Crockpot Refried Beans

Crockpot Refried Beans

Cinco de Mayo is coming up and who could resist a day to make fabulous Mexican food at home!? Canned refried beans have nothing on fresh refried beans, and there is seriously no comparison. With this recipe you will have a delicious side of refried beans with hardly any work!

Check out some of my other fabulous Mexican inspired meals that will be perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebrations!

1. Beer Batter Fish Tacos with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

Beer Batter Fish Tacos

2. Homemade Carne Asada Tacos

Homemade Carne Asada Tacos


3. Mexican Street Corn

Mexican Street Corn


4. Chipotle Chicken Tostadas (Chicken Tinga) 

Chipotle Chicken Tostadas


5. Creamy Avocado Cilantro Dressing

Creamy Avocado Cilantro Dressing

6. Mango Papaya Margaritas

Mango Papaya Margaritas


Crockpot Refried Beans


  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Chicken or vegetable bouillon cube
  • 9 cups water


  1. Rinse pinto beans and remove any that are cracked or broken.
  2. Place beans, jalapeño, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and bouillon cube in crockpot.
  3. Cover all ingredients with water.
  4. Cook on high for about 8 hours.
  5. Strain beans, but reserve the liquid.
  6. Mash beans with potato masher and add 1 cup at a time of reserve liquid until they are smooth but not runny (like mashed potatoes).

Apple Rhubarb Berry Pie

This post is sponsored on behalf of the USApple Association.

apple berry rhubarb tart

Spring is in full bloom right now, with beautiful apple blossoms coating the trees. It is nature’s simple beauties such as these that make our spring afternoon walks breathtaking.

apple blossoms

The produce section at the stores seem to be sharing my happiness. With fabulous sales, we have been thoroughly enjoying homemade pies, fruit salads, and lots and lots of fresh apples! There is no short supply of berries and apple in our home!

apple rhubarb berry pie 2

I love adding apples to my pies because it allows me to reduce the sugar. Not to mention they are packed with antioxidants, great for immunity health, and full of fiber! The apple also adds a natural pectin, which helps the filling of the pie hold up while cutting. I love using apples (and their natural pectin) in my jams and jellies over store bought pectin. Here is a wonderful Apple Cranberry Jam that I made during the holidays. Feel free to substitute the cranberries with any other berries. Rhubarb apple jam would be fabulous too!

lattice pie

This pie has a wonderful selection of all of spring’s best produce! Blackberries, raspberries, rhubarb and of course apples. With a lattice top, it is quite the showstopper too. With Mother’s Day coming up, I think this pie would be the perfect dessert (or in my case, breakfast!). For more wonderful apple recipes, please follow the USApple Recipe Blog!

Pie Slice

Apple Rhubarb Berry Pie


    Pie Crust
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, very cold, cut into small cubes
  • 3/4 cup ice cold water
  • Pie Filling
  • 1 large apple
  • 2 stalks rhubarb, sliced
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Add your cubed butter and cut it into the dough using a pastry cutter.
  3. Once the butter and flour have come together forming little pea size clumps, mix in the water.
  4. Gently mix the water into the dough with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  5. When everything is wet, gently knead dough with your hands until it all comes together and there is no flour at the bottom of the bowl. But remember, you want to keep those specks of butter in the dough…so don’t knead them out!
  6. Separate the dough into two pieces and wrap in plastic wrapping.
  7. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour before using, or freeze up to 1 month.
  8. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a regular pie dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  9. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough round to fit in pie plate.
  10. Place washed and diced fruit and berries in a bowl. Fold in sugar and cornstarch.
  11. Pour filling over the lower crust.
  12. Cover the filling with the lattice top or regular pie crust.
  13. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle sugar on top.
  14. Place pie on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
  15. Serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.







German Idaho® Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

I don’t know about you, but I am in full on summer mode. My barbecue has become my new best friend. It is a lot easier to quickly grill a burger or hot dog for lunch or dinner, than it is to prepare a meal and mess up my kitchen!

warm german potato salad

German Potato Salad is different because it does not contain mayonnaise. While I love a good traditional mayonnaise based potato salad, I prefer this! The sweet, smoky, tangy concoction has so much flavor and is very much a crowd pleaser. This potato salad only gets better with time too, which makes it a great make ahead side for weekend barbecues.

bacon german potato salad

Idaho® Potatoes have become my new favorite potato to cook with! The mountain fed irrigation combined with Idaho’s rich volcanic soil results in uniquely textured and wonderfully flavored tater. My Connoisseur de Patates of a Swiss husband throughly agrees! Check out the Idaho Potato Commission for more delectable recipes!

Bacon overload German Potato Salad!

