Monday, May 25, 2015

Matt's Turkish Meatball Hamburgers

Memorial Day: BBQs, swimming pools, FINALLY some sunny weather. Memorial Day in Seattle is the official, “Summer is just around the corner” kick off. Most people in other places would say it is actually the kick off of summer. But here, that doesn’t actually happen until after 4th of July.

So I hopped on a flight for the long weekend. I decided to chase some sunshine find where the real summer lives. Enter in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of my very best friends lives here with her finance. Not only had I NOT met her guy, I had also NOT seen her in over a year. Knowing us, that was far too long.

We danced, we adventured through cactus gardens, and we ate the best Mexican food (in the states) you can ever find. I sat in the pool; I got a tan – a much-needed getaway after some stressful months at work for me.

But like I said, I was also on a mission. I had not met Sammie’s man yet! Though she’s already locked him down for life, I still needed to approve of him... you know how it goes.  There was only one way to find out if this man is worthy of my friend’s heart. We had to DANCE! They took me out to all their local haunts. Believe it or not, Scottsdale has a cool nightlife scene. I had no idea! And on top of that, these folks have high expectations! Sammie says that bars and restaurants will close just as soon as they open. My favorite part? Taking a golf cart cab home. Trust me, these aren't your grandma's golf carts.

Well, long story short Matt didn’t dance. But, he did spend the whole night talking about how much he loves my girl. Yup, I was sold!  So I thought to myself, “okay Sammie, but can this man cook??”

I won’t keep you in suspense…He can.

The day after dancing, we took it easy by the pool. Walked the dogs. Matt watched historic shows on TV.  And then we all made dinner together. I made a pasta salad that I’ll share with you all on a different day. Sammie made brownies. And Matt made hamburgers using his Dad’s Turkish meatball recipe.


Matt’s dad is from Turkey and I guess makes really good meatballs. Simple and straightforward, they thought, “Well we can grill these, right?”  Oh yes you can!

I’m carefully writing this as I sit at the airport and dreaming of the next time I can try these burgers out. So from Matt’s backyard (with a pool!) to your kitchen here are:

 Matt’s Turkish Meatball Burgers.


  • 2 cups ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced finely
  • 1 jalapeno, diced finely
  • 1-cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

  •  Mince the garlic and dice the onion and jalapeno. Make sure everything is very small.
  • Combine all ingredients and begin to form the hamburger patties. Here’s a good tutorial on how best to do that:
  • Let the patties rest in the fridge for 30 minutes (at least!). These are prone to fall apart on the grill, so you want them to be set.
  • Fire up the grill and cook until there’s pink, some pink, or no pink in the middle. (To be safe, always cook ground beef to where there’s no pink)
  • Grab your favorite veggies, buns, and condiments, and enjoy!

Happy Memorial Day! Eat well, be well! And subscribe below to never miss a beat.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bluberry Butter Cake for Mom

This last Sunday we celebrated Mother’s Day. And while I honored my own mom, I also celebrated the many other women in my life who have encouraged me, passed down their wisdom, and are constant reminders of love in my life. These ladies, in addition to my mom, are my grandma, and my sisters.

Between my two sisters, I have 5 nieces and nephews. Their friendship growing up was invaluable, but I have to say that this new phase in our lives is most fitting. The kids bring us all a renewed sense of purpose in day-to-day life and a deepened sense of love between us. My sisters are beautiful mothers, and I feel so grateful that I get to learn from them and their children.

Then there is my mom and my grandma! It’s been a whirlwind of a year, and to be honest I would have fallen apart without them. We lost my grandpa, my parents moved, and many more changes erupted on our path. But these two have so much love and respect for one another, that our entire family continues to follow suit. They are the roots of our foundation.

They drive me to follow my dreams. They believe in me! They taught me how to cook and they showed me how a daily meal together creates a strong family. Though I live on my own now, that sense of responsibility to my body and to the people I share my life with is something I carry with me every day.  That’s what this blog is all about! Wholesome meals, adventurous cooking, and love!

I gained my love of cookbooks from my grandma. "Cooking is a science," she always says. And there is something always to learn. She reads her cookbooks cover to cover the second she gets them, and she doesn't cook anything from a book until she has read the whole thing. I have always admired that about her.

So I too have begun my own collection of cookbooks, reading them carefully, and stewing on each recipe until one speaks to me. Today’s recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen. I didn’t know about Deb Perelman until I picked up her book two years ago in an Anthropologie store. She has now become my biggest role model in the blogosphere! Her recipes are upfront and extraordinary! Her photography is always on point, classic, and simple. Ethan couldn't believe me when I told him that this was the first recipe I had made from her book.

And today, I share with you her recipe for Blueberry Butter Cake – with some Karen alterations of course! I made it for Mother’s Day this year, and it was a hit! Just because you are following a recipe, doesn't mean you shouldn’t add in some of the flavors that excite you. Make every meal your own, and you share your love with others.

Bluberry Butter Cake

Adapted from Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen


For the cake:
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature 
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom 
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Lemon zest of an entire lemon
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (greek yogurt would work well, too!)
  • 2.5 cups fresh blueberries (don't use frozen)
For the yummy topping:
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1.5 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cardamom + nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Line 8X8 inch pan with parchment, spray the sides (I used coconut oil spray!)
  3. Sift or whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, spices and salt in medium bowl
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy!
  5. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time
  6. Add the vanilla + lemon zest
  7. Then, adding in 1/3 at a time, blend in the dry ingredients to the large bowl
  8. During your final 1/3, add the blueberries to the medium bowl and toss them in the dry ingredients. Then fold it all into the large bowl. 
  9.  But that batter into the pan and get ready for the yummy topping!
  10. Using the original medium bowl (nice tip Deb!) combine all the dry ingredients for the topping
  11. Mash in the butter with a fork or your fingers. I used both. Then scatter it on top of the batter
  12. Bake for 40 minutes and then check it. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack.
  13. And then eat it warm. Also eat it cold. Just have it all the time. Especially for breakfast.

That's all for this week! Eat well! Be well! And subscribe below by email to never miss a beat.