Category: blogging (Page 4 of 6)

Ally’s Virtual Baby Shower: Little Cream Puffs With Egg Salad

I’ve attended plenty of baby showers but this is my first virtual shower. Iowa bloggers Stephanie of Been There Baked That and Yudith of Blissfully Delicious are co-hosting this virtual baby shower for Ally, of Ally’s Sweet & Savory Eats. I’ve enjoyed following all three of their food blogs and got to meet Ally and Stephanie at a blogger meet-up last fall. Ally graciously connected me with this group of bloggers and I’m excited to contribute a recipe to her virtual shower. We send our congratulations and best wishes to Ally and her family.

I recreated the savory, salad-filled cream puffs that I used to serve at Josie’s Coffee Corner Cafe in downtown Fargo, ND. Customers looked forward to the days the owners offered them as summer, chalkboard specials.

Filled Puffs

Cream puffs are made from pate a choux, a dough you begin preparing on the stove top. I made it for the first time when I baked Lois’ Cream Puff Sticks and was happily to find it wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated. Most recipes for cream puffs are essentially the same. Really precise recipes will instruct you to weigh the ingredients and measure out a cup of eggs. I’ve followed less precise recipes with good results.

For this batch, I followed Steamy Kitchen’s recipe and made my own piping bag from a ziplock.

Piping Bag

You can also fill these pastries with sweet foods like fresh whipped cream and berries. I like making my pate a choux dough with very little (or no) sugar in either a sweet or savory application, but you could certainly add more sugar.


Cream Puffs Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 425℉.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter in the water over medium heat.
  3. Stream in the flour and incorporate it into the water-butter mixture by stirring quickly. Let the dough cook briefly and remove from heat.
  4. Allow dough to cool until it’s warm. For quicker cooling, transfer dough to a stand mixer bowl or wait longer before adding the eggs. If you add the eggs when the dough is too hot, they will scramble.
  5. Once the dough is not screaming hot, quickly stir in one egg at a time. Don’t be alarmed when the dough becomes slippery and separates. Just keep stirring and it will come together.
  6. Stir in the salt and sugar.
  7. Pipe the dough onto a greased baking sheet (or one lined with parchment) or drop by the spoonful. Leave a little room for them to expand. Try to make the dough balls the same size and squish down any points to avoid burning.
  8. Bake for about ten minutes. Reduce heat and bake small cream puffs for about 20 minutes until they are puffed and golden brown. Remove earlier if you think they will burn. Larger puffs may take about 30 minutes.
  9. Final words of advice: Try not to open your oven too often, otherwise you’ll release the heat. If you undercook the cream puffs, they will deflate and have a gummy texture inside. Look for a pronounced golden brown color.
  10. Cool completely before storing in a bag or container. I store them in the fridge after a day.

Jeni’s Favorite Egg Salad
Egg salad is another food that we made so often in culinary school that I can practically make in my sleep. I never measure, but add whatever I like and taste as I go. Here is my not very precise method:


Hard boiled eggs
Onion, finely minced or grated
Celery, finely chopped
Pickle, your favorite variety finely chopped (or relish). I used part of a sweet and spicy pickle spear.
Black Pepper
White Pepper


  1. Prepare as many hardboiled eggs as you’d like. I used six for a small bowl of egg salad. It’s an adequate amount to fill one batch of cream puff halves. I put the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. I bring them to a boil, remove the pot from heat, cover and let sit for about 12 minutes. Then, I submerge them in ice water until cool and peel.
  2. Cut eggs in half. Add the yolks to the bowl and chop the whites.
  3. Add a couple dollops of mayonnaise, a good squirt of mustard, and minced onion, celery and pickle. Season with salt, black pepper, white pepper and dill.

Iowa Bloggers Speak: Favorite Home Town Restaurants

Connecting with other bloggers is my favorite part of blogging. I mention this often because it’s true.

