Chocolate Trifle in a Jar

Yesterday began my month of Christmas baking and cooking!¬† This is the most wonderful time of the year ūüôā¬† We are all so busy, sometimes it feels good to just stay home and have a day of fun.¬† And fun for me is spending time in my kitchen.

These little trifles are adorable and portable!  Usually a trifle is in a big glass bowl, a formidable and elegant offering.  These individual trifles are perfect for giving or for a party.

I will give you the recipe that I used for my chocolate cake.¬† It’s easy, it’s moist…but if you wanna, you can certainly use a devil’s food cake mix.¬† Entirely your preference!


Here’s the recipe I used: One Bowl Chocolate Cake Mix.¬† It’s very moist and tastes good with nearly any frosting you want to top it with ūüôā

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Frosting of your choice
  • Colored sprinkles, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350¬į. Grease a¬†13×9-in. baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk the first 6 ingredients. Stir in eggs, oil and buttermilk. Add water; stir until combined.
  2. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Frost cake. If desired, decorate with sprinkles.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:¬†In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup softened butter until creamy. Beat in 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup baking cocoa, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 3-4 tablespoons 2% milk to achieve desired consistency.


For the trifle itself, I used the recipe I found at Blooming Homestead: Chocolate Trifle

Charlotte · Denver · Destin · Hickory

Best of Restaurants: Cheesy!

Oh, how I adore cheese.¬† You could melt it on a cardboard pizza top and I’d probably eat it.¬† These dishes are my favorite cheesy dishes at restaurants I’ve tried.

Pimiento Cheese Spread from Boschamp’s in Destin, FL

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese at Safari Miles in Denver 

Pepperoni and Mushroom Pizza at Tony’s in Hickory, NC

Pizza Sub from Penn Station East Coast Subs in Charlotte, NC

Mushroom Gruyere Sandwich from Papi Queso in Charlotte

Shepard’s Pie from Metro Diner in Pineville


Shopping in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte is full of awesome shopping spots.  Here are some of the cooler ones:

Paper Skyscraper

Source: Airbnb

Gift shop with novelty items, baby gifts, paper goods, books and even clothing and accessories.  One of my favorite stores!

330 East Boulevard Charlotte, North Carolina 28203

Kitschy Cool Vintage

This clothing store specializes in vintage fashions from the 40’s to the 80’s.¬† They also have a nice selection of ugly Christmas Sweaters!
4450 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28209

2nd and Charles

Music, Books, Collectibles, gifts and more.  Well laid out and easy to get lost here for a few hours!
5331 S Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28217
Charlotte · Denver

Thanksgiving Dinner Out?

There is a first time for everything!¬† This year my children are going to the mountains with their dad for Thanksgiving, so the rest of my family decided we didn’t need to cook a huge meal…and we’d treat ourselves to dinner out!

If that’s something that appeals to you, here are some restaurants around Lake Norman and Charlotte that are serving Thanksgiving dinner!



Eddie V‚Äôs:¬†¬†‚ÄúEven the gravy is served with a side of glamour.¬† Join us for a traditional holiday dinner with all the trimmings.¬† And for anyone who chooses to abandon Custom in favor of lobster, our full menu will also be available.‚ÄĚ

  • Thanksgiving is served from 11-8pm
  • Pricing: Adult $43¬† Child $15
  • Reservations: Online Reservations¬†¬†
  • Interesting menu offering: Baby French green beans with sundried tomatoes

Fleming’s:¬†¬†‚ÄúLet us host your three-course Thanksgiving, including your choice of Herb-Roasted Turkey or Petite Filet Mignon.‚ÄĚ

  • Thanksgiving is served from 11-8pm
  • Pricing: Adult $45¬† Child $22
  • Reservations: Online Reservations¬†¬†
  • Interesting menu offering: Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake

Capital Grill:¬†¬†‚ÄúWe‚Äôre hosting Thanksgiving for turkey and steak enthusiasts alike.‚ÄĚ

  • Pricing: Adult $43¬† Child $15
  • Reservations: Online Reservations¬†¬†
  • Interesting menu offering: Slow roasted turkey with brioche stuffing

Chima Steakhouse: “Let us cook for you this Thanksgiving.¬† Complete Rodizio plus Thanksgiving favorites.”

  • Thanksgiving is served from 12-8pm
  • Pricing: Adult $43¬† Child $15
  • Reservations: Online Reservations¬†¬†
  • Thanksgiving menu offerings:¬† Roasted Turkey – cranberry sauce – stuffing – mashed sweet potato – green bean casserole – cornbread

Ri Ra Irish Pub:We are open through the holidays and look forward to welcoming you, your family and friends to the pub to enjoy lots of festive fun. Feast on tasty bites, cozy up with our winter warmer drinks and celebrate the season with us.”

