Ya Want S’MORE Monkey Bread?

As you know, most so-called monkey bread is made from commercial pop-open can biscuits. I prefer to make my own bread for this fun and delicious little treat which I make for breakfast.

So it’s yeast time.

I adapted this recipe from Restless Chipotle. I didn’t change her recipe much,  but I did change the method a bit. Basically because I am lazy.



  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 c lukewarm water
  • 2 c warm buttermilk
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c melted butter, cooled down
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 6 cups more or less flour
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c mini marshmallows
  • 2 c graham crackers turned into crumbs
  • 1/2 c melted butter


  1. Mix the yeast,  and warm water  in your mixer. Add the buttermilk and baking soda.
  2. Add 3 cups of flour and just mix until incorporated. Cover the mixer with a towel and let set for 20-30 minutes to let the gluten form.
  3. Mix in the 1/4 c butter. Continue adding flour until the dough starts to pull away from the sides. Then set the mixer on high and let it knead (using the dough hook for five minutes.
  4. Turn into an oiled large bowl, oil the dough and cover and let rise for an hour or better until doubled in size.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and press gently into a square or rectangular shape at least 12 x 18 or so.
  6. Cut into squares about 2 x 2 inches. Gently take each square and pull corners together to make a tiny ball. Place seam side down in a baking dish such as a bundt or angel food cake pan. Cover the bottom without crowding.
  7. Sprinkle with 1/2 chips, marshmallows and 1/3 of the graham cracker crumbs.
  8. Place another layer (you should be using 1/3 of the bread dough for each layer) of dough, and the remaining chips and marshmallows and another third of the crumbs.
  9. Place the last layer of dough on top and brush with the 1/2 c melted butter and sprinkle the last 1/3 of the graham cracker crumbs on top.
  10. Cover lightly and let rise for a good 30 minutes or until nice and puffy.
  11. Place in a preheated 350° oven and bake for 30 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped.
  12. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes and then turn out onto a serving plate.

Serves: 8-10

NOTES: the original recipe called for placing a bunch of chips and marshmallows in each square and then closing them inside and then dipping the balls in melted butter and rolling them in cracker crumbs. Way too much work for me, but I’m sure it makes a lovely presentation. You may if you wish do a streusal topping of powdered sugar and milk to drizzle over the unpanned  bread and or melted chocolate too. It would be nice for company.



Beany Mexican Salad

This is simply a lovely salad that is great as a picnic salad or a pot-luck dish.

Moreover, it holds up well as a left-over, so don’t let the size of this recipe deter you too much.

It has all your favorites so do give it a try. It is a great addition to any meat dish (barbecue of course!) but also fish stands nicely with it.

In fact, it makes a nice lunch dish all by itself.

And you can’t beat the fiber and all the goodness of eating so many veggies in one place.

So make it. (This recipe comes from Culinary Adventures in the Kitchen, but frankly it’s a fairly standard recipe you can find lots of places.


  • 15 oz can black beans (rinse all beans and drain)
  • 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 15 oz an cannellini beans
  • 12 oz can corn (or fresh or frozen (1  1/2 c will do)
  • 1 each green and red sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeños chopped (my addition–you may omit if you don’t want any heat)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt (more if you must)
  • 1 clove garlic, microplaned
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (more or less)pU
  • 1 tbsp chili powder


  1. Put all the veggies in a large bowl and mix.
  2. Place all the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well blended.
  3. Pour over the veggies and mix.
  4. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  5. Serve either cold or let it come back to a room temperature.

Serves: 8-10

NOTE: You might want to serve some chopped tomato and avocado on the side but I wouldn’t add them to the bowl since they don’t hold up well for left-overs. Of course feel free to add other veggies and swap out different beans. Zucchini would be good and summer squash, jicama, even cabbage. Pintos are great in this and garbanzo would work fine.  Be careful of using cucumber. It doesn’t hold up well I find after a day or so. You might consider adding cooked rice or some other cooked grain such as quinoa. Also a very tiny pasta such as orzo  would work, but again, these don’t hold up as well as leftovers, so beware of how many are going to eat.

South of Southern Cornbread

I’m a Northern gal and I do like my northern cornbread. It’s sweeter and I enjoy eating it for breakfast.

But I do like a southern cornbread and it works best I think for my Italian cornbread regular bread combo dressing, which is my favorite holiday dressing.

So I find a good reason (chili is a great excuse) to make me up a pan and then I freeze about half to use at the holidays. Smart huh?

Anyway, this is the kind you bake in a cast iron skillet. And you MUST have a cast iron skillet because they are SO useful. I love cast iron, and have a huge old pot I make my chile in too, and my arroz com pollo.

This recipe is from Simply Recipes.


  • 2 c cornmeal or 1 1/2 c cornmeal and 1/2 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 1/4 c buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp bacon drippings


  1. Place the bacon fat in a 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°, with the skillet inside.
  2. Whisk together all the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl beat the egg and buttermilk together until blended, then add to the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the melted butter.
  5. Take the skillet out with mitts and pour the batter into the pan.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are browning and the center is toothpick clean.
  7. Let sit for a few minutes before cutting into wedges.