Iowa Bloggers Speak.jpgI’ve always wanted to create a Q & A series featuring other bloggers. I’m often inspired by the creative questions posed by people on Chowhound or reader polls on Eater that illicit storytelling and restaurant recommendations. Hopefully, this will become a regular feature in which my blogging friends from Iowa and beyond tackle new questions.

I published a Q & A in 2012 where North Dakota bloggers shared food haunts that they tasted once and haven’t found since. This time, I wanted to feature bloggers from my newest home state. I asked them to share their favorite food find from their current home city and here’s what they said:

Monica ProfileJohnny & Kay’s Original Steak DeBurgo, Des Moines
Growing up in Des Moines in the late 60s/early 70s, especially if you were a south sider like I was, there is a good chance you probably ate at Johnny and Kay’s. The hallmark of long gone Hyatt House Hotel, Johnny and Kay Campiano were the king and queen of fine dining. Their signature dish, one often recreated, is their famous Steak DeBurgo. There is a lot of dispute around town as to the origin and recipe of this amazing creation, but Johnny and Kay’s is widely regarded as the true inventor. Succulent medallions of beef filet mignon, cooked to perfection and draped in the simplest of sauce- butter, garlic and basil, brings back so many wonderful memories of eating there as a child.

My mother worked there ages ago and often made this at home as well. Believe me, she KNEW the secrets of those amazing chefs in the tall white toques and starched jackets. The dish is still available in several local restaurants around Des Moines, but none are the same, and NONE are Johnny and Kay’s Original Steak DeBurgo.

I’m a foodie, wine lover, mother and grandmother transitioning from city life to country life, taking life with a sense of humor. I blog City Girl, Country Life & Rockin’ the Kitchen. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Sheryl Eat Play Des Moines ProfileSecond Saturday Dinner at Proof Restaurant, Des Moines
Every Second Saturday of the month, Proof Restaurant in downtown Des Moines hosts their aptly named, Second Saturday Dinner.  This isn’t an ordinary dinner though, it’s a 10 course, blind, shared (each meal must be shared with a partner) meal. So you have no idea what you’re going to eat beforehand, but it’s always out-of-this-world. This is a photo of a Second Saturday meal a few months back. The meal is priced at $100 per couple and we look forward to the second Saturday of each month for this meal!  During this particular dinner, the steak tartare was quite memorable as was a béarnaise-deviled egg at the following month that I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to replicate at home ever since!
Sheryl Eat Play Dine Des Moines Photo

Sheryl is the founder of Eat, Play, Love Des Moines.  Started in February of 2013, Sheryl blogs about where to eat, things to do and everything else that is Des Moines.  A Boston transplant, Sheryl started EPLDSM to show off all the great food and fun she found in Des Moines after living here for 8 years. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

matt_and_lissahDella Dolce, Clive
Della Dolce has become a real favorite of ours since it opened late 2013. Every delicious pastry and sweet delight is made from scratch and served up with love in the beautifully posh, yet homey, shop. 
Catherine is a true owner/operator pleasantly greeting customers and helping them choose between all the fantastic options. Della Dolce is a true bakery with all kinds of pastries, cookies, and cupcakes.
Della Dolce, Iowa Food Blog
With so many great choices, its difficult to choose just one. 

Matt and Lissah Beglinger live in Waukee with their two young daughters. Lissah is an Iowa native while Matt is an Iowa captive, transplanted from California. Their adventures in Iowa food can be found at:, Faceook & Twitter. 

cristenThe Bauder’s Pharmacy Peppermint Bar, Iowa State Fair
The most memorable time of the year for me is in August at the Iowa State Fair. At the Fair I get to exhibit baked goods, show hogs with my family, see friends I don’t see often and submerge myself in the pinnacle of Midwest festival food culture on a little less than 500 acres on the east side of Des Moines. I love the Fair, I’ve worked for the Fair, I’ve attended every single day of the Fair in the past 10 years, no lie.  Since the 1950’s my Grandparents have had the same camping spot there too. I obsess about the food quite a bit throughout the year and there is one specific Fair-time treat that never slips my mind.  It is “The Bauder’s Pharmacy Peppermint Bar.”

