Thursday Link Rodeo

Forget a roundup – this here is a link rodeo! It’s a collection of cool/exciting/delicious food news, recipes, and more that we’ve encountered recently. Yeehaw. Or something. 

This week’s rodeo is hosted by a pomegranate.


  1. Pomegranate Green Apple Sangria from Gimme Some Oven.
  2. Fesenjen Chicken Stew with Pomegranate from US!
  3. Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Cookies from My Baking Addiction.
  4. Pomegranate Sesame Chicken with Ginger Rice Pilaf from Half Baked Harvest.
  5. Cranberry and Pomegranate Bruschetta from the Cafe Sucre Farine.

What are your favorite pomegranate recipes?

Burrito Bowls

I had a friend ask me why I run a food blog if I don’t like cooking. Well, I love food. It’s delicious! And I like finding and sharing information on shortcuts to tasty things. Plus, I have a whole house of people I can talk into executing my food ideas. It works out well for both my taste buds and theirs.

Speaking of my laziness, I recently talked my wonderful and handsome boyfriend Mark into making dinner for the rest of us. He made these burrito bowls from Budget Bytes and they turned out perfectly. They’re quick, cheap, easy, tasty, and versatile — culinary genius, frankly!


As they are, they’re vegan. You can add shredded chicken, if you’d like. Throw in sour cream, if you’d like something a little extra smooth. Chopped onions, cilantro, and lime juice also make wonderful additions.



Easy Burrito Bowls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 servings
  • 6 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups black beans
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • A dash of salt
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 bunch thinly sliced green onions
  • * ¼ tsp chili powder (optional)
  • *Lime juice (optional)
  • *Chopped onions (optional)
  • * Sour cream (optional)
  • * Cilantro (optional)
  • * Shredded, cooked meat (optional)
  1. Heat black beans over medium heat and thoroughly mix in salt, cumin, and garlic powder.
  2. Assemble bowls: a cup rice, ⅓ cup black beans, ⅓ cup salsa, a generous sprinkling of cheese, and green onions.
  3. If you'd like, add any of the other optional ingredients mentioned above.
  4. Serve and enjoy!


Chocolate Pots de Creme – Recipe Review

Chocolate Pots de Creme – Recipe Review

Cat and I cook well together because often my issue is lack of inspiration, and Cat’s issue is lack of desire to do the thing.

So when she finds something she’s interested in eating, it’s great because I’m usually interesting in making it!

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To go with our Pizza Balls the other day Cat suggested we try this recipe for Chocolate Pots de Creme from Food Network and I was psyched about how easy the recipe looked.

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They ended up being exactly as easy to make as they looked, and as delicious as I thought they would be. Incredibly rich and very chocolaty.

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The main issue I had with these was that though I followed the recipe to a ‘T’ (not something I usually do), and gave them greater refrigeration time then said necessary, they turned out to be not as thick as advertised.

I would suggest that when you make this recipe that you either give them at least 4 hours in the refrigerator before eating, and or mix about a teaspoon or two of cream of tartar in with the sugar.

Secondly, not an issue with the recipe, but a heads up that this would lend itself perfectly for flavor ad-ins! Mint extract, orange extract, vanilla, almond! So many possibilities!

Chocolate Pots de Creme
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6-8
  • 9 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar (add an extra tablespoon if using bitter chocolate)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
  1. Place the chocolate in a blender. Whisk the milk, 1 cup cream, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula and almost boiling, 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Immediately pour the milk mixture over the chocolate in the blender. Cover and hold the lid with a thick kitchen towel; blend until combined and smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins or small cups and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
  3. Whip the remaining ½ cup cream and the confectioners' sugar with a mixer or in the blender until soft peaks form. Top the chilled pots de creme with whipped cream.

I will definitely be making these again with some of those flavor adjustments.

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4 Stars (4 / 5)


Thursday Link Rodeo

Forget a roundup – this here is a link rodeo! It’s a collection of cool/exciting/delicious food news, recipes, and more that we’ve encountered recently. Yeehaw. Or something. 

Hosted by a carrot.

(Image from Sugar and Charm)

1. Spicy Carrot and Ginger Soup with Harissa from Serious Eats.
2. Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting from us!
3. Moroccan Spiced Carrot Hummus from the Kitchn.
4. Carrot Bread from
5. Carrot Margarita from Sugar and Charm.

Did I miss any awesome carrot recipes? Tell me about it in the comments!

Make-Your-Own Group Dinner Ideas


There are a lot of benefits to having guests assemble their own food. They get the flavor profile they want, with ingredients in the exact proportions they desire. You don’t have do the assembling, which is also nice. I like that part.

The drawbacks are usually that you have to use more dishes – extra spoons for serving, extra dishes for assembling. And there can be more food waste, despite the fact that, rather than leave out an entire jar of (food thing), I put out a portion that I think will last the group (that way just the small portion spoils from being left out all evening instead of the jar). It also takes more time, but that can be part of the fun of the evening.

We’re clearly big fans of assemble-your-own-whatevers here at Qwerty Cafe. I’ve pulled together some of the greatest hits for the next time you want to try it yourself. Heads up: this seems to work best for groups under 10 people. More and it starts getting really complicated juggling space on the counter for assembly as well as space in the (cooking appliance) for things that require heat.