German Potato Salad


  • 3 cups cooked diced and peeled Idaho® Potatoes
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives


  1. In a large pot boil peeled potatoes until cooked.
  2. Remove from hot water and bring to room temperature.
  3. While potatoes are cooling, cook bacon.
  4. Once bacon is crisp, remove from pan and reserve about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease.
  5. Chop bacon into small pieces then set aside.
  6. In the hot bacon grease, cook diced onion and garlic until translucent, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  7. In a large bowl, combine mustard, water, vinegar, and sugar. Mix until sugar has dissolved.
  8. Once dissolved, add salt, black pepper, cooked onion and garlic, and herbs. Mix to combine.
  9. Chop coarsely dice potatoes.
  10. Add potatoes to dressing and sprinkle with bacon. Toss to coat.
  11. Make up to a day ahead of time for ultimate flavor.

Cafe de Paris Butter

Cafe de Paris on top of steaks

It has been 8 years since we moved back from Switzerland. My husband rarely asks for “Swiss Style” meals, but when he does, I am happy to oblige. When trying to come up with a Plugrá Butter themed dinner party my husband suggested Cafe de Paris. It was the perfect topping for the steaks we planned on making.

Here’s a little back story on Cafe de Paris. In 1930, Mr. Boubier, owner of the ‘Restaurant du Coq d’Or’ in Geneva , invented an original butter- based sauce with the help of his daughter. The sauce included a mix of spices, herbs and other ingredients, which he served with Entrecôte steak to the delight of his customers. 

Cafe de Paris compoud butter

Although there have been many imitations of the concept, no one has been able to re-create the sauce exactly that Mr Boubier invented in Geneva in 1930. Since then, the recipe for this sauce has been a closely guarded secret. It was handed down from generation to generation and the owner of Entrecôte Café de Paris in Geneva, Mr. Vouillamoz, has been the current guardian of the recipe since 1989.  

Traditionally this butter “sauce” is served on beef or pork. However, many Swiss use it as a regular condiment for everyday items including potatoes. We always had a little jar in the fridge. Since we can’t find it here, this was the perfect opportunity to make it at home. Although delicious, I didn’t want to just fry the steaks in butter. I wanted something that would showcase the creaminess of Plugrá European butter. This Cafe de Paris did just that. When placed on top of steamy hot steaks it melted, creating a glorious sauce with complex flavors.

Cafe de Paris and steak

The next time you plan on cooking some steaks or pork, make this compound butter beforehand. You will love it!

When a slice of this compound butter is placed on a sizzling steak, it melts to create a glorious sauce!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped finely
  • 2 teaspoons Indian style curry powder
  • 3/4 cups unsalted Plugrá butter, softened
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • ½ teaspoon baby capers, rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon thyme sprigs, leaves only
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 egg yolk

In a small frying pan, heat oil on medium high heat.

Add shallot and garlic, and cook until shallots are translucent, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.

Using a food processor, add all the ingredients and spices including the cooked shallots and garlic.

Pulse until everything has been incorporated.

Roll a log of compound butter by placing the mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap and rolling it.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Can be made up to a week ahead of time.




Lemon Mousse Cake

lemon mousse cake

A few weeks ago I invited some friends to come over and celebrate the 3 things I love most, spring, food, and of course butter. As some of you may know, this is the second year that I am a brand ambassador for Plugrá European Style Butter. Even before becoming part of their Butter Brigade, it was my butter of choice. With the vast amount of time I spend in the kitchen, I want my edibles to be mouthwateringly delicious. A huge component of that is good quality ingredients! Plugrá Butter uses a slow-churned process that creates less moisture content and a creamier texture when compared to average table butters.This secret becomes yours for flakier pastries, unbelievably creamy sauces, rich enviable risottos, sizzling sautés, and extraordinary flavored butters.

lemon mousse cake slice

Apart of my ambassadorship is to host a dinner party and create a menu that showcases the creamy butter. Last year, I hosted a party and used a chef inspired menu from the Plugrá Butter website. This year however I had a wonderful time creating my own butter filled menu!

table setting

I could not have been more lucky as far as weather. It was the first day of spring and absolutely beautiful out. I set my table with pretty pink linens and vintage Italian glasses. This dinner party finally gave me an excuse to buy the gorgeous gold flat wear that I had been eyeing on Ebay for the last year!  Living in Southern California and close to the water, I felt that it was my civic duty to have a surf and turf type meal but I wanted to do it with a french flair.

table setting spring inspired

The appetizers consisted of fresh baked bread and a compound orange butter along with charcuterie and an array of french cheeses. The next course was a butter lettuce salad with large scallops fried in brown butter. The main course was a grilled ribeye steak garnished with a slab of Cafe de Paris. Cafe de Paris is a compound butter that has such a depth of flavor that it deserves its own post just to explain (coming tomorrow). I served the steaks with mashed potatoes and asparagus with a hollandaise sauce.

lemon mousse cake 2

We ended the meal with this Lemon Mousse cake. Considering everyone cleaned their plates and left with a very full stomach, I will say that it was a success! I get so much joy from enjoying good food and wine with good friends!

dinner party friends


Lemon Mousse Cake

This lemon mousse cake is light and bursting with flavor. Serve it at your next brunch or party. It will be a sure hit!