Serves: 8

NOTES: as usual, add jalapeños or fresh or frozen/canned corn to the batter to liven things up. Crispy  bacon crumbled up would also be a fun addition to the batter. I’d say about 4 slices would be grand. Corn? about a cup. Jalapeños? Oh as much as you can handle! Cheddar cheese? Please, now you want it don’t you?

Cheddah Jalapeno Biscuits

Oh divine biscuits. Oh divine jalapeños, or divine cheddar cheese. Combine them and faint from the pure love of greatness.

These gems were inspired by the recipe at Simply Recipes. I changed it up slightly, but not much.


  • 1  1/3 c flour
  • 1/4 c cornmeal
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 2 c shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 chopped jalapeñ0, seeds removed. (use other hot peppers as you desire–figuring on about 1/4 c
  • 1 c cream or combination of cream, milk and/or buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Using a cookie sheet, place a piece of parchment paper on, and grease with shortening
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the cheese and pepper tossing lightly to coat–keeps the cheese and pepper better suspended in the dough I find.
  4. Add the cream and mix gently until a dough forms.
  5. Press out onto a pastry mat into an oval, round or square. Should be about 1/2 inch thick or so.
  6. You can of course use a cookie cutter, but I just use a knife and cut into chunks of about the same size. Easiest if you have pressed the dough into a square of course.
  7. Transfer to the cookie sheet, letting the pieces touch which will cause the biscuits to puff up nicely.
  8. Bake for about 11-15 minutes or until browned lightly.

Serves: 9 large biscuits, 12 if you wish

Note: These biscuits go so nicely with gumbo. My husband likes to pour his gumbo over the biscuit in a dish. I prefer it slathered with some butter on the side. They are so wonderful. I’m inclined to eat them for breakfast! Don’t forget chili!

Rub for your Ribs

I’ve given you my signature Brandy’s Ribs which are succulent in the oven. But we do grill our ribs too and I found this great rub that we really loved.

This makes enough for frankly about 3 large full pork rib loins, probably about six baby back racks.

You can save the extra in a container and store in your spice area.

It is really great, so do give it a try. This came from KopyCat Recipes. Slather on tons of my best BBQ sauce when ribs are done and continue on the grill for about 30 minutes, turning often to prevent undue burning.


  • 2/3 c dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c kosher salt or less as you desire
  • 1/3 c ground coffee, dark roast if possible
  • 1/3 c chile powder
  • 1/3 c paprika
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Mix together

Servings: 3 large racks or 6 baby back

Notes: cover your ribs in this (or chicken) and cover lightly and allow to work for 4 hours to overnight.

Charismatic Carrot Cake

What I love about carrot cake is that you feel healthy eating it. I mean carrots are good for ya, right?

The thing I like about this recipe is that it’s a sheet cake, and avoids all the busy work of layering and frosting. I’m lazy, what can I say.

This is pretty much a standard recipe, and I got it from PioneerWoman, and she calls it “Sigrid’s Carrot Cake.”

I doubled the carrots in mine.

To make it more healthy.

Truly, it’s guilt free.


  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c vegetable oil (I use canola)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 c grated carrots


  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Mix together in a standard mixer, the sugar, oil and eggs.
  3. In another bowl sift together everything but the carrots.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.
  5. Add carrots and mix well.
  6. Spray a baking dish (next size up from 9 x 11 probably 11 x 14). Pour in the batter.
  7. Bake until done, about 25 minutes or so, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool and then frost with a cream cheese frosting mixed with chopped pecans

Serves: 12-16


Squashy Corny, Oniony Casserole

I lost the link I had for this recipe, but it’s fairly simple so I can recreate if fine for you.

If you like squash, and I do.

If you like corn, and I do.

If you like onions, and I do.

You will really like this side dish.

And it goes so nicely with any meat.

And it would be a nice dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Need any more reasons to give it a go?

Didn’t think so.


  • 3 lg sweet potatoes (also works with any kind of squash such as butternut, buttercup, etc)
  • 1 1/2 c of corn, (frozen, fresh, canned)
  • 1 lg onion, sliced
  • 4-6 tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 c heavy cream


  1. Place the potatoes on a foil-lined cookie sheet along with the corn (if fresh) and roast until done and nicely scorched here and there. If using fresh corn, the corn won’t take as long as the sweet potatoes or squash. Oil the corn before hand. The squash can be unpeeled at this point and cut into chunks, depending on size to speed up the cooking. The squash should take about 50 minutes while the corn about 30.
  2. If using frozen or canned corn, use a tablespoon or two of the butter and saute until just a bit of browning occurs. Set aside.
  3. Slice the onions and saute until golden on medium low with about 2 tbsp of the butter.
  4. Once the squash is done, peel and place in a bowl. Add 3 tbsp of butter, salt and pepper and the cream. Mash as you would regular potatoes.
  5. Add the corn and the onions. Mix gently and serve.

Serves: 4-6