Fresh Pico De Gallo and Housemade Pita Chips


I admit, I love salsa. I’ll eat gallons of salsa with fresh tortilla chips at my favorite Mexican restaurant. But, what do I make and eat at home and love even more? Pico De Gallo with fresh pita chips.

What’s the difference between salsa and pico de gallo?  Texture, ingredients and cooked vs. uncooked. Salsa recipes vary and may include all types of different ingredients (beans, pumpkin, spices) while pico de gallo is always the same.

Pico de gallo is the freshest and so easy to make. Why buy a bottle of salsa with preservatives and who knows what else when this delicious treat is minutes away?

Oh, and I prefer to eat my pico with freshly made pita chips. Don’t judge until you’ve tried my recipe!  Yep, it’s another super easy recipe.

I make the Pico De Gallo first and let the flavors meld in the refrigerator while I made the pita chips.


Start with dice tomatoes. Add diced red onions.


Add one seeded and minced jalapeno pepper and juice from one lime.


Add chopped fresh cilantro and cumin and stir. Refrigerate for at least one hour.


While the Pico is chilling, time to make the fresh pita chips.  These are brushed with olive oil and flavored with rosemary and parmesan.

Start with a package of pita bread and cut carefully horizontally to separate in half.




Finely chop 1 -2 rosemary sprigs and add to 1 cup olive oil. Brush each half of pita with this mix. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan and layer the pita halves. Cut the pita halves like a pie into 8 slices. Spread the pieces onto a baking sheet and bake at 350F until crisp, 10 minutes or so. Cool on a wire rack.

Pita-Chips-3How easy was that? Now, I know it’s a healthy snack, but try not to eat it all in one sitting!




Fresh Pico De Gallo and Housemade Pita Chips
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    Pico De Gallo
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 3 Tbls. chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin (or to taste)
  • Rosemary Parmesan Pita Chips
  • 1 package pita bread separated in halves
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 springs rosemary, minced
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese


    Pico De Gallo
  1. In a medium size bowl, mix all ingredients. Chill for at least one hour in the refrigerator.
  2. Rosemary Parmesan Pita Chips
  3. Mix the minced rosemary with the olive oil. Brush the inside of the pita half with oil mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan.
  4. Add the next pita half on top of the first, and repeat until all halves are in a stack.
  5. Cut the stack in half. Then cut crosswise. Then cut diagonally in 2 directions. The stack should now consist of 8 small, triangular stacks.
  6. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until crisp. Check after 10 minutes, continue to bake until crisp.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.
78 cal
1 g
17 g
3 g

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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Rosemary, Garlic and Parmesan


It’s Pumpkin Time!  Whether you’re carving pumpkins or using pumpkin for delicious treats – don’t shed the seeds. Within an hour, you can turn those seeds into a tasty snack.

Remember when your Mom would roast the seeds with a bit of oil and salt? There are so many more options. One of my favorite flavor combinations is rosemary, garlic and parmesan cheese. I used this flavor pairing with pumpkin seeds and they got the thumbs up!


There are a few tricks to making crispy, crunchy pumpkin seeds:

  1. Clean the seeds immediately after carving/cutting the pumpkin. The seeds will separate more easily from the pulp.
  2. Place the seeds into a large bowl filled with water and use your hands to rub off the pulp. The seeds will float, so use a slotted spoon to scoop out the clean seeds.
  3. Boiling the seeds for 10 minutes in salted water will help break down the fibers (and add in digestion).
  4. To check if the seeds are fully roasted, break open a seed. Is the inside still green? Green insides will produce chewy snacks. For crispy seeds, the inside needs to be brown. If green, add 5-10 minutes to the roasting time.

    Yields 1 cup

    Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Rosemary, Garlic and Parmesan

    1 hrTotal Time

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    • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 sprig rosemary, minced
    • sprinkle of sea salt
    • sprinkle of shredded parmesan cheese


    1. Clean the pumpkin seeds by soaking in a large bowl of water. Rub the seeds with your hands to remove the pulp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the seeds.
    2. Place seeds in medium sized pot full of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Boil for 10 minutes.
    3. Drain the seeds and place in a bowl.
    4. Add the garlic, rosemary, salt and parmesan and toss to coat.
    5. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet.
    6. Roast at 325F for 10 minutes. Stir and roast for another 10 minutes. Test for doneness. If inside is still green, roast for another 5-10 minutes.

