Andy’s Going Away Party

Taco Bar Spread

A couple of weeks ago, Brandon and I cooked for his dad’s going away party. He’ll be out of state for work for some time so we decided it would be nice to get his friends together and enjoy company while he was still in town. Being in the military is a difficult profession and I can’t imagine what our country would be without the help of so many men and women all over the world who sacrifice so much for our safety.

So for this event we had two chefs and one kitchen. Brandon and I have worked together in some kitchen during various times for the last 7 years professionally, at home, or at someone else’s home/event. You can currently visit Brandon at Blush Restaurant and/or Blind Tiger in Santa Barbara, where he is the Executive Chef.

Though most of my time is spent cooking for my family and teaching yoga, it’s nice to prepare a large meal for wonderful people. We decided to have a massive taco fiesta. Our first go with the barbeque ended up not too successful because the grill wasn’t in working order, so we went for the simple charcoal grill that I’m used to and I grilled the food while Brandon cooked inside. I think overall it was a great team effort. Safe travels, Andy!


Carne Asada

Grilled Chicken

Chopped Seasoned Pork

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Zucchini

Spanish Bay Shrimp

Mixed Vegetable Sofritas

Chorizo Bean Dip


Salsa with Green Chiles and Garlic

Tortillas and Toppings


Coconut Cream Pie with Bananas and Fresh Peaches

Coconut Cream Pie with Bananas and Fresh Peaches

Grilled Cinnamon Peaches and Pineapple

Grilled Cinnamon Peaches and Pineapple

Rocky Road Pudding Pie

Rocky Road Pudding Pie

Rocky Road Pudding Pie Recipe

Layered dark chocolate and white chocolate pudding in Oreo crust with marshmallows and chocolate dusted roasted almonds

1 Oreo Crust

½ cup cocoa dusted roasted almonds

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Place cold heavy whipping cream in a small bowl. Whip with a hand mixer till thick whipped cream forms, no powdered sugar necessary. About 3-5 minutes on medium speed.

1 small box Hersheys white chocolate pudding

1 ¾ cup whole milk

Make pudding according to the box directions for pie.

1 small box Hersheys dark chocolate pudding

1 ¾ cup whole milk

Make pudding according to the box directions for pie.

Pour 1/2 of the white chocolate pudding into the bottom of the Oreo crust. Top with ½ cup of marshmallows and pour ½ the dark chocolate pudding on top. Mix the remaining pudding together and fold in the whipped cream till smooth. Top pie with the mixture and smooth into a mound. Top with the remaining marshmallows and cocoa dusted almonds. Refrigerate for one hour or more.




Veggies, salsa and Guacamole Mexican Inspired Catering Taco Bar Ingredients Chicken, Sofritas and Shrimp for Tacos Carne Asada and Grilled Chopped Pork

Coconut Cream Pie

I haven’t written about anything sweet in a little while. I’m a pretty savory type of person, but I won’t say that I don’t have a couple of sweet teeth in my mouth; okay maybe more than a couple. My family really does love coconut cream pie. I’m not really the most savvy of bakers with crust and all that, but I can make something simple and with a little help from the grocery store, I’m sure others could make this easy as pie. So, I’m a big fan of Jello Pudding.  It’s probably the least expensive way to make pudding, because cream is expensive, eggs, and everything else. Not to say I don’t enjoy a lovely custard or homemade butterscotch pudding, but when you have yoga and homework and everything else life throws in your face, maybe a little box can give you peace of mind and no one will ever know! I’ve already shown you my Banana Vanilla Creme Wafer Pie  and Simple Whipped Cream Pistachio Pie so let’s add this easy Coconut Cream Pie to the mix. Try one out; even the less experienced pie putter- together-person can put this one together.

Coconut Cream Pie

1 large box of vanilla jello pudding

1 14 oz can coconut milk

2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1 ½ cups sweetened coconut flakes

1 graham cracker crust


In a pan, on low heat, toast 1/2 cup of the coconut flakes till lightly browned. Set aside and cool.

In a large bowl, place contents of pudding package. Place coconut milk inside pudding and mix together till incorporated. Fold in 1 cup of coconut flakes.

In another bowl, place cold heavy whipping cream and add powdered sugar, then mix with a hand blender till whipped cream becomes stiff, about 6-7 minutes depending on your mixer.

