Cooking Adventures and the Life of a Texas Girl

Shiner Black Lager Brownies

This weekend I had planned an awesome picnic in a cute little park here in Houston. Of course, I had to pick the best food to bring. I chose italian sandwiches, pesto pasta salad, lemonade, but I still couldn’t figure dessert out. It had to be perfect because it’s the most important part of the meal and it had to be portable and clean for the picnic. My friend suggested peach cobbler, cheesecake, cookies, etc., but I couldn’t find anything that sounded appealing. Then I discovered these brownies. OH MY GOSH! So good, so rich, so fudgey, so heavenly.


The original recipe called for Guinness, but I could not find single bottles anywhere. So since I’m in Texas, I prefer Shiner, and it would totally match with Guinness, I decided to get Shiner Black Lager.



2 bottles Shiner Black Lager (or lager of choice)

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 c white chocolate chips

6 tbs butter, cubed

4 eggs

1 c sugar

1 c flour

3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

Handful semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Line 9×13 pan with greased aluminum foil.

Pour both bottles of beer into saucepan, heat on medium heat, until liquid is reduced to 1 1/4 c.

Melt bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate, and butter in a microwave bowl at 30 minute intervals, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

In a large bowl, whip eggs with sugar, slowly stir in melted chocolate mixture. Add flour and cocoa powder, mixing until smooth.

Pour in 1 1/4 c beer and vanilla. Pour mixture into prepared pan, dropping bits of semi-sweet chips on top.

Bake for 25 or until toothpick comes out clean.

If you make these brownies, make sure you have someone to give them to because it’s tempting to eat the whole pan. 😉


With love, from Texas!

Lime in the Coconut Poke Cake


Now that it’s summer, I have big dreams of living on an island. I always think this includes me being unemployed, so it’s not a really realistic dream. Boo hoo! 

Eating this island-inspired dessert will have you living on island time… Hopefully you can snap back into reality afterwards though! This cake is really simple, light, and smells so sweet.

It is simply a white cake, drizzled with lime juice and sweetened condensed milk, topped with cool whip and toasted coconut. The original recipe called for whipping cream and lime rind, but I didn’t feel as though that was necessary. It also called for frosting, instead of cool whip, and no coconut. I chose to use cool whip because frosting would be way too rich and cool whip is light and refreshing!


White cake, baked and cooled for 5 minutes

1/2 c lime juice

1 1/2 c sweetened condensed milk

1 tub cool whip

1 c toasted coconut

Poke holes in white cake with handle of wooden spoon. I poked about 20-25 holes to get the flavorings throughout the whole cake. 

Mix juice with sweetened condensed milk and pour over cake. You may have to guide the mixture into the holes and allow the extra mixture to rest on the top.


Allow cake to cool for at least an hour, as to not melt the cool whip. Spread cool whip over the cake and lime mixture. Put back in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but overnight would be great also! 

Preheat oven to 325. Lay unsweetened coconut on cookie sheet and spread out, so you have a very thin layer. Allow to brown for about 5 minutes, but keep your eye on it the whole time. You may want to shake the coconut around so it is browned thoroughly. 

Top cake with cooled coconut and eat your little heart out!


Hope you enjoy your time on your favorite island.

With love, from Texas!

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake

Holidays always call for dessert, amiright?! This weekend we had a Fourth of July vacation which involved kayaking, floating the river, a parade, family, and eating cheesecake in a swimsuit. 

I love cheesecake! It’s one of my favorite desserts. I can eat it plain, with chocolate, covered in fruit, by the slice, by the whole cake, new york-style, or no bake. 



2 1/4 c freshly crushed graham crackers

1/4 c sugar

2 tbs butter

2 tbs water

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/2 c sugar

1 tub cool whip

15 fresh dark red cherries, pitted

2 tbs corn starch

1/4 c sugar

2 tsp lemon juice

About 1/4 c water

Combine graham crackers, sugar, butter, and water in a bowl. Press into pie plate and place in refrigerator, while making the filling. 

Cream sugar into cream cheese, add in cool whip. Fill graham cracker pie crust.

Slice pitted cherries in half. Place in saucepan, along with cornstarch and sugar, and let sit for 10 minutes for the juices to extract and combine with sugar and starch. Simmer cherries on medium heat, add lemon juice and water. Simmer for 10 minutes until the cherry juice is thickened. Serve topping on cheesecake!

Hope you enjoy this easy dessert as much as my family and I did!


With love, from Texas!

Sausage Kolaches… or Sausage whatever!

A few months ago, I moved south of Houston to a county that is full of Czech people. I’m talking names like “Hrncir”, not even kidding, and everyone has a Jak Se Mas bumper stick. Side note : it means “how are you?” in Czech. Naturally, the food that is popular is correlated to the population so kolaches are a huge thing here.

