summer dish. I bet this dressing/marinade would even taste great on chicken. If you do want to use this as a dressing and you would like a thinner consistency, I would suggest making the dressing according to the recipe and then gradually add in more oil until you achieve the ideal consistency.

There are quite a few more weeks left in summer and I am really looking forward to creating more dressings/marinades and other dishes from the seasonal produce. If you all have any suggests of fruits or vegetables that I should use to make dressing/marinades then leave a comment below and let me know. Also, tell me what your favorite dressing/marinade to make is.

Be sure to check out the recipe below!


~Samantha J.

Since this recipe is not my own, I have provided a link to the original recipe, here.



Chicken Salad

Hey Guys,

How’s life?!? What’s new with you all? These past few weeks have been crazy busy since my workload at work has dramatically increased because of the upcoming holiday. I work in the grocery industry and we’re always preparing for a holiday. Once one passes we are gearing up for the next one. Although I’ve been working super long hours I’ve still managed to enjoy the summer weather and spend some time with family and friends. Just yesterday, a few of my mom’s relatives dropped in for a quick visit. We all met at my grandmother’s house and just sat and talked. It was a nice and easy visit and it was really nice to catch up with everyone.

Now as you know when family stops by you better have something offer them. Since they were coming in the middle of the day and only staying a short while my grandmother asked me to make some chicken salad. Now, I made this chicken salad for Mother’s Day lunch back in May and it turned out great. This time, the chicken salad turned out great again! The first time I made this dish, I roasted a whole chicken stuffed with roasted garlic, fennel, celery, butter and a TON of herbs. This time I opted for store-bought rotisserie chicken since I was short on time. You couldn’t even taste the difference. I just shredded the chicken with two forks added in the other ingredients and combined and voila I had the perfect chicken salad.

Be sure to check out the recipe below and let me know what your quick go to dish is to make when family stops by on short notice. As always, leave a comment.





Shred Chicken
Add in celery, shallots, seasonings
Add in mayo, combine and top with almonds

Chicken Salad

2 whole chickens
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup celery
1/2 shallot
1/4 cups of mayo
1/2 cup honey roasted sliced almonds

1. Shred chicken using two forks

2. In a bowl combine chicken, seasonings celery and shallots.                                                       *Feel free to adjust seasoning according to your taste*

3. Add in mayo and combine.                                                                                                                  *Feel free to adjust the amount of mayo according to your taste*

4. Top chicken salad with sliced almonds




And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2: 15-17