Category Archives: Kimz Kitchen

Roasted Sweet Potato and Sweet Corn Hash


3 ingredients + Spices for a paleo friendly, Low carb dish.

So now that I can admit that my food tendencies have been tending more towards craving levels, ahem, I can share one of recent favorite side dishes.

I love winter vegetables. The warm oven heating up my house while those delicious root vegetables cast warm sweet smells through the kitchen.

And we love the snow. I’ve never seen this much snow in my life. It’s fantastic!! In the South, we have to pay big bucks to drive somewhere far away to go sledding on hills half this size covered in manufactured snow. Having this hill down the street from us (and there’s lovely workers up here who actually clear those streets every time!) is beyond awesome.



But the record setting below zero wind chills and the locked inside the house feeling and the instant frostbite warnings.  Whew, those are a force to reckoned with.

Seriously? instant frostbite warnings. I’ve never heard of such a thing before this winter.  Ya’ll, this southern blood isn’t changing over so well.


And can we talk about socks for minute? In the South, we wear socks one time. Easter Sunday morning. That’s it. My poor kids. They’re still trying to figure out if the socks go under the 3 layers of pants or over them. And then where do they put the boots? 🙂

But back to the veggies. I had some sweet potatoes lying around and some frozen corn in the freezer and wanted to whip up a nice paleo, low carb friendly side dish. Well, that low carb paleo stuff wasn’t my intention at all. But it sorta happened so I thought I’d add that in.

First you’ll wanna shred your sweet potatoes. I used my kitchen aid grater attachment. Cubed ones or diced ones would work just as well.

Add the shredded sweet potato (I used one large one for our family of 4.25) and 6 oz bag of fresh or frozen corn to a hot skillet with a little olive oil.

3 ingredients + Spices for a paleo friendly, Low carb dish.


At this point I let these two become good friends in the pan, adding a 1/2 tsp of salt, a 1/2 tsp of stevia (since my corn was frozen, the normal sweetness wasn’t there that I love), 1 tsp of paprika and a dash of cinnamon. The smells coming from this were just incredible!

Then I added a sliced green onion.

3 ingredients + Spices for a paleo friendly, Low carb dish.


3 ingredients + Spices for a paleo friendly, Low carb dish.


That just took this over the top!  I kept cooking and tossing over medium high heat until the corn began to turn slightly brown in places and the sweet potatoes began to have that slightly crispy “hash brown” look.

You should try it. Warm up those winter veggies a bit – it may make you enjoy them a tad more and make these last few remaining days of winter a little less….well, bitter cold.

3 ingredients + Spices for a paleo friendly, Low carb dish.


3 ingredients + Spices for a paleo friendly, Low carb dish.


Roasted Sweet Potato Sweet Corn Hash




A baby shower for my sister.


Seeing that it’s turning into Party Week here on KimzKitchen, I thought I’d feature a baby shower.

A few months back, my sweet little sister (the one with whom I share a bday, actually!) was pregnant with her first little boy. As hard as it was, I wanted to do a special shower for her. She was married pretty quick-like out of state with military obligations, so a wedding shower didn’t work out. So, this baby shower was a big deal for my other sister and I. It turned out pretty cute, I think.

Here’s a few photos from her day.






My mom, and my sister, and my nephew. 🙂



See, told ya I use these glasses for everything! These straws came from here.



(Super easy!) Doughnut Tower Instructions



Savory Mini Vegetable Quiche



Southern Grits Bar (Basics for Beginners Recipe coming soon)


Sunrise Punch


I was pretty nervous about gift-opening time. I still don’t do well with looking at baby boy clothes – and especially then, was absolutely terrified of watching this part of the shower.
Thankfully I was given a downright Heavenly idea of heading up a craft gift – which kept me supremely distracted, but also without being a distraction. 


DSC_0076 DSC_0080

Had to include this one – seeing little Kyle there ^ made me smile.


These little pirate faces will go perfectly in my nephew’s nautical nursery.


Everyone at the shower signed their own handprint pirate, so now my sister can remember the love shown to her that day.


I still have to send her the birth stats to put over on the side there…now that my house is organized, I should get on that. 🙂

September Foodie Penpal – this was AWESOME!


We interrupt this regularly scheduled Monday weekly updating program to bring you my Foodie Penpal post:
(no worries, my update will come up tomorrow!)

To briefly explain, I signed up to be a foodie penpal with someone randomly chosen for me from a quickly growing list of 1,300 people across the US, Canada, and the UK. I was assigned a girl in Atlanta to send a special box to, and was sent a box from a super AWESOME girl in Maine.

