Foodie turned blogger. How'd that happen?

My Favorite Thanksgiving Stuffing

Happy Almost Thanksgiving!

I thought that you may be looking for recipes to wow your family on Thursday… so here’s one that’s a real winner. Plus, I made a special poll I’d like you to take. It’s at the bottom of this page :)

So, back to the stuffing…. not only is it delicious – it’s pretty too! I originally posted this 2 years ago, and I’ve made it quite a few times since. It’s consistently a delicious stuffing that the whole family loves.

Plus, it’s not that boxed stuff… you know the one…from the same wiseguys who make the macaroni in the blue box with the powdered orange “cheese”.


Think Outside the Box.

No! Not the Red Box!


Real Stuffing.

This recipe has got just the right amount of everything, and since I barely changed it at all, I’m giving full credit to it’s original author, Diane Morgan.
The recipe is from her book, The New Thanksgiving Table: An American Celebration of Family, Friends, and Food

(but just so you know what I changed up, my notes are in blue)

 New England Bread Stuffing with Bell’s Seasoning

This is my favorite dressing!

(Before we start Diane’s recipe, here are a couple of my suggestions:
1. To make the bread cubes toasty, after cutting them, I put them into a 400° oven, in an 11″ x 15″ pan with sides. Why sides? Because then you can stir them up every few minutes for even toasting without worrying they’ll drop onto the floor of your oven. After about 10-15 minutes, they’ll be done. Also, if you decide to do more than the recipe calls for, you’ll have a lot of fresh croutons)

2. Before you start, cut everything up and put it into appropriate-sized bowls.
This will make the recipe so much easier!
Continue reading

How To Make A Pumpkin Shake

Tastes like pumpkin pie!

Tastes like pumpkin pie!

Now that it’s pumpkin season, I’ve been craving it more than usual. So, when Kenny and I went to Trader Joes a couple of days ago and picked up some vanilla ice cream, I knew we had to make it special for the season.
I’m posting this recipe specially for my new dad-in-law, Dennis, who has quite the sweet tooth :)

Pumpkin Shakes – makes 4 small or 3 large

1-1/3 cup Canned Organic Pumpkin Purée
2 cups Milk, super cold
1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp freshly Grated Nutmeg
1/4 Cup Sugar
4 cups Trader Joes’ Vanilla Ice Cream

Put pumpkin into a freezer bag (flatten to evenly chill), and place in freezer for a short time until it’s icy but not fully frozen.
Meanwhile, mix milk, spices, and sugar in a blender. Add pumpkin and blend just until mixed. Add ice cream and blend on high speed (stopping twice to scrape down sides) till everything is just barely mixed.
Pour into glasses. Enjoy!

Kenny, Cody, and I loved these!

Kenny, Cody, and I loved these!

Making Pickles at Williams-Sonoma

Sockmonkeys Kitchen:

Happy National Canning Day! Here’s something you should try today!

Originally posted on sockmonkeyskitchen:

Look what we learned how to make!

Look what we learned how to make!

Every time I walk by a Williams-Sonoma store, I am pulled in by a  force that is stronger than any top-of-the-line vacuum on the market. Ever since I can remember, the store has had such a refined feel to it, and the staff is always so welcoming and willing to help. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve walked in to browse and been greeted with a snack or beverage. It’s kind of like going to a dear friend’s home. A friend who can cook. Really well. ;-)

Last weekend, Kenny, Cody, and I attended one of their free classes. Yes, folks, they will teach you some pretty amazing techniques and ideas… without charging you a thing. Oh – and you get to taste the creations at the end! Win-win! I’d always wanted to go to one of these, and when…

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Super Easy Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

MMMM! Perfect for a blustery Autumn day!

This soup is so simple and delicious! (The recipe’s at the bottom of the page)

Okay, so I can’t stay away….and yes, I’ve stepped away from blogging… but I thought I’d start sharing my old recipes with you…aka “Blast from the Past” ideas for your kitchen.  What do you think? Anyhow, I’ve just come across this one, and I know there are a few of you out there that love pumpkin seeds as much as I do. So,here you go! Enjoy!


Pumpkins are so incredibly useful for so many things! Many buy them for decorations for this time of the year, while others crave their Autumny goodness in pies, cookies, breads, and soups. Even Cinderella got a coach made from one. But today, I wanted to make sure you knew what to do with those wonderful seeds inside that big orange squash.