  • Lemon Cake
  • 1 cup Plugrá butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • Lemon Mousse
  • 8 eggs
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Juice and zest of 4 lemons
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped Cream Topping
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar

!Lemon Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease 3 6- inch or 2 8-inch round pans.

Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and soda and mix.

In your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend butter, sugar and vanilla lemon juice and lemon peel at medium speed until pale and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition.

Reduce speed to low and add a cup of flour followed by 1/3 of the buttermilk.

Repeat this 3 times, until you have incorporated all the flour and buttermilk.

Pour into pans evenly and bake about 20 minutes or until a knife is inserted and when remove is clean.

Cool completely.

!Lemon Mousse

In a heavy bottomed pot, add 4 eggs and 4 egg yolks. Reserve the egg whites for later.

Stir in sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until combined.

Cook on medium heat until curd has thickened and coats the back of your spoon, stirring continually (about 10 minutes).

Remove from heat and carefully place in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or until cold.

Once curd is cold, beat egg whites in a clean dry bowl until stiff peaks form.

Fold in cold curd into egg whites, carefully.

Once again in a clean, dry bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Fold in curd/egg white mixture.

When cake is fully cooled, layer it with lemon mousse.

*I used a 4 inch thick acetate strip to wrap around the cake and removed it before serving.

Whip remaining heaving whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.

Frost the top of the cake with whipped cream and fresh berries.

*You can also just use an extra layer of mousse to top the cake instead of whipping cream.


Rhubarb Ginger Cocktail

Rhubarb Ginger Cocaktail

Are you the type of person that meal plans and takes a very specific list to the grocery store or farmer’s market? Or are you the type that just strolls the isles looking for inspiration? I am the latter…usually. I love going to the farmer’s market and bringing dishes together with the fresh purchase.

rhubarb ginger simple syrup

This cocktail is a result of my trip to Specialty Produce. In my Lime Coconut Sandwich Cookie post I talked about my love for this place and the amazing produce they carry. I absolutely love rhubarb and may have bought a bit too much, and since I hate things going to waste, I made cocktails! I also made quite a few other things, so get ready for rhubarb overload!

spring cocktails

The Rhubarb Ginger simple syrup in this cocktail is sweet and slightly bitter-just like rhubarb, and has a slight ginger aftertaste. I paired it with gin, a splash of ginger ale, a sprig of mint and of corse a lime wedge. It is light and refreshing and goes does very smoothly. This would also make a wonderful nonalcoholic drink.  Its official name is the Ginger-Rhu- in case anyone asks 😉

spring simple syrup

If you’re not into ginger, this rhubarb simple syrup would also be wonderful with the addition of vanilla bean. Also, if gin isn’t your thing, we tried it with bourbon too and it was just as wonderful!


Make these for your next brunch or afternoon hangout. You will not be disappointed!

Rhubarb Ginger Cocktails

With Rhubarb season upon us, this cocktail will be your new favorite drink! It is light and refreshing and the perfect afternoon drink!

  • 5 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1and 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • Gin
  • Ginger ale
  • Ice
  • Mint leaves
  • Lime wedges

In a small pot, bring rhubarb, ginger, sugar, and water to a boil.

Reduce heat and keep contents to a simmer until fruit has softened and started to break down, about 20 minutes.

Using a fine mesh strainer, carefully strain rhubarb mixture into a bowl.

Pour into a bottle or jar and refrigerate until cold (up to 2 weeks).

To make cocktails I add about 2 tablespoons simple syrup to 1 shot of gin, then top it off with ice, ginger ale, mint sprig and a lime wedge.

This recipe will make 6-8 cocktails.



Fool Yourself Full- The Pistachio Principle


Being a food blogger, there is a lot of food around constantly. This year I became a lot more mindful of my eating habits. I used to be the type of person that would drink coffee until noon, then realized I was famished and eat the first thing that was in sight, generally something sweet. With my new eating habits, I eat a complete breakfast in the morning, a healthy and energizing snack mid morning, a small salad for lunch, and finally dinner. This new method has significantly reduced my famished cravings. Continue reading