I was a little nervous about the sweet girl I was to mail a package to – she was a super strict vegan, and me, with my often occurring dozen-eggs-a-day cravings, am most certainly not. 🙂 But after some research, learning, and searching around, I was able to send her a big bag of grits from a local farm in Anderson, and some big jars of salsa from the Saturday Market downtown. Of course, the girls got involved and made her pictures of food (I think – that’s what they say the pictures were.) It ended up being a lot of fun figuring out what to send!

Now, my box was super awesome. Like, above super awesome. And during a particularly rough week – it made us all smile really big. 🙂

Goodness gracious – check out that loot!

So, my penpal asked if there was anything I had wanted to try from Maine. I asked for Maine lobster. But only if that was in the given $15 budget. Guess she wasn’t up for catching them. 🙂
So, my second choice was salt water taffy. And boy was it good. And gone. In like, 2 days.

But these things were my absolute favorites in the box – that whole bottle of maple syrup? I’ve been treating it like liquid gold! It’s sooo yummy! We’ve only made blueberry pancakes once with is, but boy are we gonna have fun making all sorts of yummy things and using that syrup on it! And those nuts? Wow – they were gone fast too. I probably shouldn’t have put them on my nightstand. And that homemade granola bar? That came right from her farm. 🙂

Another farm treat – purple potatoes! I can’t wait to use these! I’m making a potato soup tonight for dinner – this rainy day is perfect for it – and a few bits of purple among the white potatoes is gonna be just gorgeous, I think!

And, the girls loved their cookies! 🙂

So, thanks, Jacquie, for a super fun happy box! We all are loving every bit of it!
The Lean Green Bean

A few details about this super fun program (that started about a year ago with just 30 people – good grief, it’s growing faster than my 3 year old!)

* You sign up to be a foodie penpal by the 5th of the month

* On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

* You have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post (if you have a blog – if not, no worries – you don’t have to!) about the goodies you received from your penpal!

* The boxes are filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

Wanna join us? Check out a few more details and instructions here. You have until October 5th to sign up!

Guest Post: Tennessee Apple Cake


(And this one’s good!)

I’m so thankful for guest posters! Especially right now – it’s hard enough keeping up with our 3-4 appointments weekly (and being a one-car family, this has been rather challenging!), much less cooking and posting new recipes. These guest posters are really helping me keep things going here so I can focus on my family. I’m so very thankful!

If any of you have a great recipe on your blog – or just in your mind that you’d like to submit for posting over the next several weeks, send it right on to me at kimzkitchen at gmail dot com. (obviously – you’ll use the @ sign and the . – I’m just discouraging those silly spammers!) I’d be happy to consider any and all posts!

Meanwhile – back to the apples at hand here….

My friend, a chef at one of the best restaurants in town, and a head culinary instructor at a local university offered to give me a little slice of this amazing little apple cake he made. (Which, considering he does all that and has a wife and three kids…I’m not sure how he had time to give me this recipe, let alone bake it. But, nonetheless, we are definitely benefitting here!)

He gave it to me during the Sunday School hour at my church – my husband was the teacher. This cake was gone before I could leave the church building that morning. (Although, I won’t say here if I ate it during my husband’s teaching or during the pastor’s main sermon. Or in the darkest, most hidden away corner I could find by the back bathroom so no one would try to steal a bite. I just won’t say. I’m honest. But not that honest.) 🙂

Whether you have a local apple orchard around – or you have to buy a few pounds at your local grocery store – you should do it. And make this. Fast. It’s really good. Then send me some. Because the one I’m making this week will be gone before yours gets to me. ‘Twould be a shame to run out.

So, thanks, Rob Hansen, for the awesome recipe. And the lovely fall inspiration.

Tennessee Apple Cake

This recipe has been a favorite of my wife for many years. Each year after we go to a nearby apple orchard and pick our apples, it is not long before we have an apple cake baking in the oven.  Normally we end up making 2 since the first one seems to disappear much too quickly.

This apple cake is perfect for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or to be served with your favorite ice cream as a dessert. I have used several varieties of apples and all work well, but I love the flavor that the Honey Crisp apple brings to the cake. It has great flavor and sweetness that blends very well with the moistness of the cake.  The texture is more like a coffee cake than a traditional high-ratio cake.



2 cups Sugar, granulated

¾ cup Butter, Unsalted, softened

2 Eggs

2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Cinnamon, ground

1 tsp. Nutmeg, ground

1 ½ tsp. Vanilla

3 ½ cup Apples, diced small


1/3 cup Sugar, granulated

¼ tsp. Cinnamon, ground


Stand Mixer –  (Kim’s Kitchen note) obviously, there’s no other choice here besides this one.