How adorable is this sockmonkey that my friend Debbie made?!

“Sugar Pumpkins” are those cute little round ones that I’d recommend for all things baked, as they’re the least watery, and the easiest to work with. So, the little sockmonkey chose a beautiful one for today’s recipe.  Step one: Preheat your oven to 300°.

Continue reading

An Important Announcement

The little guy who started it all
The little guy who started it all

Today marks a special day for me:
Exactly 2 years ago I embarked on this blog.

I had a few reasons for creating Sockmonkey’s Kitchen:

  • Creating a simple cooking resource for friends and family
  • Teaching myself to write weekly
  • Making and running a website
  • Keeping my original recipes in one place
  • Learning accountability (once a week is tough!)
  • Designing my own logo/branding/wallpaper
  • Pushing myself to create new dishes
  • Sharing my love of food

My original goal was to keep my blog going for an entire year, or 52 weeks. Well, since today marks 2 years, I guess I’m an overachiever ;-)

Just a few of my recipes

Just a few of my recipes

My life has changed so very much, and for the better!  I’m now finding myself beginning a new life as a wife, mom of 2 more, in a new home, and pursuing more activities and creative outlets all around. I’m still madly in love with food, from the growing, to the shopping, to the prepping, and to the eating. I’m still researching articles and learning all the way through it.

However, I’ve had to make the decision to put this blog on the back burner. I own this site, so I’ll keep it open for you to use as a cookbook, resource, or place to look at my silly sense of humor. Remember, there are over 100 posts here, so make sure to use the search bar to look for ingredients, dinner ideas, or….?
smk with logo

This has been a wonderfully fun ride, and I’m pretty sure it’s not over. I may start up again, once all the cardboard boxes from my move are gone, and I’ve settled in to life. Who knows?

But until then, please feel free to comment on the posts, and if any of you have a cooking/food/fun blog, please also feel free to post a link to it :)

Now go grab a cookie, and a cup of coffee, and remember my recipes whenever you spot a sockmonkey. <3


Hugs to all of you

Anything after this logo is nothing but advertising!

(Everything after this yellow logo is nothing but advertising)

I Am Ironman

Sockmonkeys Kitchen:

I bet you thought I’d forgotten to post this week, huh?
Actually, I’m in the process of moving, so besides having my home currently decorated in the “Early American Cardboard” style, the kitchen has been without my fridge this week(!). However, I’m treating you to one of my posts that you may not have seen. Plus, it’s got Robert Downey Jr so you can’t go wrong. ;-) Enjoy and I’ll chat with you next week!

Originally posted on sockmonkeyskitchen:

Quick Question….

What’s the first thing you think of when I say IRON?

Ironman / Robert Downey jr. photo, from

Ironman / Robert Downey jr. photo, from

Okay, maybe not THAT iron… I’m thinking about the mineral your body needs to stay healthy.

Growing up, I never really thought about it, until I’d moved out into my first apartment, and as often is the case with 19-year-olds, I didn’t really want to take my time attempting to cook all those balanced dinners Mom had brought me up on. So, like most young kids, I ate a lot of Taco Bell,  fast food burgers, soda pop, Hamburger Helper, Kraft Mac & Cheese, and bread. Pretty much, my diet was void of anything healthy.

Fast-forward  some months later, and I’m walking up the stairs to my 2nd-floor place, and I have to sit down and rest halfway through on the landing. What? I’m 19! This continues for a week…

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Summer Shortcuts Part 2

05Summer is still in full swing, here in Southern California! As a matter of fact, we’ve got a forecasted temp of 106 on Monday. I think I may melt. But, have no fear… I’ve got a couple of ideas for you to use on those crazy hot days where you don’t want to turn on the oven, or take too much time making dinner. Plus, there’s a song you’ll tap your toes to at the end :)

Pineapple Pico over Wild Alaskan Salmon with a Grilled Pineapple Steak

Pineapple Pico over Wild Alaskan Salmon with a Grilled Pineapple Steak

The first is a seafood dish. Yes, I said seafood. I’d sworn off of the stuff since I was very young because it tasted, well, like fish. And, I really never liked it. Keep in mind I was pretty much a freak of nature with this mindset, since I grew up on one of the most popular beach cities in the state. ;-) Anyhow, I’m starting to eat it because Kenny loves it. Anyway, my new daughter Kelsie spent this past summer in Alaska and she sent us some beautiful salmon that she had caught. What a treat! Kenny grilled it up with some butter, lemon, and a spice blend we made. Then he grilled some lovely pineapple “steaks” for a side. I topped the fish with my simple Pineapple Pico, and it was delicious! Continue reading

Peach Salsa from Chef Mimi

Look at this gorgeous Peach Salsa! YUM!

