How to Host Brunch and a Blueberry Scones Recipe

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How to Host Brunch

Brunch. blueberry scones, cinnamon rolls, bacon apple cinnamon rolls, ham biscuits
Brunch buffet, with fresh baked blueberry scones (recipe below) and bacon apple cinnamon rolls.  We also served bagels and hot ham biscuits with peach mustard.

How to Host Brunch

Sometimes, as a personal chef, you are challenged to cook in tough situations.  Last weekend I had the opportunity to prepare brunch for 75 people for a groundbreaking ceremony. The site is a vineyard currently under construction. (more…)


Fall Soup Recipe-Kabocha Squash (pumpkin) Soup with Sausage and Collard Greens

Soup, kabocha squash, pumpkin, collard greens, sausage, bacon chicken broth
Perfect for fall, this soup is a one pot meal. Kabocha squash, collard greens sausage and bacon in a rich chicken broth


I was browsing one of my favorite blogs, British Blokes Cooking,  when I came across a great looking recipe for Milton’s sausage and potato soup.  I guess I shouldn’t read food blogs on an empty stomach because I got REALLY HUNGRY!   Now, here’s the thing, I can never follow a recipe…NEVER (almost never).  I get inspired by them but then I take off in a completely different direction.  In a nod to my Southern roots I used collard greens instead of the kale that was in the recipe.  I went to the market and saw some beautiful Kabocha squash that I absolutely could not resist.  I had some smoked sausage and some of my homemade bacon in the fridge and I omitted the cream altogether.   This soup was FANTASTIC!!   The broth was smokey and slightly spicy from the bacon and sausage and a little sweet from the squash.

So here it is, my kabocha squash and collard green soup recipe, I hope you try it or are inspired by it.   Either way I’d like to hear about what you cooked and how you change things up.

kabocha squash, squash, pumpkin, collard greens
Kabocha squash and collard greens. If you can’t find a kabocha squash you can substitute butternut or acorn squash or a pie pumpkin.  Kabocha squash is referred to as Japanese pumpkin, it’s orange flesh (rich in beta carotene) is sweeter than acorn or butternut squash
Saute chopped onions and collared greens in rendered bacon fat.  Add smoked sausage, kabocha squash and chicken broth
Saute chopped onions and collared greens in rendered bacon fat. Add smoked sausage, kabocha squash and chicken broth

Kabocha squash and Collard Greens Soup

4 ounces of diced bacon1 small onion diced (about ½ cup)1 bunch of collard greens washed and julienned ( about 15 ounces)1- 12 ounce package of smoked sausage sliced

1 small kabocha squash (about 1 pound) cut into 3/4 inch cubes (substitute butternut or acorn squash or pie pumpkin)

3 cups of chicken broth

Cook diced bacon over medium heat to render the fat from the bacon.  Remove the bacon and save, keep the bacon fat in the pot.Add onion into the bacon fat and sauté until translucent for about 4 minutes. Add collard greens into the pot and stir around to wilt greens a bit.Add sausage, kabocha squash and chicken broth.  Simmer on medium-low for about 20 minutes or until squash is tender.You could also bring the soup to a simmer then put it in the oven and let it cook, covered, gently at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until squash is tenderTop soup with reserved bacon, serve and enjoy

Low Carbohydrate Pasta Substitute, Shirataki noodle recipe and review: Pasta Carbonara Recipe

Low carbohydrate, bacon, spinach, shirataki noodles
Low carb shirataki noodle carbonara with spinach.