Measuring Spoons

Measuring Cups


Paring Knife or Peeler/Corer/Slicer


     1. Cream the sugar and butter until well blended

For those that are not familiar with creaming, it is the process of combining the sugar and the fat in a mixer so that you can incorporate air into the mixture.  Margarine can be substituted, but it will slightly change the flavor and texture of the cake.

For this recipe I use unsalted butter that has been softened for several hours. The time of year will affect how long it takes to soften your butter, but it should take a couple of hours at room temperature to get it soft enough to cream easily. If you happen to forget to soften the butter, don’t worry, it is possible to soften in the microwave using the low power setting, but be very careful not to melt the butter.

     2. Stir in eggs and dry ingredients, mix thoroughly. (Mixture will be very thick.)

It is best to add the eggs and a little of the dry ingredients first and then scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  (Make sure you turn off the mixer so you don’t break the spatula or your fingers.) Once you have scraped down the sides, slowly add the remaining dry ingredients.

   3.   Add vanilla and apples, stir well.I personally like the texture of the cake with little bits of apples throughout the cake, but if you happen to have a peeler/ corer/ slicer, feel free to leave the apples in slices. The process of incorporating the apples into the batter will break the apples into smaller pieces. This is an occasion where using real vanilla is a good idea. If you have a high quality vanilla, you may want to lower the quantity slightly.

    4. Spread into a greased and floured 9” x 13” pan.

This is the part that keeps the cake from sticking to the pan when it is rising in the oven. The batter will approximately double in size while baking so it is not completely necessary to grease and flour all the way up the sides of the pan, but you do need to make sure it is at least half way up.  For a little textural variation, after coating the pan with butter, you can “dust” with sugar instead of flour. This will add a little sweetness a little more texture to your crust.

   5.  Sprinkle with topping mixture

The topping does not have to completely cover the cake. It is ok to have ridges in the cake that are not covered. While the amount of topping can be left up to personal preference, avoid adding too much cinnamon sugar. (Kim’s Kitchen note: OK, I know this guy is good and all, and has been doing this for 20 years. But can you really add too much cinnamon sugar?)

  6.  Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes.

The hardest part now is the waiting. Resist the urge to open the door to check on the cake; this will actually slow down the cooking process and it can lower the quality of your finished product. If you know that your oven heats unevenly, you can turn the cake after 30 minutes.

The finished cake needs to rest before you dig in.  Giving it about 20-30 minutes will get it to a temperature that does not scorch your taste buds and will allow you to enjoy the fresh out of the oven goodness that you have worked for.

If by chance there are leftovers, they should be covered, but not until the cake has cooled completely.

Thanks, Rob – and everyone out there – have fun with this one! 🙂

Have some berries in the freezer? Make this: Strawberry Lemonade Cake


So here it is. A vibrant, delicious, moist, rich, and unique cake. One that screams spring and summer like no other. One that screams strawberries like no other.

And one that disappears like no other. (Except perhaps, these.)

Here’s what I did:

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease your cake pans. I used two 8″ – but 9″ pans would work just as well.

Next, mix your dry ingredients – a white cake mix (18.25 ounces) and a box of strawberry gelatin (3 oz).

Next, mix your wet ingredients. Pull out that blender from the cupboard. (Come on and do it – you can always make those smoothies you’ve been wanting to do all summer while your cake’s in the oven anyway.) Add in your frozen strawberries – a 15 oz package or a pound of your own frozen ones from this years crop.

Then add 1/4 cup of water to your blender.

Then add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil to your blender.

Put 4 eggs in that cake mix/gelatin mixture. Yes, 4 of them!

Then, add in your strawberry puree mixture and mix it real good-like with your electric mixer.

Awww man – you’ll be smelling strawberries through your entire house at this point!

Next, you’ll wanna divide your batter between your two pans.

Let them bake for 20-25 minutes, or until that wooden toothpick (or fork, or knife, or whatever you use to test your cakes with) comes out crumb free.

And take deep breaths through your nose. I promise you won’t regret it.

Unless you hate strawberries. 🙂

Next you can frost away. I used my favorite Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe from here. Instead of adding vanilla extract to it though, I used lemon extract. That’s where my strawberry lemonade came from. You could also do what Paula Dean would probably do if she had time to think about it – you know if she weren’t so busy making other amazing cakes all the time….a “regular” lemon buttercream.

Either way – here’s what I got. And it turned out lovely.