I grew up eating kolaches (or kolache, if you’re in Czechoslovakia), but I am under the impression that people outside of central and southeast Texas are clueless to these little bits of heaven. Kolaches are a round semi-sweet dough, with a cave in the middle usually containing sweet filling such as poppy seed, apricot, or cherry. Since we’re in Texas and we like our meat, we also like our kolaches with sausage or ham inside. Many older Czech say this isn’t a true kolache, but it’s still great!

To welcome our new secretary, or lifesaver, to the office tomorrow, I decided to make a batch of sausage kolaches to make her feel welcomed!



1/2 tbsp sugar

1 pkg. yeast

1/4 c warm water

1 c milk

5 tbsp shortening

1 tsp salt

1 egg

1/4 c sugar

1 package of lil’ smoky wienies (or link sausage)

Sprinkle 1/2 tbsp sugar over yeast and dissolve in warm water, set aside to rise **Do not make water too hot or you will kill the yeast**.

Heat milk, add shortening until it has melted. Allow to cool lukewarm. Add salt, slightly beaten eggs, and 1/4 c sugar. **The milk mixture needs to cool to about 100 degrees, or it will kill the yeast**.

Combine milk-egg mixture and yeast mixture, then add flour gradually and work dough (by hand or mixer) until glossy. Dough will be slightly sticky! Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, which takes about one hour.

After dough has risen, divide dough into large egg sizeid portions and form a ball. Place on butter baking sheet. Let rise until light. Flat dough out big enough to where it will fit the wienie. Fold dough over wienie, encasing the whole.

Allow to rise again for 45 minutes.

Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

This dough can be used to make fruit filled or meat filled kolaches. Good luck!


With love, from Texas!

Quinoa Oatmeal

So I feel like I’ve been so busy lately. Working, cleaning, working, sleeping, etc. I love sleep so much that I wake up as late as possible, so I never have time to make anything nutritious in the morning. I made this Quinoa Oatmeal on Sunday, so now I can have it throughout the week, without having to lose any sleep. My kind of food, right?!

I found this recipe from Thug Kitchen, but it called for steel cut oats. Um, $5 for a small canister of oats?! No thanks, I’ll save that when I absolutely need them. So I decided to make a recipe that didn’t make me go to the grocery store, because I’m lazy, ya know?



3 c boiling water

1 tsp olive or coconut oil

1 c old-fashion oatmeal

1/2 c quinoa (I had quick-cooking, so that’s what I used)

Splash of milk


Boil water in microwave or on a tea pot. In a saucepan, heat up oil and add oats. Stir oats around until they smell toasty, which takes about 2 minutes. Add in quinoa and water and turn up the heat, so mixture will come to a boil. This will not take long because the water is always hot, hot, hot! After it comes to a boil, turn down to simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has disappeared.

Top with your choice of milk and fruit, nuts, maple syrup, brown syrup, agave, peanut butter, etc. I chose strawberries and maple syrup with no milk, because I needed to get rid of strawberries and I’m in love with maple syrup. Ooh la la!

With love, from Texas!

John’s Coleslaw

Spring and summer time in Texas usually means get-togethers focused around food, whether it be a crawfish boil, barbecue, or a fish fry. This weekend, my parents are having a fish fry and I made the coleslaw because that is necessary whenever you eat seafood. This is the best, tangiest coleslaw that I’ve ever tried. It’s easy to throw together, to boot! 


John’s Coleslaw ingredients:

3/4 c miracle whip

1/3 c sour cream

1/4 c sugar

3/4 tsp season salt

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp celery salt

16 oz bag coleslaw mix (just green cabbage and carrots)


First, mix the miracle whip, sour cream, sugar, and all the seasonings together until they are well incorporated. Next, mix in the coleslaw mix until it is fully dressed. Voila!


That’s too easy right? I hope you enjoy this yummy side-dish this summer to woah all of your friends, family, and neighbors.

With love, from Texas!

Sweet & Sour Lemon Cake

Who doesn’t love cake? Maybe some weird people, but I think even those weird people will like this crazy good lemon cake.


My granny’s 83rd birthday was this past Sunday and since her favorite cake is a lemon, I was determined to find the best lemon cake recipe that didn’t call for a lemon cake mix. Coincidentally, a few days ago, I was watching Trisha Yearwood’s cooking show and she was making a key lime cake. Limes and lemons are the same thing, kind of, right?! So why couldn’t I substitute lemons for limes? I did and it turned out perfectly! This consists of a lemon cake, sweet lemony glaze, and then cream cheese frosting.