This year on a chilly February day I set out to make my own version of this rich yet refreshing treat, and I’m pleased to say it was spot on!  Making custard based ice cream from scratch and the addition of delicious peppermint candies was what put this confection over the top.  I hope you share this recipe with your family and make it to the Fair to enjoy this pretty-pink cold ‘sandwich’.  You’ll squeal!  (The Bauder’s Pharmacy Peppermint Bar is found at the Bauder’s Pharmacy Trailer outside the west end of the Agriculture building at the Iowa State Fair). 

Cristen Clark is a kitchen loving-contest cook Mom of two residing in the Midwest with her husband Mike and quite a few feisty pigs.  She has a love for all things ‘baked’ and a passion for reliving heritage food memories.  She blogs tales of her family’s agricultural life and outlines contest winning recipes at her blog Food & Swine. Connect with her via Facebook and Twitter as well.

Jenny HeadshotThe Coffee Corner, Washington
I chose to share a great coffee shop we have in Washington called The Coffee Corner.  Owners Gina and Mike are terrific and they brew and blend up great caffeinated drinks. I love their blended drinks. Gina always asks me what flavor I want and sometimes I tell her to surprise me. I am never disappointed!

Several coffee clubs meet there daily. When the coffee clubs have left for the morning it’s a nice place to sit, sip a little java and read a magazine. If you don’t need a jolt of java they also serve up great fruit smoothies, too. Here is my nod to their great icy blended drink.

In kitchen with Jenny smoothieJenny R. Unternahrer is a stay at home mom of two girls. She’s been married to her husband for over 21 years.  She loves to cook and share recipes! Check out her recipes at or Facebook.

Kelli headshotZoey’s Pizza, Marion
Zoey’s Pizza, located on the corner of 7th Avenue and 10th Street in Marion, IA, is a must-visit, classic pizza joint in the heart of Marion’s Uptown District. The atmosphere is that of a retro diner, and the pizza, appetizers, and famous “Zookie” are out of this world. Beware: the pizza is not for the faint of heart. They are loaded down with cheese and toppings (and therefore, calories!), and it’s recommended to order conservatively.

Seating is very limited inside Zoey’s, and on a Friday or Saturday you won’t find a seat anywhere. In fact, calling in a pizza to-go on a weekend might require at least a 90 minute wait. However, arriving early – around 5 p.m. – might earn you a seat or a to-go order within 30 minutes. City Square Park is just across the street, and many times we’ve ordered a pizza to go and enjoyed it in the park.

kelli pizza photo Our favorite pizza to order is a small New York Thin Crust half pepperoni and pineapple, half beef and green olives. Plus a side of cheesy garlic bread with marinara on the side.

Kelli is a city homesteader who blogs about she and her husband’s self-sufficiency pursuits, gardening, cooking {mostly} from scratch, and urban agriculture at The Sustainable Couple. Find her on Facebook.

Coffee Cat

Coffee Cat, Mason City
If forced to choose an absolute favorite place in Mason City, I’d choose Coffee Cat. I never get tired of sharing why it’s my favorite coffee shop. For one thing, it’s an independent coffee shop attached to a bookstore owned by one of the most sincerely nice people in the city. 

Coffee Cat sells homemade Chai tea and I order a cup each visit. It’s more like the Chai at Verdant Tea in Minneapolis, MN than those cloying powdered mixes or liquid concentrates. They’ll offer to sweeten it with honey or vanilla since it’s got a spicy kick. Although they don’t serve savory foods, they make their own baked goods and frosting from scratch. I’ve seen Guinness chocolate cake around Saint Patrick’s day and even vegan bars.

The Coffee Cat’s music could be my soundtrack. Cat schedules a lot of live music and their background music is perfect for writing. I knew I was in the right place when I heard the Alabama Shakes.