Look at this gorgeous Peach Salsa! YUM!

Today I’ve got a guest blogger. I’ve followed her for quite some time, and I LOVE her cooking style! Through various chats we’ve discovered that not only do we have a common passion for food… but she also lived in my hometown of Santa Barbara for quite some time. What a small world!

This incredibly talented self-taught chef worked as a personal chef for eight years and as a caterer for ten years after that. She has the writer of a weekly newspaper column,  taught cooking classes, worked as a recipe developer, was a health advocate promoting feeding children healthy food, had a cooking show, and even wrote a cookbook. And she’s my special guest today!

Ladies and Gentlemen,
may I introduce Chef Mimi!

“There nothing quite like a fresh salsa in August, when ripe tomatoes are abundant.
A simple addition of red and green onions, some cilantro and a dash of Tabasco sauce
makes a perfect salsa to serve with chips, or pico de gallo-style.
But if you’re willing to cook a salsa with summer-ripe peaches, you will swoon at the results.
Best slightly warm, with chips, and perhaps guacamole.
A perfect spread for a summer’s eve.
Margaritas optional.” – Chef Mimi

chef mimis peach salsa 2 Continue reading

SUGAR in Portland: Salt & Straw and Voodoo Doughnut


Yes, Portland has an amazing landscape, beautiful architecture, and a hip, cool vibe about it… but today I’m focusing on the sugar. Why? Um, hello…. SUGAR. Here are a couple of fabulous sugar finds that my new husband Kenny and I found while on our honeymoon in Portland, Oregon last week. PLUS… today marks the second anniversary of!

When in Portland, eat sugar like the locals!

When in Portland, eat sugar like the locals!


Salt & Straw
Portland Salt & Straw 4

This is an outstanding representation of what ice cream really should be. A sign inside reads: Our ice cream is handmade in small batches using only all natural dairy with the best, local, organic and sustainable ingredients Oregon has to offer, as well as imported flavors from small hand-picked farms from around the world!
With a whopping 17% butterfat in it, you’re getting the cream of the crop. ;-) We visited the NW 23rd location twice, and I was pretty sad that we didn’t go more. The line wrapped around the building, so I knew it was going to be good. Once we’d gotten inside, the servers were all walking out from behind the large counter to give samples. Mind you, these are not the tiny plastic “only one per person” spoonfuls that I’m used to. Noooo…. As many as you’d like, each on a large silver spoon. “Just bring the spoons back when you’re done and we’ll wash ‘em” the polite girl said to me. Holy cow. Alrighty then.

Salt & Straw's employees are so incredibly friendly!

Salt & Straw’s employees are so incredibly friendly!

I tried a few, and each were beautifully flavored and wonderfully paired. I loved that there wasn’t a ton of sweetness, and some flavors were very savory. Their classic flavors range from the Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache, to the Arbequina Olive Oil, to the Coconut with Petunia’s salted Caramel Bars….. and the Portland Farmer’s Market Series boasted flavors such as Tomato Water Olive Oil, Carrot Watermelon and the daring Bone Marrow & Bourbon Smoked Cherry. The Pear with Blue Cheese, Freckled Woodblock Chocolate, and Cinnamon Snickerdoodle were just a few that we tried. The strangest combo was the Bunk Hawaiian which besides pineapple (and I think coconut) had pork jelly belly in it. I let Ken taste that one on his own. ;-)
Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper on the left.... and Green Fennel & Maple on the right. Heaven! Continue reading

Waving From Portland

Hello from Portland, Oregon! Believe it or not, last week was the first week I ever missed a blog…in 2 years… But I have a good reason ;-) I got married two days later :-)

My new husband and I are vacationing in Portland, Oregon and are loving it! I cannot wait to tell all of you about our lovely food experiences we have had here.
From unbelievable ice cream flavors to grass fed beef to amazing locally roasted coffee, it seems that Portland has it all :-)
So please sit tight and wait until next week and I can promise you that the wait will be worth it! Until then, Ta Ta!image


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