I’ve been wanting to try these shirataki noodles for a while as a pasta substitute.  The noodles have only 3 grams of carbohydrate and 20 calories in each 4 ounce serving.  The brand I used is made from tofu and yam flour.  I’ve been eating low carb for about two months now and I was having a bit of a pasta craving.  I purchased the package a couple of weeks ago but I was a bit nervous because of something written on the label in the directions that frightened me “Drain and rinse thoroughly. Parboil for 2-3 minutes to reduce the authentic aroma”.  REDUCE THE AUTHENTIC AROMA?  ummm, that made me nervous.  I finally got up the nerve to try it and, yes there is a bit of a faint fishy smell to the noodles, but it’s not bad.  After rinsing, parboiling, draining and drying I didn’t smell anything.  I tasted one plain and it had no taste at all, which is a good thing I think.  

shirataki noodles, low carb,
These are the spaghetti shaped shirataki noodles after rinsing, parboiling and draining

A carbonara style dish is what I had been craving so I crisped up some bacon, sauteed spinach in the rendered bacon fat, tossed in the noodles, stirred in an egg and mixed in some Parmesan cheese.  With a little black pepper it was pretty tasty.  The noodles have a slightly different texture from wheat pasta but it was not unpleasant.  I’d make it again.  I found the brand pictured above at my local grocery store but you can also order it and other brands of shirataki noodles from  Next time I make this I’m going to try the Miracle Noodle brand, with less than 1 gram of carbs per 3 ounce serving.  I’ll let you know how they are.  Here’s a great recipe for Miracle Noodle Shirataki Noodles with sauteed Greens

miracle noodle, shirataki noodles, low carb, weight loss
Miracle noodle, shirataki low carb noodles have less than 1 gram of carbohydrate  per 3 ounce serving

Here’s the recipe for Shirataki noodle carbonara, makes 2 servings

7-8 ounces of Shirataki noodles

4 ounces bacon

3 ounces of spinach

1 egg

2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

fresh cracked black pepper

Rinse the shirataki noodles and par-boil them for 2-3 minutes (or follow the preparation directions on the package) Drain the noodles well.

Cut the bacon into 1/2 inch slices and cook over medium heat to render the far out, remove the bacon from the pan and reserve.  Saute the spinach in the bacon fat, add the noodles and stir.  Remove the pan from the heat and add in the beaten egg and Parmesan cheese.  Season with fresh cracked black pepper and top with reserved cooked bacon.


because BACON! That’s why!

I’ve been curing and smoking my own bacon (insert yo mama joke here) for quite a few months and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever learned to do in the kitchen.  It’s so good that I’ve totally given up on purchasing bacon from the grocery store.  Here’s the recipe, let me know if you give it a try, I think you’ll be happy that you did.

We’ve been out of bacon for a quite a while, which I don’t mind because we don’t need to eat it everyday.  If it’s in the house it WILL be eaten so it’s best not to have it available all the time.   My people were starting to crave it.  My Mom asked why I didn’t bring any on my last visit and my youngest son has been walking around the house singing the bacon pancake song (yes, that’s a real thing) so I had to get a batch started.  It’s not difficult to make but it is time consuming.  It takes over a week but it’s well worth it.

My latest batch is finally ready and this is what we did with it:

bacon, sliced thick and ready to cook
bacon, sliced thick and ready to cook
tomatoes, shallots and herbs
A plate of thick bacon, ready and waiting
A plate of thick bacon, cooked, ready and waiting
BLT with two kinds of tomatoes because one is not enough
BLT with two kinds of tomatoes because one is not enough
It looks good, doesn't it?  mmmm, yeah it's so delicious
look at it. It looks good, doesn’t it? mmmm, yeah it’s so delicious
Marinated tomato salad with bacon
Marinated tomato salad with bacon


2 Cups of fresh tomatoes chopped into1 inch pieces

1 shallot thinly sliced (2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients together and let marinate refrigerated for about an hour

Bacon kettlecorn with rosemary. Oh yes I did.  A little salty sweet herbal and bacony goodness
Bacon kettle corn with rosemary. Oh yes I did. A little salty sweet herbal and bacony goodness



1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon bacon fat

½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels

¼ teaspoon fine salt

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup bacon, finely chopped and cooked until crisp

½ teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped

Use a large heavy bottomed pot with high sides and a lid.  Please be careful.

Add canola oil, bacon fat and three popcorn kernels into the pot ( these three kernels are used to test the heat of your oil), cover and heat over medium/high flame.  When the popcorn kernels start to pop your oil is ready to add the rest of the popcorn kernels, sugar and salt. Cover and shake the pot to keep the kernels from burning, carefully moving the pot off and on the heat.



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