Do you have any burning questions you’d like us to answer next? Feel free to leave a comment below. 

I Love Mail & Hate This Winter So I Signed-Up For The Mug O’ Comfort Swap

I’ve been relatively quiet about my opinions regarding this winter’s weather simply because I would only be adding to the noise.

This week we started running our sink to prevent our pipes from freezing, I tried to walk my dog today and we both went numb halfway down the cul-de-sac, I drove home in a blizzard on a rural two-lane highway on Thursday night, and I just can’t hold it in any longer. . .

I hate this winter!

Fortunately, I learned about this month’s Mug O’ Comfort swap from my Iowan blogger friends Beth at It’s Just Life and Sincerely Jenni. Participants are matched up with another blogger and they both exchange mugs and supplies to make other person’s favorite hot beverage like tea, coffee, or cider.

I found myself yelling terrible things at winter and joined the swap as a proactive effort in participating in something cheerful.

This is our first time participating and we’ll look forward to sharing what kinds of mugs and treats we give and receive. The sign-ups for March close at the end of today, so if you are interested in joining, visit The Chaotic Goddesses sign-up page quickly.

Iowa Food & Lifestyle Bloggers Giveaway: $225 Visa Gift Card

I joined forces with ten of my favorite Iowa Food and Lifestyle bloggers to offer a giveaway for a $225 Visa gift card.

Giveaway Graphic

We come from all corners of Iowa and appreciate all of our readers so we personally contributed to this prize. I had the opportunity to connect with these bloggers in Iowa City last fall and at our local blogging get togethers in Mason City. I learn a lot from them about a wide range of topics and am glad I found this unique blogging community soon after moving to Mason City, IA. These women are generous in spirit and always take the time to share encouragement and advice.

Besides entering for a chance to win $225, I hope you find some new reading material that strikes your fancy. The Rafflecopter box lets you enter in many different ways and choose as many or few options as you’d like.

The giveaway starts now and ends on February 28th. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Visit the ten other participating bloggers at the links below. We enjoy interacting with our readers, so feel free to say hello or leave a comment. 

Ally at Ally’s Sweet and Savory Eats
Stephanie at Been There Baked That
Val at Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids
Jenny at In the Kitchen With Jenny
Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats
Kristen at Make the Best of Everything
Diana at My Humble Kitchen
Monica at City Girl, Country Life
Michelle at Simplify, Live, Love
Kelli at The Sustainable Couple

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For Your Reading Enjoyment: Ten(ish) Things I Really Enjoyed

Mornings are my favorite.

No matter what time I need to be at work, I wake up early enough to sip a freshly brewed cup of coffee and read through my blog feed.

I read so many interesting posts that I’ve started sharing my favorite ones on my Facebook page each day. These posts give me recipe ideas, make me laugh, and introduce me to new ideas. I hope that sharing these posts spreads the joy they bring me.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the past couple weeks:

  • Totally made these Sticky Chicken Thighs the same day I saw them on Chowtimes. They were easy to prepare and so tasty we didn’t have any leftovers.
  • Julie posted a link toThe Exorcism of Latoya Ammons on Twitter which is a news story, not a blog post. It’s a strange and disturbing account and I’m not sure what to make of it. Warning: Don’t read if you can’t handle the movie The Exorcist.
  • I was a reluctant Pioneer Woman fan. But yea, I totally DVR her show. She’s such a tease. When she kicked off her new season a few weekends ago, she prepared Peach-Whiskey Barbecue Chicken with lots of fresh peaches. Like we can get those around here in February. My local blogger friend Debbie created her own crock pot version that I’ll have to try.
  • Anna embarks on her first vegan dining adventure in Chicago.
  • Beth blew my mind in her post in which she shares her thoughts upon learning about a Swiss company that transforms cremated remains into. . . diamonds.

I’ll leave you with these ten. There are many more, so you’ll have to stop by my Facebook page for my daily finds. Can you suggest any blogs I should add to my reading list?

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