  • Thanksgiving hours 11-10 pm
  • Reservations: Online Reservations¬†¬†
  • No special Thanksgiving menu posted

JP Charlotte: “Thanksgiving Brunch at the Westin in Charlotte.”

  • Thanksgiving is served from 10-3pm
  • Pricing: Adult $58¬† Child $24¬† ¬†Under 5 FREE!
  • Reservations: Online Reservations¬†¬†
  • Interesting menu offering: Roasted Pumpkin and Carrot Bisque

The Palm: “Join Us for Thanksgiving Day!”

  • Pricing: Adult $59¬† Child $24¬† ¬†
  • Reservations: Online Reservations¬†¬†
  • Interesting menu offering: Charred Brussels Sprouts

New South Kitchen:¬†¬†‚ÄúTraditional Thanksgiving feast complete with all the fixins!!!.‚ÄĚ

  • Thanksgiving is served from 11-7pm
  • Pricing: $35 per person
  • Reservations: Online Reservations¬†¬†
  • Interesting menu offering: Deep Fried Turkey

Buca di Beppo:¬† “Start a new tradition and leave your Thanksgiving meal to us so you can spend time with the ones you love. We are open for Thanksgiving and invite you to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.”

  • Thanksgiving feast begins at 11 am
  • Reservations: Online Reservations¬†¬†
  • Interesting menu offering: Spicy Italian Sausage Stuffing

Bistro La Bon:¬†¬†‚ÄúNever Too Soon To Start Thinking About Our Thanksgiving Smorgasbord‚ÄĚ

  • Thanksgiving is served from 10-4 pm
  • Pricing: Adults $37 per person¬† Children 5-10 $16 per person¬†¬†
  • Reservations: Online Reservations
  • Interesting menu offering: Squash Lasagna

Harper’s: ¬†‚Äúgather ‚Äėround our southern table‚ÄĚ

  • Thanksgiving is served from 11-4 pm
  • Pricing: Adult $32¬† Child $15
  • Reservations: Online Reservations¬†¬†
  • Interesting menu offering: The Best Prime Rib

Macaroni Grill:¬†‚ÄúDine in and celebrate at our table. Regular menu will also be available.‚ÄĚ

  • Thanksgiving is served from 11-9 pm
  • Pricing: Adult $25¬† Child $12
  • Reservations: Online Reservations¬†¬†
  • Interesting menu offering: Traditional Cheesecake with Pumpkin Cr√®me Anglaise


The Foundry in Denver: ¬†‚ÄúGiving Thanks at the Foundry‚ÄĚ

  • Thanksgiving is served from 11-2pm
  • Pricing: Adults $39 per person¬† Children 12 and under $15 per person¬†¬†
  • Reservations: Reservations can be made by calling 704.585.8780
  • Interesting menu offering: Mediterranean Cod Artichokes, Spinach, Lemon Butter Sauce, Capers

Chillfire Grill in Denver: ¬†‚ÄúGiving Thanks at the Foundry‚ÄĚ

  • Thanksgiving is served from 10:30-5 pm
  • Pricing: Adults $29 per person¬† Children 12 and under $13 per person¬†¬†
  • Reservations: Reservations can be made online: Reservations
  • Interesting menu offering: SMOKED SEAFOOD PLATTER: salmon, NC trout, dill cream cheese, fried capers, red onion, croustade


  • Thanksgiving is served from 11-5 pm
  • Pricing: Adults $36 per person¬† Children 12 and under $16 per person¬†¬†
  • Reservations: Reservations can be made by calling: CALL 704-896-5559
  • Interesting menu offering: Cajun Seafood Stuffing

Epic Chophouse: “This Thanksgiving, enjoy a grand meal in the company of family and friends at Epic Chophouse. Join us for an incredible Thanksgiving meal featuring fresh fruits and salads, deviled eggs, shrimp and grits and Norwegian salmon fillet. Of course we‚Äôll have traditional favorites like oven roasted turkey, prime rib of beef, Chef‚Äôs famous fried chicken and more!”

  • Thanksgiving is served from 11-4pm
  • Pricing: Adult $33¬† Child $11¬† ¬†Under 4 FREE!
  • Reservations: Can be made by calling 704-230-1720.
  • Interesting menu offering: CRANBERRY AND APPLE ORCHARD SALSA

Winter Cookery

Winter.¬† Ugh.¬† After Christmas is over, I’m kind of done with it.¬† Recently we had a snow storm that shut down our Southern city for a few days, so I took that time to cook.¬† So, not all bad.¬† I’ve been neglecting that part of my life lately, so was nice to get back to it, even if it was forced.

