Pinned It, Did It: Olive Garden Breadsticks

Yep. I too fall victim to Pinterest inspiration, but this time it TOTALLY worked out!  I went to my local cooking club this month and made these hoping they’d turn out amazing, and to my immense relief surprise pleasure, they WERE as tasty as the Olive Garden breadsticks!  I found the original pin & recipe here, then made a few of my own tweaks for simplicity and food-storage-friendliness purposes.

[Yep, they’re all shelf stable/food storage friendly ingredients!]


  • 1 1/2 c warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast [1 package]
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted [powdered butter works GREAT]
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 3-4 1/4 c bread flour [I never measure, just go by the feel… explained below]
  • Butter topping: 1/2 stick butter, 2 tsp garlic powder


  1. Stand mixer w/ dough hook >> in this order, add: water, yeast, sugar, butter, salt
  2. Mix.
  3. With hook going, add flour by 1/2 cups until it forms a ball.
  4. Keep adding flour until it does not feel sticky anymore, and passes the window pane test.*
  5. Clean surface >> dump dough.  [Because you made sure it’s not sticky, you don’t need to flour the counter!]
  6. Form into ball.  Cut or pinch into 16 equal-sized [more or less] balls.
  7. Roll balls into breadsticks a little wider than two hand-widths.
  8. Lay onto greased baking sheet.  Let rest 30-45 min.  [Mine only puffed a little.]
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for 12 min. [They will probably not turn brown.]
  10. Spoon butter topping [melted] over hot breadsticks.
  11. Eat the breadsticks.

*Window pane test: grab a small ball of dough.  Roll into a ball, then flatten with your thumbs. Pull at it until you can see light through the dough – if it breaks, it needs more flour.  If you can see the light, it’s ready.  [See?  Like looking through a window… get it? Eh? Eh?]

Oh yeah. Totally nailed it.

Oh yeah. Totally nailed it.



Reader Recipe: Brian’s Miracle Guacamole

Introducing my very first Reader Recipe! *\o/*  I’m so excited! [Can you tell?]

My good friend Brian from Brian’s Portal has graciously agreed to share is famous guacamole recipe – lucky us!!

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the recipe, in his own words!

[it’s a miracle if there’s any left for your guests after you are done taste-testing it]

Brian's GuacIngredients:
● 6 avocados, pitted and skinned alive.
● 1 large tomato, gutted mercilessly (seeds and pulp removed) and hacked into itty bitty pieces for easy burial.
● The lifeless body of your favorite serrano chile pepper, chopped up with a hatchet or other large-bladed instrument.
● 1 clove of fresh garlic, not that powdery stuff from the condiments section. Mince it real good.
● Juice of half a lemon. Squeeze it until it’s skin turns yellow.
● Juice from a lime. Squeeze it until it’s skin turns green.
● Extra virgin olive oil. What would somewhat virgin olive oil be, I wonder?
● Salt. It’s good for preserving things……like bodies. Also good for repelling ghosts.
● ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning. Go ahead, get this one from your favorite spice rack at the grocery store.
● ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper. This stuff is lethal, so take it easy, ok?
● (OPTIONAL) Half of a golden onion, diced. If onions give you nightmares and make you cry, try substituting onion salt instead. ½ a teaspoon should do the trick.


  1. Place the pitted, skinned avocados in a large bowl and add some extra virgin olive oil to help you soften and mash them.
  2. Once you have mashed your avocado to a pulp, add the diced, gutted tomato, chopped Serrano chile pepper and diced garlic. I always add more garlic….for protection.
  3. If you are adding onion, this is the time you would mix it in. Onion salt is just easier.
  4. You want to go easy with the lemon juice. If you add too much, put a dash or two of salt in there to balance it back out.
  5. The lime juice I find is what really brings out the great guacamole flavor. By now you have already had at least 2 or 3 samples. Admit it! You know I’m right.
  6. If you haven’t already done so, add some salt. It just doesn’t taste right without some salt. Trust me…..or your dietician. It’s up to you.
  7. Add Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper to taste, which I know for me would be taste test number 28 by now.
    [Hey, I warned you not to half the recipe.]
  8. Mix all these in really well. Add a little more salt or lime if it needs it. I recommend letting it sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so, if you can manage to wait that long.
  9. Serve with tortilla chips.  Or just cut to the chase and use a spoon.


  • Recipe can be halved, but really, what kind of person only uses only half of a tomato? It’s just insulting.
  • Using a spoon is the most effective way of scooping the avocado out of it’s skin. If you are finding this process hard, that means that your avocados should have been left to sit for another day or two, you impatient person. Picking avocados that are nice and solid, and then letting them sit for 3 days is what I have found works best for me.

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce

Yesterday marks my first attempt at making homemade applesauce,* and it went WAY easier than I anticipated.  I didn’t even (really) use a recipe!



That’s it.


  1. Core the apples.
  2. Peel the apples.
  3. Quarter the apples.
  4. Eat random bits here and there.
  5. Dump all the apple pieces into a large heavy pot.
  6. Put two fingers of water in the bottom.
  7. Cover and boil for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Stir them up, when they fall completely apart they’re ready.
  9. Add some cinnamon and stir again.
    [Secret last step:  add a little sugar if the sauce is too bland.]
  10. EAT IT!!  Or can it.  Or freeze it.  Or give it away as gifts.

That’s it.

So easy right?  Right.  And here I thought I could never be *that* domestic!  The best part is that my kids knew what it was even before it was done, and they were positively clamoring to get their hands on it.  I kept having to say, “It’s too hot to eat, we have to wait for it to cool down.  It’s too hot…”  Boy were they happy when I finally let them at it!

What fall projects/recipes/traditions do you do with your family?  Especially ones involving cinnamon?  I’m foreseeing hot cider and pie experiments in my near future… MmMmMmMm.  ❤ Fall. ❤

*Note: It was also my first go at food photography… didn’t go half bad if I say so myself!  And I do.