Cooking with Jess

It’s been awhile since my friend Jess and I have gotten together to cook. Jess and her husband, Greg, are getting ready to move into a new house and they are currently in the process of emptying out their kitchen. It just so happened that Jess had a frozen turkey in her freezer that she hasn’t had the chance to make, so she invited us over for sort of a spring-focused thanksgiving.

On the menu was turkey (of course), carrot soup, oven-roasted asparagus, sauteed sweet potatoes, rosemary and olive oil bread, chocolate stout cake, and a fresh strawberry tart. It was all very delicious, but my favorite dish was the carrot soup. Jess found it in a spring Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine and it was surprisingly scrumptious and easy to make. With minimal ingredients, the soup is a perfect meal for spring. And it makes super leftovers. The recipe is below.

Thanks to Jessica for another great meal.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Fresh Cream of Carrot Soup
Yield: 6-8 side servings
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • Salt and ground pepper


  1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 8 minutes).
  2. Add flour and cook, stirring for about a minute.
  3. Add broth and 1 cup water and bring to a boil over high, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add carrots and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until carrots are very tender.
  5. Using an immersion blender, puree until the soup is a uniform and smooth texture. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup to a blender in smaller batches and blend until smooth.
  6. Add milk or cream and heat over medium until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.

Source: Barely adapted from Martha Stewart

Cooking with Jess: October

I’ve been a bit off this week after being sick for a few days. Nothing sounds too appetizing to me right now, but I wanted to share the meal Jess and I made for October. It included:

We had a great time cooking together (as always) and I am looking forward to our next time in the kitchen.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I apologize for the short post- I am hoping to be back to myself next week 🙂

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Printable Version

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 (4-pound) boneless pork loin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 fresh cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary


Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Place the pork loin on a rack in a roasting pan. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. With your fingers, rub the mixture onto the pork loin, covering all of the meat and fat.

Roast the pork for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 425 degrees F and roast for an additional hour. Test for doneness using an instant-read thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F, remove the roast from the oven. Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes before carving. It will continue to cook while it rests.

Source: Paula Deen

Cooking with Jess: September

When I started Lolly’s Sweet Treats in July, I had the intention of doing a special Cooking with Jess feature every month where my friend Jess and I and cook new food together. Unfortunately, August was insanely busy for the both of us so Jess and I had to skip a month. Now that school’s over and we both have jobs, we started it back up. This time I went over to Jess’s apartment. She planned the menu this month and it included: Flat Iron steak with avocado butter, a vegetable pancake topped with mixed greens and goat cheese, tossed salad, garlic herb challah, and sour cream apple pie. It was a delicious meal. Unfortunately, I forgot my digital camera and had to use Robert’s older one he has for work, so the pictures are a little fuzzier.

My first time cooking with beets- Jess showing me the ropes

Cutting the vegetable pancake!

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Printable Version

Yield: 8-10 slices


  • 1 recipe of your favorite pie crust
  • 1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 6 medium Golden Delicious apples (peeled, cored, and thinly slices)
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the dough to a 12 inch round. Ease into a 9 inch pie plate. Trim and crimp edges. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile whisk together the sour cream, egg, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add apple slices to the sour cream mixture and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the pie shell and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes more.

Melt the butter. Stir together the flour, both sugars, pecans, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the melted butter until crumbly. Carefully sprinkle the mixture on top of the baked pie and bake until apples are tender, about 20 minutes longer. Allow to cool completely. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Source: Unknown

A Wedding Shower

This past Friday two of my girlfriends (Chelsea and Jess R) and I threw a shower for Jess N, who is getting married this October. The event was held at my house and it was a nice, small affair with 8 guests. We decided on a black and white theme and had simple decorations with black and white tissue poms, a lovely flower bouquet arranged by Jess R, and subtle touches of purple and green incorporated as well since those are Jess N’s wedding colors.

The menu was made up of tasty finger foods and included:

  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Greek pinwheels
  • Ham and cheese sliders with a mustard butter sauce
  • Trail bologna and swiss sliders
  • Berry Brie dip with homemade pita chips
  • Stuffed cherry tomatoes
  • Basil boats
  • Spiced nuts
  • Chocolate-dipped strawberries
  • Rice Krispie treats
  • Mini chocolate cake trifles with raspberry cream and chocolate ganache
  • Palmiers
  • Stone fruit sangria

Everything was very good, but if I must choose my favorites for the night, my top three would be: the delicious mini chocolate cake trifles (made and assembled beautifully by Jess), the stone fruit sangria (made by Chelsea-quite possibly my new favorite cocktail), and the hot ham and cheese sliders (a recipe from Annie’s Eats). I had originally planned to make purple blackberry macaroons for dessert as well, but there was a heat index of 110 degrees and what seemed like 99% humidity on the day of the shower. I tried and tried (for about an hour), but I just couldn’t get the egg whites to form anything more than a very soft peak. So, sadly, I had to scratch the macaroons- maybe I’ll get to make them some other time. 😦

It was a lot of fun planning this party with Jess and Chels. They are really wonderful girls and we made a great team. Most importantly, the bride-to-be, Jess N,  had a lot of fun. All in all, it was a very successful event 🙂

Jess R’s Trifles- YUM! These are her mini glass cups as well- aren’t they pretty?

Chocolate-dipped strawberries and Rice Krispie Treats

Jess’s Baked Berry Brie Dip, served with baked pita chips. This was very addicting!

Stuffed cherry tomatoes and basil boats. Both delicious, light and seasonal snacks.

Homemade macaroni and cheese

Chels and her fabulous stone fruit sangria

The bride-to-be and her special trifle with extra chocolate ganache. 🙂

Jess R, Chelsea, and me before the shower. I don’t normally feel short, but I did in this picture!

Cooking with Jess

While I was creating this blog, I was thinking of ways I could “sass it up” and incorporate more of my wonderful friends and family into it. One of my very close friends, Jessica, is an excellent baker and cook. She is a superstar with fondant icing and she was notorious for bringing my PT classmates and me a variety of treats while we sat through hours of class in rooms without windows. We love to talk food (and exercise too 😉 ). So after speaking together, we came up with the idea of doing a special event where we cook together and try new recipes. I like to call it “Cooking with Jess.”

This past Sunday afternoon, we got together at my house  and made a menu of: panko-crusted perch, corn chowder, wilted lettuce, artisan bread, and creme brulee. It was a lot of fun. One of the things I love most about cooking with others is that I learn different ways and methods of preparing food. Jess helped her mom cater events as she was growing up, so she has a lot of good tricks up her sleeve.

Stay tuned for the pictures and recipes from our afternoon together!

Photo from: My dear friend Chelsea