Snow Cream!

So easy, you don’t need a recipe!¬† Stick a big bowl outside to collect fresh falling snow.¬† When full mix with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.¬† Scoop into a mason jar and garnish with snow if you want to be bougie.

I find myself really stepping up my pasta game in the winter, since it’s heavier and sticks with you in the frigid 40 degree temps of the Carolina tundra.¬† I found this recipe while searching for one to take to a friend who was in need of a casserole and a visit.¬† It was pretty to look at and yummy!

To view the recipe, head over to Very Best Baking



  • 1 box (12 oz.)¬†dry¬†tri-color rotini or spiral shaped pasta (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 bag (16 oz.)¬†frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrot medley
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.)¬†NESTL√Ȭģ CARNATION¬ģ Evaporated Milk
  • 2 cups (8-oz. pkg.)¬†shredded Italian cheese blend or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 tablespoons¬†jarred or refrigerated pesto with basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon¬†ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (8 oz.)¬†cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


COOK pasta according to package directions, adding frozen vegetables to boiling pasta water for last 2 minutes of cooking time; drain. Return pasta and vegetables to cooking pot.

MEANWHILE, COMBINE evaporated milk, cheese, pesto and black pepper in medium saucepan. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

POUR cheese sauce over pasta and vegetables. Add ham; stir until combined.

Winter is when I’m ready for carbs.¬† These potatoes are simply delicious.¬† Seriously.¬† Not a lot of ingredients, and the hardest thing is slicing the potatoes thinly, but I have a mandolin so that was just plain fun.

Oh, and I forgot to snap a picture of this when it was done.¬† Curses!¬† But here’s the cookbook where I tried the recipe:

Potatoes Dauphinoise


  • 6 medium russet potatoes (2 1/2 lbs)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)


  1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Scrub and peel potatoes, then cut them into 1/8 inch thick slices.
  2. Combine potatoes, milk, butter, salt and white pepper in a large saucepan.  Bring to simmer over medium heat.  Add the garlic; partially cover pan and simmer until potatoes are almost tender when tested with point of small sharp knife, about 20 minutes.
  3. Pour potatoes with liquid into a buttered 13×9 inch casserole dish.¬† Sprinkle with cheese.¬† Bake until sauce has thickened and cheese is melted and golden brown, about 35 minutes.



Grab and Go Breakfasts

We’ve all heard the mantra: breakfast is the most important meal of the day.¬† But for me, morning is the busiest time of the day and it seems I’m always just too late to do anything more than grab something as I head out the door.¬† These yummies can be eaten on the fly, so don’t skip breakfast when you can eat it on the fly!



      • 2 tablespoons milk
      • 1 large egg
      • 2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
      • 1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese ( 2 ounces)
      • 1 green onion, chopped
      • 1 (10 ounce) cans refrigerated biscuits
      • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled


    • sliced green onion


  1. Beat cream cheese, milk and egg at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended.
  2. Stir in cheese and green onion.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Separate biscuits into 10 portions.
  5. Pat each portion into a 5 inch circle, and press on bottoms and up sides of greased muffin cups, forming a 1/4 inch edge.





    • puff pastry sheet
    • pie filling, of your choice
    • egg wash ( one beaten egg)
    • turbinado sugar
    • glaze
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Cut your sheet of puff pastry into squares. I cut down the 3 vertical marks that are previously there. I was left with 3 strips. I cut each strip into 3 squares. They are not perfectly square, but that’s o.k! You can make yours larger if you like. Take one of your squares and place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center. Don’t use more than that, or you will have a mess.
  2. Grab two opposite corners and pull up to center and pinch together.
  3. Do the same with the other corners. Now, pinch closed two seams and leave two open.
  4. Lay your cherry blossoms on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. If you don’t have parchment paper, grease your pan lightly.
  6. Brush with egg wash.
  7. Sprinkle sugar over pastry.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees until very golden.
  9. 15 to 20 minutes.
  10. Don’t worry if a bit of your filling runs out.
  11. You can take a knife and push it right back inches.
  12. Prepare the glaze while the blossoms are baking . . .Mix confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla.
  13. Make the glaze the consistency you like.
  14. Once the blossoms have finished baking, glaze them while still warm.

The dishes below aren’t mine, and haven’t been tested by me.¬† BUT they sound delicious.¬† I’d love to hear it if¬† you try any of these!


These are great little sandwiches on the run that are packed with protein to keep you full until lunch.  From Garnish with Lemon blog

Strawberry Chia Overnight Oats

The ultimate make-ahead healthy breakfast.¬† Just don’t forget your spoon! This recipe from Kristine’s Kitchen Blog