Add about ¼ cup of pudding to your whipped cream and fold in with a spatula.

Using the toasted coconut, place a small sprinkle of coconut on the bottom of the crust and layer the pudding in the bottom of the pie shell, about ½ way up, sprinkle some coconut between, then layer about ½ of the whipped cream, then the rest of the pudding.

Clarification – When using the toasted coconut use about 1/4 cup it in the pie and reserve  1/4 cup for the top of the pie as desired. This will not effect the taste just the look if you happen to use more or less in either place.

Finally, add the rest of the whipped cream and smooth out over the top, so the pie is a large mound. Press the remaining toasted coconut into the whipped cream, and refrigerate about 1 hour till set.






Banana Vanilla Creme Wafer Pie

I hope everyone’s having a marvelous weekend. I’m at my volunteer yoga studio gig trying to speed up time till I get in the car and am headed for Sin City. I haven’t been to Vegas in maybe 9 months or something like that but that city sparks something in me that can only be felt not said. More than anything the amount of culinary genius set in such a small strip of land of course delights my chef mind. I’ll probably sneak away to a fancy dinner on my own. My co partners in crime aren’t the foodie type.  But here i’d like to leave you with a sweet treat and the promise of so many culinary adventures upon my return. I have some really amazing content that I’ve just been so busy with visitors and my niece to be able to write about but I will soon. So here it is.

Banana Vanilla Creme Wafer Pie

I don’t like Banana, a taste so inherited from my dad who doesn’t like banana either. So why would I make this pie? Well I make it because my family adores it. My grandmother used to make this banana pudding from which this pie was so imagined. Its part of my family pudding pies such as the pistachio pie it wrote about here. This pie is a couple of simple ingredients and a lot of beautiful wow factor for a quick sweet treat to an elegant dinner party I’m pretty sure you can get away with this pie. I love pudding pies just for that reason. Simple and ready to go. Layers of waffer cookies, fresh slices of bananas, and vanilla pudding as well as whipped cream line a simple graham cracker crust thats sure to please the pallet of any banana lover. I hope you will enjoy this.

1 graham cracker crust either prepared or store bought
1 large box of vanilla pudding either instant or cook and serve (I think instant is much easier then you don’t have to wait for the pudding to cool and you don’t run the risk of getting a lot of lumps)
2 3/4 cups of milk
5-6 ripe bananas
about 1 cup of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
1 box of vanilla wafers

Prepare pudding by mixing 2 3/4 cups of milk with pudding mix if using cook and serve like pictured here whisk over medium heat continuously till the pudding comes to a boil take off of flame and mix for two minutes then transfer into a bowl whisk to get excess heat out of the pudding then line with plastic and place in the fridge for about 1 or 2 hours till cool


Cook n Serve kind

If using instant pudding just mix the milk in until its completely incorporated and chill

Mean while Add heavy cream and powdered sugar using a hand blender or a mixer till the cream becomes whipped and stiff about 6-7 minutes depending. Make sure your cream has not been sitting out or it will not mix up also that there is no water in the bowl your mixed your creme in as this too will fail your creamy whipped topping

After the pudding has chilled  place 1/4 of the pudding in to the whipped cream you just made fold in with a spatula and set in the fridge

with the other 3/4 of the pudding place about 1 1/2 bananas sliced into the pudding and mix in preserving the banana by mashing only gently. There will still be large chunks of banana in the pudding mixture

Line the bottom of the graham cracker curst with sliced bananas all the way around

then line with vanilla wafers up the side along the crust

add 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the top and smooth out

Repeat this process using bananas in a flat layer and then the cookies in a flat layer then cover with the rest of the pudding mixture

Smooth out the pudding over the top of the pie

Finally remove the whipped cream from the fridge place the whipped cream and pudding on the pie to form a mound and smooth over. If your whipped cream looks too runny you will risk a big runny mess of a pie so make sure its whipped enough to stay in place.

Lastly gently press cookies and bananas on final top layer alternating and you’ve got your pie refrigerate for and hour and serve

You can also make little individual pies as well.

I hope you love this pie as much as my family does. This pie is best eaten quickly so the cookies don’t get too soggy.

Cheers- Kimberly