live & laugh: mojo’s chicken fried steak

Chicken Fried Steak

With only a couple of classes left, it was recently Morgan’s turn to take over cooking school and make a delicious meal for the rest of the class!

Morgan (or as some of us lovingly like to call her, Mojo) took a little while to decide on what exactly she wanted to make. Every time I would talk to her about it, the only thing she consistently knew was that she wanted it to involve a lot of butter and she wanted a comforting, not-so-healthy-for-you type of meal. She eventually landed on a southern-inspired dinner that included: this easy chicken fried steak recipe, some random corn casserole recipe that was copied from a newspaper like 20 years ago (I found this similar recipe), and some yummy roasted brussels sprouts with shallots.

Everything was fairly easy to make, the only issue we ran into was the smoke that was created from pan-frying the chicken fried steaks!! So much so, that we got the smoke detectors to go off — nonstop. Eventually Jose came to the rescue, being taller than the rest of us, and was able to hold a fan to clear out all the smoke — whew! So, yea, just be careful if you try to make the chicken fried steaks!

Mojo Cooking School

The meal was absolutely delicious!

Mojo certainly met her goals of making a meal that was pretty much, in no way, healthy and of using a fair amount of butter — that gravy for the chicken fried steak was so rich and tasty! Also, that corn casserole is no joke. It’s similar to a corn bread, but in a much creamier and richer way, everyone loved that component of the dish the most.

Great job Morgan, thanks so much for the southern-inspired dishes!!

Thanks Morgan!

kia’s kitchen: banana carob chip muffins

Banana Carob Chip Muffins

I have been experiencing an overwhelming, nonstop craving for chocolate over the last couple of months…

Few days go by where I don’t enjoy something chocolate — a chocolate chip cookie, a chocolate covered pretzel, etc (today I indulged in a “healthier” treat with a black bean brownie). So, when I was deciding on what treat I wanted to make for Kia recently, chocolate would not get off my brain. Unfortunately for our furry little friends, chocolate is not something in this world they have the pleasure of safely enjoying, sigh.

While standing in the baking aisle at the store staring at all the chocolate chips I could not use for Kia’s special homemade treat, I noticed a bag of carob chips — a great alternative for chocolate (for both dogs and vegans alike). Excited with my find, I quickly grabbed a fairly ripe banana and hurried home to make Kia these delicious banana carob chip muffins!

Banana Carob Chip Muffins Prep

The muffins came out a beautiful golden brown with the carob chips melted ever so slightly, playing perfectly into the chocolate-esque-feel I was going for with these treats.

They looked so delicious that I had to try one (duh) and they were pretty good!! They had a little bit more of a savory flavor since the dog treats never really contain much, if any, sugar, BUT the mashed banana and carob chips added that bit of sweetness that made the muffins enjoyable overall. As usual, Kia LOVED them! We went through a couple during our little photo session with the freshly baked muffins, but I stored the leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for the rest of the week, which kept Kia very happy anytime she noticed me pull them out of the fridge!

If you have a smaller dog, you may consider making them in a mini-muffin pan rather than the standard size I used in my recipe.

While nothing can ever really replace the deliciousness that is pure chocolate, carob chips make a great alternative for anyone looking for a substitute. Swap them in your next recipe that calls for chocolate chips to give them a whirl!

Banana Carob Chip Muffins
Banana Carob Chip Muffin
Banana Carob Chip Muffin Kia's Banana Carob Chip Muffins

1st anniversary & giveaway


It’s officially been 1-year since I started writing Live. Laugh. Cook. — and not to be totally cliche, but — it’s crazy how time flies!

I have spent countless hours cooking, taking/editing photos, writing, and interacting and I have truly loved every second of it all. Looking back to some of my first posts, it’s amazing to see how my style and photography have grown. I know I have a lot more to learn and so many more people to meet, but that’s what makes writing this blog so exciting and fulfilling.

As a token of appreciation for my readers that I’ve gained and interacted with over the past year, I wanted to giveaway one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. So, thanks so much for your support along the way, and I can’t wait to share more fun and exciting things with you!!

Enter to win this sleek Cuisinart® 4-Cup Food Processor in stainless steel (as seen in picture below)!

Simply follow me on Instagram for your chance to win. You’ll also have to enter your e-mail address, which is strictly used to contact the lucky winner!