As for explanation on those monogrammed initials – it was a baby shower cake. The Mother-to-be’s initials were going to “match” the new baby girl’s initials. (How sweet, right?!)

Ballerina Birthday Party – Step 2


If you haven’t been invited to the Ballerina party yet, go check out the invitations here.

Once you’ve seen those….welcome to the party! 🙂 I had so much fun with this one. A couple of things i’ve learned. Tulle and elastic are my friends; and 3 year old finger foods are a piece of cake to prepare. The only thing I cooked the day of the party was the Mac n Cheese – and even that was prepared the night before and just baked off in the oven. I love to cook, but when you can easily cook…why, that’s even better!

The Menu:

Gingerbread Strawberry Cream Cookie Tarts <—- I was inspired by this cute little recipe!

Make-your-own Cracker Sandwiches

Salted Coconut Oil Popcorn <—— Here’s the printables for the super cute little boxes!

Carrots with Homemade Ranch <— my little ballerina’s favorite “begetable snack”

Pink Marshmallow Lollipops (Thanks, Mom!)

Pigs in a Blanket – made by her super sweet 5 year old sister!

Red Apples with Strawberry Cream

Homemade Mac n Cheese <——- the birthday girl’s all time favorite meal ever.

Angelina Ballerina’s Pink Rose Cake

The Favors:

Yay for my Cricut! I made little Ballerina paper dolls for each little girl to take home. (Along with their own tutus they all got in their invitations. Each ballerina came with three different colored tutus. Little velcro circles (bought at Walmart!) made the outfits easy to take off and stick on – especially for the chubby little 2 and 3 year old fingers.

The Decorations:

The table cloths on all the tables was some discount pink fabric I got for $1.50/yard. The pink tulle was $.59/yard and the elastic was $.39/yard. What can I say? I’m cheap. 🙂 I sewed the pink tulle onto the elastic to fit around the bottom edge of the dining room table – which made a little “tutu tableskirt” – it was super cute. And super easy!

Each of the girls tables were small tables I pulled from our school room (and a friend’s house!). I used my grandmother’s china. And my starbucks glasses. 🙂 (At this point, those things are a tradition for every party at our house….)

And balloons. I love balloons. My girls love balloons. And again, they’re super cheap. BTW – interesting note. Did you know that Walmart will fill your balloons for a quarter a piece? If you buy them in their store – which they’re only $1 for a pack of 12. Head on back with your balloons to the bakery section and they’ll get you all set. (Just call ahead to check first!) I’m actually not a huge Walmart shopper. But I’ll go anywhere for helium balloons. 🙂

The Games:

Find Angelina’s Lucky Penny (in the sand box)

A Ballerina Class (with a (free!) library Ballerina DVD)

And just because this post doesn’t have enough photos yet…how about one of the birthday girl?!

Beginner Basics: The perfect creamy Mashed Potato – no butter needed.


Seriously. No butter needed.

And not because I’m trying to make a healthy recipe. It’s because you don’t need it. At all. Unless your conscience can’t take it. (Or your grandma.) Then, by all means, add the calories. But you really won’t have to.

The reason? Most people add butter for flavor and richness, to make up for the lack of creaminess. But you can get that on its own – without the butter.

Go ahead and forget everything you know about mashed potatoes.

The box of powdery dryness.

The “peel, then cut, the dump in boiling water.”

The “pour in milk, butter, and salt until you like how it tastes.”

No, this way, the best way, isn’t any more difficult. Just different. So hear me out, and give it a try next time, ok?

The Golden Pick

You have to pick the right kinda potatoes. This is the most important step. Yukon Golds are the #1 best (and only, in my opinion!) potato to use for this. You’ll see why a little later. But seriously, keep your eye out for these beauties. They are creamy and the flesh is slightly yellow. The taste is slightly sweeter than a “regular” baking potato or even small red ones.

A Cut Above

Second, (after you wash those potatoes of course), cut them into equal sized squares. In the culinary world, this is called a large dice. Just make it even. BTW, when you use these beautiful Yukon Golds, you don’t have to peel them if you’d rather save the time (and your forearms!). The skin is really thin compared to the regular baking potato.

Get in the tub before you turn on the water.

As in the potatoes should get in the pan first. Then add the water. Cold potatoes – Cold water. Simple as that. Your water should cover the top of the potatoes.

This is so the potatoes all cook evenly and heat up slowly with the water.

Add in a tsp or 2 or salt at this point.

Turn on the heat

At this point, I cook them on 8. As in high medium high. Keep them uncovered. If you don’t, you’ll have a volcano of starchy water all over your cooktop.