Making A Drip Cake

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It’s a tradition to make a special birthday cake for my daughter, Diesel. Being an artist, and working with the medium of frosting, I’m always incorporating new skills into her birthday cake. (Poor, poor child.) The new baking trend is “drip cakes”, so guess what she got?

Now, I’m no Katherine Sabbath, but I love her cakes. The intentional drips and lopsided decor appeals to the warpedness in me. I had to make one!

The drip in a “drip cake” is a ganache.  Such a fancy word, but really easy to make with only two ingredients. This was a little too drippy, but you have to start somewhere.

Let’s start now. . . First, make a cake. Any kind of cake. What’s your favorite flavor? Will it taste good with chocolate? Make that one. Then, the cake must be coated with a buttercream frosting. Use your favorite buttercream recipe or try my favorite here. Chill the frosted cake for at least an hour since the ganache needs to be warm to drip and we don’t want the buttercream to melt.

Once the frosting is chilled, move on to creating the ganache. There are lots of ganache recipes on the internet, but I used 8 oz. premium semisweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup heavy cream.


In a saucepan, heat the cream until bubbles appear on the sides of the saucepan.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and allow to rest for a minute or two.  Stir with a whisk until all the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.


Remove the chilled cake and using a spoon, add ganache to the edges of the top of the cake, letting the ganache drip down the side.


Spread the ganache from the sides to the center of the cake (adding more ganache if needed) with an off set spatula to create a smooth top.

Return the cake to the frig to let the ganache harden so we can add more frosting and make it pretty.


Diesel’s cake was finished with ombre colored Drip-Cake-1roses.  (Irony, notice how symmetrical the roses are!) The following directions are based on a 6″ cake. Using the mid-tone pink, add 5 roses using a Wilton 1M tip. Using the light pink, add 3 roses and one centered on top.  The dark pink was used to fill in using a Wilton 21 tip.

How will you decorate your drip cake? Will it be as messy as mine? Don’t forget, you have to start somewhere!


Red, White and Blue Cheese Ball


Whether it’s Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Veteran’s Day – it’s all about the Red, White and Blue in America. Loving cheese balls, I HAD to create a patriotic one. Even though everyone ate and took home a chunk for after the party, I have decided the best Red, White and Blue foods are desserts, drinks and treats (just ask my neighbors – the deviled eggs last year were horrendous!)

Nevertheless, we’re going to make a Patriotic Smokey Cheese Ball and your guests will eat it up! It’s super easy to make, but will take time to chill.


Gather your ingredients.

Mix and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


Shape the cheese ball into a star and wrap with plastic wrap for as least 4 – 24 hours.

Before serving, gather in4th-of-July-cheese-ball-decorgredients to create your patriotic star. It’s like decorating a cake. You can do it!


Follow the recipe below for the complete list of ingredients and instructions.


Red, White and Blue Cheese Ball
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    Smokey Cheese Ball
  • 2 8oz. packages cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 cups shredded smoke Gouda
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tsp. steak sauce
  • 1 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
  • Toppings
  • 1 bag blue corn tortilla chips
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely diced


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese sand butter. Add shredded Gouda and steak sauce and beat until fluffy. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
  2. Shape the mixture into a star and wrap in plastic wrap for at least 4 (to 24) hours.
  3. Spread the whipped cream cheese to cover half the star.
  4. Crush some of the blue corn chips (put corn chips into a plastic baggie and use a rolling pin.) Start with a small amount and crush more as needed. Reserve the remaining chips to serve with the cheese ball.
  5. Press the crushed corn tortillas into the other half the the star.
  6. Using the diced red pepper, create "stripes" arranging the pepper onto the whipped cream cheese.
186 cal
15 g
7 g
7 g

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