For additional entries you can follow Live. Laugh. Cook. on any or all of the following:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

You can also get an additional entry by leaving a comment describing your favorite recipe(s) from Live. Laugh. Cook.

One winner will be chosen at random using promosimple when the giveaway ends, Wednesday, April 23rd at 11:59am EST. I’ll announce the winner Thursday, April 24th on the Live. Laugh. Cook. Facebook page! (For more info, you can check the official rules below!

[promosimple id=”44cb”]

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chicken parm balls

Chicken Parm Balls

Hey strangers!

Did you think I forgot about this place? This has probably been my longest gap between posting since my trip to Europe last September! Well, not to make any excuses, but I started a brand new job at work last week and was devoting a lot of my free time to that and absorbing a ton of information…

That aside, I did get a chance one night last week to make these AMAZING chicken parm balls for dinner!


Chicken parmesan is one of my all-time favorites to order when I’m out having Italian food. A couple months ago I had the idea to make yummy little bites of chicken parm and tested out two different ways to make them:

  1. I dipped the finished balls in egg mixture before rolling in panko
  2. I added tomato sauce directly into the chicken mixture, which made it wet enough to roll in panko without the need for dipping in any egg

After making and tasting both, I decided that adding the sauce directly into the chicken was the way to go. It keeps the chicken moist during the cooking process, which makes the texture much better when you eat it and I also thought it was more true to the “chicken parm” concept (otherwise, it was more like a chicken meatball that I was serving with sauce).


To get that crispy exterior (one of the reasons I love chicken parm to begin with) I pan fried the chicken parm balls in some olive oil until they were golden brown and crispy on all sides, then finished them in the oven to get the chicken cooked through and the cheese all melty and delicious!

They made an excellent dinner, but their cute size make them a perfect idea for an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre at a dinner party! I served them over some spaghetti sprinkled with chopped parsley for a little freshness.

I’ll have the recipe posted shortly. Here’s the recipe for you to try!

Also, be sure to keep an eye out, coming up later this week and next are some cute banana carob chip muffins and a giveaway to celebrate Live. Laugh. Cook.’s 1-year anniversary!!

chickene4 chickenend2

craved creation: bazooka limon guacamole

Bazooka Limon Guacamole

Last month for my birthday we went to a great Mexican restaurant, El Vez, in the city with some friends. I had been there a couple times in the past for drinks, but had never had any food, so I was pretty psyched to try it out finally.

Something they’re known for is the many varieties of guacamole they offer — so obviously we had to get one! We ended up getting their “bazooka” limon guac as our appetizer and my world was subsequently changed forever.

I have to admit that the many, many times I’ve enjoyed guacamole in my life, it’s been pretty straight-forward. No unusual ingredients or textures, but usually the classic avocados, lime, cilantro, onion and garlic. On the other hand, this guac from El Vez had crazy things like goat cheese, fire-roasted tomatoes, chili flakes and pistachios in it — what?! Yes.

This left me no choice, I had to make this again at home.

Guac Prep

  1. Pull together your ingredients: avocados, limes, fire-roasted tomatoes, cilantro, goat cheese, red onion, garlic, pistachios and chili flakes
  2. Dice avocados and add to a mixing bowl
  3. Add lime juice, salt, pepper, chopped cilantro, diced onion and minced garlic
  4. Mix ingredients until well combined and guac is somewhat chunky in texture (i.e. to mash avocados completely)
  5. Add chili flakes and mix because you forgot to initially include them in the beginning — oops!
  6. Add your special guests to the party — diced tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese and chopped pistachios — mix until just combined
  7. Serve guac topped with more tomatoes, goat cheese, pistachios and fried garlic slices

I’ve been refraining from saying this the whole time, but holy guacamoleyou have to try this recipe, it’s too good not to try. The goat cheese and fire-roasted tomatoes add a nice rich element that I would never think to pair with avocado, but work surprisingly well together. Then the pistachios, conceptually a strange addition, but it definitely adds a great textural element to an otherwise smooth food, so I’m definitely a fan!

It’s a bit early for Cinco de Mayo, but you should definitely tuck this one away for a fun celebration or when you’re having guests over or when you’re going to a potluck — it’s definitely special. Also, if you’re in the Philly area, you can stop by El Vez for some of their other guac offerings, if not you can certainly get a taste of it with this!

Bazooka Limon Guacamole Bazooka Limon Guacamole

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