black bean, avocado, cucumber & tomato salad*

What better way to celebrate summer than with yet another yummy summer salad! This is another one that is perfect for picnics, family reunions, or any other fun adventure you are planning outside. It does not have any mayo or other ingredients that can spoil if in the hot weather for a long time. However, your avocados may get browner faster, but I promise it will be slicked up long before they get to that point!

Black Bean, Avocado, Cucumber & Tomato Salad
from Gina's Skinny Taste


1 seedless cucumber, peeled and diced
2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
2 hass avocados, diced
15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp red onion, minced
2 tbsp cilantro, minced
2 limes, juice of
salt and fresh pepper

Combine all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Makes 5 cups.

Easy as that! Enjoy!


sweet potato casserole*

Never ever in all my life have I liked sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes with marshmallows or sweet potatoes in the form of fries - it didn't matter. There is nothing out there that I have tried that involved a sweet potato that I was even slightly a fan of. Until now. This sweet potato casserole is OUTSTANDING! Not even amazing. It is SO STINKIN GOOD! Even though I really only liked it as long as I had a bite with both sweet potatoes and the topping, this is still a huge breakthrough. Sarah calls these "crunchy potatoes" and has been devouring them for years. Jealous.

Sweet Potato Casserole
from Diana Rattray

cherry limeade cupcakes*

Last week we had a luau for the students, which also happened to be our first BBQ of the summer. No, I did not just get the memo that it has been summer for the last several months, but because of different restrictions from the health department it is really quite the process to be able to cook outside. However, we got a temporary event permit, so I decided that we needed to make it more than just a plain old BBQ - and what better way than to have a fun luau! We had decorations and leis and of course - some cherry limeade cupcakes topped with a little paper umbrella! LOVE IT.

I really liked the lime cupcake, but I must admit - the cherry frosting really didn't do it for me. It didn't have a very cherry distinct flavor, and I absolutely love cherries, so that was a huge disappointment. I even added extra juice from the maraschino cherries, but it still wasn't very cherry-y. But the cupcake - so good!!! My suggestion: add even more of the juice or possibly get some cherry flavor extract. (I have a confession, I didn't know if cherry flavor extract existed - so I just googled it. It does! Phew.)

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes
from Java Cupcake

classic mac & cheese*

I am always on the lookout for a good mac & cheese recipe. The students just love it and I must admit - I do, too! Confession:  LOVE Kraft macaroni and cheese. I think I could eat it every single day. However, I do not like Velveeta mac and cheese. Not a fan. The cheese is kind of waxy and..I don't know. Anyway, although I know homemade mac and cheese isn't all that healthy, I feel like if I make it myself - it is only like 100 calories for a 2 cup serving. A girl can dream - right?

I loved this recipe. However, the next time we make it we are going to make sure that the noodles are really really saucy, or else it kind of dries up in the oven. But I refuse to do without the breadcrumb topping, because let's get real - that is the best part!!

Classic Mac & Cheese
from Annie's Eats

chocolate waffle iron cookies*

I'm back!! To blogging anyway. I really didn't go anywhere, but I have been SO busy! I have two new employees that joined our little kitchen family and I am looking for a third! We have had a few openings over the last couple of weeks, and it made work pretty crazy there for a minute.  But we already have some pretty awesome new additions, Katie and Ashley, and we already love them both! Welcome to Heritage, girls!

So - remember when I was talking about possibly buying a new house here?? Well-BIG NEWS! We are MOVING! We found this cute house in Spanish Fork to buy so that we could rent it out, and decided we liked it so much that we are going to live there! We have already rented out our house and we are moving at the end of the month. I don't know where we will find the time to pack up and move and work almost everyday, but somehow, someway, we are going to make it happen!

I made these cookies the other day because all of the directors were having a LONG meeting and I knew we would need something to get us through. They were a hit! The meeting started at 9:30 a.m., and we decided that since they were made in a waffle iron that they are basically meant for breakfast, so everyone dug in.

I don't even remember the first time I had these cookies. My mom has been making them for years, and then I took over when I was old enough to make them myself. They kind of remind me of a brownie or piece of cake, because they are just so chewy and chocolaty. And they look so fun since they are made in a waffle iron! Your kids/family will LOVE them!

Chocolate Waffle Iron Cookies
from Unknown

cucumber & grilled tomato salad*

On my way to work this morning, I was thinking. This is a dangerous past time I have from time to time. I was thinking about what the most "summerish" thing I have done so far this summer. This is what I came up with. Awhile back I weeded the flower bed and painted one of our wooden fences. That's all I got. I have not once stepped into a swimsuit. I have not once laid out in my backyard. I have not once gone to St. George. And I have not once had a picnic in the park with my hubby and little puppy. It occurred to me that it is AUGUST and I need to get in some summer activities before it is freezing cold and snowing all over again!