Sweet & Sour Lemon Cake Ingredients:

3 oz package of lemon gelatin

1 1/3 c sugar

2 c flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 c vegetable oil

3/4 c orange juice

1 tbs lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla

5 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 c lemon juice

1/2 c powdered sugar

1/2 c (one stick) butter, softened

8 oz package cream cheese, softened

4 c powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Mix the gelatin, sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until well combined. Add the oil, orange & 1 tbs lemon juice, vanilla, and beaten eggs; mix until combined. Pour mixture in greased & floured pan, bake for 35-40 minutes.

*The original recipe called for 1 1/2 c oil, but some of the reviews were negative so I lowered it to 1 c and it turned out moist!

To make the glaze, dissolve 1/2 c powdered sugar in 1/2 c lemon juice. After cake has cooled for 5 minutes, poke holes in the cake and then drizzle the glaze over. I used a kabob stick and found that to be the perfect size of holes.


This cream cheese frosting is pretty standard. MIx butter & cream cheese, then gradually add the powdered sugar until it is creamy and whipped. Frost cake and take a big bite!


With love, from Texas!

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

I love chocolate, like most people. I could eat it in any form really :: cake, cookies, melted, bar, on strawberries, with peanuts, with caramel, with cream, in wine. But adding it to a fruit makes it a nutritious dinner, right? I know! So I ate this Chocolate Avocado Mousse one night for dinner. You love it.


You don’t want to be that kind of person that’s like “oh my gosh, why would you ever try to add chocolate and avocado together? Because it’s good, duh.” The avocado makes it creamy and rich, so you can’t overdue it.


Chocolate Avocado Mousse Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados

1/4 c agave nectar

1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted*

1 tsp coconut butter or coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

Dash of salt

*If you listen to anything I say :: BUY GOOD QUALITY CHOCOLATE! It really makes a difference in the quality of this mousse, so I spent a little extra and bought Ghiradelli.

Melt your chocolate bar in the microwave or over a double boiler on the stovetop. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blend for a few minutes, until all the ingredients are creamy and the avocados have broken down completely. You may have to stop it every minute or so and scrap the sides. Store in air-tight container in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before eating. It will get thicker and creamer, once it is cold!


Too easy, am I right? This is dangerous and soooo delicious! I topped mine with whipped cream.

With love, from Texas!

Miniature Red Velvet Cupcakes

February is the month of love, right?! Well if you haven’t figured it out, one of my loves is desserts ;). To celebrate St. Valentine, I decided to make red velvet cupcakes. This recipe was handed down from my great grandmother, so of course it’s good if it comes from a fine Southern lady 😉 . The original recipe called for butter flavoring, but I nixed that out and it came out heavenly.


Red Velvet Cupcakes:

1/2 c shortening

1 1/2 c sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

3 tbs cocoa

1 oz red food coloring

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 c buttermilk

1 tbs vinegar

1 tsp baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, softened

1 stick butter, softened

1 lb confectioners  sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350. First, cream together shortening and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs, beat until smooth. Mix cocoa powder and food coloring in a separate bowl until they make a paste, then add to sugar & shortening mixture.


Next, slowly add the flour and buttermilk, alternating between the two. In a separate bowl, mix the baking soda and vinegar together, then mix into the batter. We’re done with the batter! Fill mini-muffin tins three-quarters of the way full with batter. Bake in oven for 12 minutes.

To make the cream cheese frosting, mix the cream cheese and butter together until it appears to be fluffy. Next, slowly add in all of the sugar. Mix until the mixture is thoroughly combined, then add vanilla!


Hope that you are able to woo your honey with these cupcakes for St. Valentine’s Day 😉

With love, from Texas!

Buttermilk Cookie Salad

If yall haven’t figured this out yet, I LOVE cooking! So when placed with the opportunity to cook and serve the Lord all at the same time, I am one happy girl. 

I was e-mailed asking to volunteer a dish for a family at our church. I chose ‘fruit salad’, but I didn’t want to make the same boring fruit salad. I searched google and found some recipes, combined them, and made this gem of a dish. It’s cool whip, pudding, fruit, and cookies! Oh my gosh! 

Buttermilk Cookie Salad Ingredients:

2 boxes vanilla pudding

1 pint buttermilk

1 tub Cool Whip

2 small cans mandarin oranges

1 large can crushed pineapple

1 package fudge striped cookies Image

Whisk the pudding and buttermilk together, until it there are no lumps. Stir in the cool whip, so everything is distributed evenly.

Drain the cans of fruit and add to pudding mixture, stirring well. 


Break cookies into pieces, then mix into fruit and pudding mixture. It is best to leave the pieces kind of big, so they still have a little crunch.


You could make this recipe better suited to your needs: add in maraschino cherries, fruit cocktail, bananas, marshmallows, nuts . . . Anything that you would prefer 🙂 .

Enjoy this crazy delicious salad to please a crowd or yourself !

With love, from Texas!