And while I’m on that point – add in a little bit of oil and your water won’t foam (and boil over) as much!

Boil, boil, toil and trouble.

Well, it’s not trouble (if you put that oil in your pot and resisted the urge to cover them.) But definitely boil. You should start to see some white coming to the top of the water. Don’t panic. That’s just the starch from the potatoes leeching into the water. The time you boil depends on a couple of things – how big your “large dice” is and how many pounds of potatoes you used to begin with. Just keep boiling and checking by trying to pick one of the hoppin’ potato squares up with a fork. If your fork goes through very easily, then you’re done cooking. For me, because I use a smaller “large dice”, this step usually takes around 10-15 minutes.

When they get out of the bath, don’t get the water on the floor!!

Well, I mean, who likes wet floors when you’re walking around in socks? My husband certainly doesn’t! Your potatoes don’t want anymore to do with water either. When you drain your potatoes in a colander, let them hang out in the colander and extra minute or two longer than you’d think. We want all the water gone. On that note, do this for your pasta too. You went through all this trouble already, don’t ruin your almost-perfect concoction by letting boring ol’ water hang out with your golden beauties. But another (often neglected) important step is to put those potatoes back into your hot pan. On top of the hot burner. For just a few minutes – usually about 2 or so. You’ll need to shake your pan around to keep the ones on the bottom from burning. This totally dries out the potatoes and ensures you have all the water out. And it is another step in ensuring you’ll have no lumps!

Sorry about the out-of-focus photo! I’m still learning my new lens!

Don’t you just love the detail on the side of my pot though?

Don’t make glue!

Potatoes have such a complex makeup of sugar and starch. So complex an entire biology lesson should be devoted to it. One thing, though, that will turn your potatoes into glue faster than you can run to your craft box and grab it yourself is dumping a bunch of cold milk or butter into these hot potatoes. Lumps of glue is what you’ll get. So, please, please, don’t dump cold stuff into your hot potatoes!

Grab some buttermilk and heat it up (with your butter if you’re using it.)

No buttermilk handy? That’s OK – use a whole milk – we get ours from a local dairy farm nearby – and add in a Tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar for each cup of milk you have so it curdles ever so slightly. Set it aside, before you heat it, for about 5 minutes and it’ll be ready.

Then heat it up. You want it hot – as hot as your potatoes.

But don’t put it in the potatoes yet!!

Mash ’em with a Masher

Here is where what I did will not correspond with what I’ll teach. Using a masher or a ricer is the best best best way for getting fluffy (not glue-y) potatoes. Because when you use a blender, or a mixer, or a food processor, the blade can go right through those starchy cells, break ’em apart, and make a nice paste-y, glue-y mess.

But I really wanted to use my KitchenAid. 🙂 So, I used the paddle attachment, set on 2 (hoping it wouldn’t be too violent), and mixed away.

The biggest key to this step is to mash your potatoes – no matter what method you use or what tool you have – before you add any liquid.

I’ll say it again – Do not add any liquid to your potatoes until you mash them as smooth as you want them. Dry. Just do it.

Buttery Golden Smooth Potatoes

Here’s where those Yukon Golds come into play really nicely. (As opposed to a different kind of potato.) When you add in the flavor of the extra salt in the boiling water with the creamy sweet flavor of the potatoes, this bowl of deliciousness will actually taste buttery. Ever so slightly. Go ahead, try it.

See? It’s like magic! And we still haven’t added any liquid.

Now that you’re itching to do it, give the babies some milk.

Now you can do it. Add in your hot buttermilk. (And butter if you must, to keep yer mama happy.)

I did say to make sure your milk was hot, didn’t I? BIG key.

Also, if you really like flavor, add in one block of cream cheese. Again, make sure it’s hot. This is optional (and not pictured), but it’s how I make ’em. And how I get compliments. So, if you like compliments, add it.

One More Time

Now is the final mix. It shouldn’t take long – your potatoes are already smooth. Which is important – the longer you mix and mash, the more starch you break down and the glue-y-er they get. You can taste (and taste and taste) at this point to see if you need to add a little more salt. You probably won’t need much though.


Now you’re done.

Whew! Seem like a big ordeal for simple mashed potatoes?

It’s worth it. Trust me.

And from start to finish, including peeling, the whole thing really only takes about 35 minutes. That’s half the time of the last Downton Abbey episode you watched.

I just wanna dive in.

Ingredients for 12 heaping servings

6 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 tablespoon oil added to cooking water to reduce foaming
12 ounces neufchatel or cream cheese
2 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, parsley flakes or dried chives, salt and pepper to taste