I would love to serve this delicious salad at my picnic in the park with my hubby and little puppy. I am not a fan of tomatoes, but these grilled tomatoes in this salad are SO good! And I have learned that I actually like feta cheese. I am not very adventurous when it comes to cheeses, and feta has always reminded me of blue cheese - which is one cheese that will never grow on me. But I had feta cheese at the last cooking class I went to at the Blue Lemon. Chef Todd made a roasted red pepper & feta cheese bruschetta and it was AMAZING!  Feta cheese in this salad is equally as delicious!

asian bbq chicken*

I don't think that I need to go into my obsession with Chinese food. But let's just say - I am pretty sure I could live in a pool of teriyaki sauce. That would make me one happy chickadee. The only other thing that would make me happier about Chinese food is having better Chinese desserts. A fortune cookie. Really? Is that all you got? Don't get me wrong, they are pretty good, but seriously? Although, I will never forget when I was 15 I had a fortune cookie that said "your place in life is behind the wheel". I was pretty excited about that. Obviously, if I remember after almost 10 years later about this monumental revelation given to me by a piece of paper, it must have been big news. Those fortunes will get ya!

This chicken is great for Chinese lovers or even those who aren't big fans! Where it is just a marinade, the flavors aren't as strong, but they add just that little touch of amazingness. We made ours on the flat grill, but actually BBQ'd on a BBQ grill sounds incredible. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

cherry squares*

I had the craziest dream the other night. I saw on someones facebook that the Cheesecake Factory was having a 1/2 off cheesecake day for national cheesecake day or something or other (for real, not in the dream). If my hubby didn't have to work that day, I would have definitely fit in a trip to the Cheesecake Factory - no doubt. However, our schedules did not allow such an adventure.

Anyway, back to my dream. I dreamed that I was at the Cheesecake Factory with a bunch of people, in which I didn't know a single one, and they all ordered a piece of cheesecake of their choice. Then, when the waitress left, I realized I had forgotten to order a piece for myself! This is no lie, I literally woke up in a panic. The next day I told the hubs, and I think that is the day he realized that I really truly have a problem. He said he didn't realize my obsession with desserts went that far. Seriously though, don't mess with a girl when it comes to cheesecake - especially if it is half price!

We made these cherry squares awhile back for a dessert for the students. It tasted just like a sugar cookie with a cherry middle. I think it could have used a little bit more of a sugary taste, or maybe even some lemon juice and zest would be so yummy!

herbed spaghetti squash*

I have big news. I have successfully made Bisquick pancakes 2 times in a ROW! I don't know what my problem is, but for some reason I have the hardest time making pancakes. Even just from the mix. I am telling you right now, those directions are misleading. You need much more water than it states. I refuse to accept responsibility for my inability to add enough water to pancake mix ratio. Not my fault. This is no operator error. I plan on calling Bisquick myself tomorrow and telling them the REAL ingredient measurements. I will let you know how it goes.

We had this spaghetti squash for dinner tonight. The students were so excited when they thought it was pasta, then had a very confused look when they found out it was squash. But most of them took it! Great sign!!! This is the first time I have had spaghetti squash, and I LOVED it. I am a huge squash fan and find myself craving it from time to time. I can now add spaghetti squash to my list! I love the fresh herbs in this recipe and the butter brings out a nutty and salty deliciousness to the dish. Mmmmm...


Harmons. I was first introduced to Harmons awhile back in St. George. Landon and I decided to drop in and find something to take back to the house for dinner. My life has since changed forever. That store is incredible! First, you walk in and everyone is so nice and helpful. Then, you look over and there is a whole section of deli meats and cold salads and a bakery and a full salad bar and desserts and just pure amazing selection of all sorts of amazing things. Then, you turn around and there is a beautiful arrangement of big freezer aisles, that look so ordinary, but alas they are NOT ordinary! Like, seriously, I could LIVE in the ice cream section. If you have never been to a Harmons, or if you have never ventured to their ice cream section, you are seriously missing out. Sometimes I just find any reason I can think of to just drop in just to stroll through the ice cream aisle. Any flavor that you can think of (even frozen doggie treats) are in this godsend of an aisle. However, I have never bought any of the amazing selections of ice cream. Why? you ask. Usually when I go I am going for work, so therefore I don't want to store the ice cream in the work freezer because then I am 99% sure I will forget to take the amazing creamy delight home. I dream of a Harmons closer to my house. That would make my life. I am getting giddy just thinking of the possibility! As unlikely as this life changing possibility would be :(.

OH - I almost forgot!!! This past Sunday one of the girls homes offered to clean the cafeteria SPOTLESS and then brought us a big THANK YOU card with tons of nice thank you's on it,

2 balloons, and some freshly baked chocolate cupcakes with soft delicious chocolate frosting and the words "thank you" written on the cupcakes!!

It was the cutest! And the girls did such a great job cleaning the cafeteria until it shined! THANKS GIRLS!!!!

This panzanella is such a fresh salad and so perfect for these hot summer days. I even liked to eat the tomatoes in this salad! Which is big for me, because I am not a huge fan of tomatoes. But I think the reason why I love this salad is because of the fresh basil and the crunchy bread. I, of course, love a good crusty bread, but my all time favorite herb is basil! FRESH basil. amazing. If I had to choose one herb and one spice to have to make due with for the rest of my life it would be basil and cinnamon. I would be fine with just the two. I wonder if there is a recipe that combines the two?? Hey - it might taste ok :)