Last week we had a girls night out at Jake’s. I would tell you all what went down, but what happens at girls night stays at girls night 🙂

I can, however, tell you what happened at dinner this week. We planned a campfire themed dinner to welcome Callie back to Portland after her adventures down in California, but she mistimed her arrival (in typical Callie fashion ;)) and wasn’t able to make it. In spite of her absence, the seven of us that did make it had a great time. We even took a few group Christmas pictures with Taylor’s Christmas tree, Charlie!



Aren’t we just the cutest?!

But back to dinner. Everything was really wonderful this week. The perfect combination of ‘campfire’ foods, good friends and lots of laughter. A couple of Christina’s family members joined us towards the end of dinner and were able to get a true FND experience. We all went around and introduced ourselves and now we have some new nicknames: Annie ‘the teacher’, Antonio ‘the pessimist’, Bryony ‘the baker’, Taylor ‘the choker’, Brett ‘HE’S ALIVE!’, and Mary ‘the sarcastic one’.

Our food was delicious. Christina made a great cucumber-avocado dip surrounded by carrots to look like a campfire.


And Brett braved the cold and grilled up some really tasty kabobs.


We also had some macaroni & cheese, hoppin’ john, roasted corn and s’mores cupcakes which you can find the recipes for below.

From all of us at PDX FND, we hope you all have a truly wonderful holiday season filled with friends, family, love and laughter! We’d love to hear about any special holiday recipes you guys use, so please share some with us and maybe we’ll use them in a future dinner.

Now here are the recipes we used this week.


Macaroni & Cheese: 



  • 2 cups uncooked pasta
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cook pasta as directed on package.
  3. While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constanly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.
  4. Drain macaroni. Gently stir macaroni into cheese sauce. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.


Hoppin’ John: 



  • 1 cup dry black eye peas
  • 1/2 cup brown rice (dry)
  • 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • Grated cheddar cheese, for serving


  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Soak the black eyed peas overnight in water. In the morning, drain the water, add fresh water (about two inches above peas) and bring to a boil. Cover pot (leaving an inch open) and simmer for about one hour, until peas are tender. Drain and set peas aside.
  2. Cook the rice in 1 1/2 cups water. When done, fluff with a fork and combine with the peas in a large bowl. Top the peas and rice with the sliced green onions and chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. To make the relish, combine all ingredients. It shouldn’t be runny so you might need to add a little more or a little less mayonnaise to produce desired thick sauce consistency.
  4. Serve hoppin’ john in bowls topped with relish and freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese.



Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob: 

Adapted from


  • 4 ears fresh corn, husked and halved


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spread butter over corn, if desired. Wrap corn in foil and place on baking tray. Roast for about 30 minutes, until the corn is soft.


S’mores Cupcakes: 

Makes 12 cupcakes


Graham Cracker Crust: 

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chocolate (preferably bittersweet) finely grated/chopped


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Marshmallow Frosting: 

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (regular white sugar, not powdered sugar)


Graham Cracker Crust: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter and salt with a fork. Drop 1 1/2 tbsp. of the mixture into each cupcake liner and press down. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. chocolate on top of each crust and bake for 5 minutes. Keep oven on at 350°F for the cupcakes.


  1. Combine butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a heatproof bowl over gently simmering water. Heat until the butter and chocolate have melted, stir to combine and set aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  3. In a separate, larger bowl, whisk the eggs; add sugar, vanilla and salt, stirring to combine. Add chocolate mixture and whisk together.
  4. Sift in 1/2 of the flour mixture and stir together. Whisk in the sour cream, then add remaining flour and whisk again until just combined. Don’t over mix. Divide batter between liners with crust and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Marshmallow Frosting: 

  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl over simmering water. Whisking constantly, bring mixture to 160°F.
  2. Transfer mixture to a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on a medium-high speed (8) until the mixture cools, doubles in size and forms stiff peaks, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Once cupcakes have cooled, pipe frosting onto tops. Top with graham cracker crumbs, if desired.

photo 2

photo 3

IMG_5692Happy eating, everyone!


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