Taco Bar


Make-Your-Own-Pizza Rolls

pizza stuffed biscuit balls 3

Waffle Sundaes


Waffle Sandwiches

Pizza Waffles






Bake Potato Bar


Pizza Stuffed Biscuit Balls

Pizza Stuffed Biscuit Balls

We’ve been doing a lot of “make your own” type meals for Qwerty dinners lately; I think they’re a great way to make sure everyone has what they want, with minimal effort, and delicious results.

This last weeks was definitely one of the best.

pizza stuffed biscuit balls

Along with pizza balls, we also filled some with roast beef and amazing electric orange melty cheese.

And we topped ours all a little differently to make sure we knew just whose was whose.

pizza stuffed biscuit balls 3

Pizza Stuffed Biscuit Balls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 2 - 4 biscuits for each person (use ready to bake biscuit tubes)
  • 1 teaspoon melted butter for each person
  • Garlic Powder
  • Suggested Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons of motzerella cheese for each biscuit ball
  • 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce for each ball
  • 2 pepperoni for each ball
  • Red Onion
  • Pineapple Chunks
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Roast Beef (sandwich meat)
  • Creamy Cheddar Cheese
  1. Preheat oven as directed on biscuit packaging - should be 375 degrees
  2. Stretch one biscuit until about the diameter of your hand with extended fingers.
  3. Place your chosen filling in the center and then fold the edges of the biscuit dough around it, pinching it all close.
  4. Place the biscuit ball, smooth side up, onto a baking tray.
  5. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle some garlic powder on top.
  6. Once all your biscuit balls are made, place in the oven and bake until golden brown - this should be about 15 minutes.
  7. Serve warm, but be cautious as the insides will be very hot!

Some of ours weren’t perfect balls, and more like hot pockets, but they were still amazing and cooked just as well.

pizza stuffed biscuit balls 2

Overcoming Anxiety: Five Tips for Surviving Sephora

Overcoming Anxiety is a series where Cat shares tips for balancing a desire to be social with various phobias/fears. If your life is severely impacted and/or limited by your own anxiety, please consult an actual mental health professional. She is not one.

OA is back after a long hiatus! Life got away from me for a bit there – things have been quite busy. To help this column continue, I’d really appreciate it if you’d reply in the comments section and let me know if there are any specific topics you’d like to see us cover. Thanks! You ROCK!


Now, on to today’s topic: Sephora. Or Ulta. Or Origins. Or any other stand alone, brightly lit, intimidating makeup store.

(This is an actual picture of the inside of a Sephora store, plus a presumably friendly and helpful sales associate helping another terrified victim. Er. Customer.)

First of all, if you find yourself intimidated by Sephora, you’re not alone.


There are two close friends of mine who actually refuse to go in there and, honestly, it still makes me kind of jittery. Which is why tip #1 is simple:

1. If you don’t HAVE to go, then maybe don’t.

That’s what internet shopping is for. BOOM:

I mean, I’m all for challenging your neuroses when appropriate (that’s what this whole series is about), but sometimes it is okay to decide a thing is too much. You’ve gotta take care yourself in whatever manner you think is best.

Reasons to still give the in-store experience a go: a) you really need to see how a color looks in person, next to your skin tone, b) you want to try out a sample to see whether you like it and/or your whether your skin has some kind of weird reaction to it, c) you don’t have the time or the money to order it online, get it, realize it’s the wrong thing  for some reason, then return it, then get a replacement thing, d) anything else, really. Again – whatever feels right for you. :)

2. Understand what you are getting into.

This includes things like:



B. Seriously, what is with the lights?
(Okay, fine, they want us to see all our “imperfections” in as much detail as possible.)


C. Decision fatigue.
How many shades of pink can there possibly be? Correct answer: when you’re at Sephora — infinity billion.


D. Sometimes it is super busy and there are a zillion loud strangers all clamoring for the latest whatever-it-is-people-get-excited-about.


E. Sometimes it is super slow and you discover it’s just you and one sales person.


Also remember that the stores (hours of operation, size, etc) will vary by location. You can check out online reviews to see if they provide pictures so that you can get a good sense of the individual store and what the area around it is like. How busy the store will be also varies by location, as well as by time of year (the weeks before Christmas tend to be quite busy, for example). There will likely be a few sales people in the store when you arrive – they’re often dressed in black (and have cool makeup on)! They’re there to help you — you can ask them where specific items are located or for general advice. If you call ahead, you can even schedule an in-store makeover (but be warned, when getting a makeover, there’s a general expectation that you will then buy at least one or two of the items they used).

4. Familiarize yourself with what they carry and have a plan.
Check out the website ahead of time (and any reviews of products you are interested in) and make a list of things you’re wanting to actually check out in person. Make a note of general prices for things so that you’re not surprised when you hit the register.


5. Consider bringing a friend. Moral support can help when you’re feeling overstimulated and overwhelmed.


And that’s it. Now all that’s left is actually going. You can do this!


More from Overcoming Anxiety:

Tater Tot Nachos – or – Totchos

Tater Tot Nachos – or – Totchos

I don’t know about you, but Tater Tots are probably my favorite form of potato. Those little nuggets that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside just speak to my soul.

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Brandie requested cheesy tots for this last Friday night Qwerty meal, and then Cat made the best suggestion of her entire life; tater tot nacho bar.

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It was divine. The tots were the perfect cheese, quac, onion, meat, sour cream, etc receptacle.


And then the leftovers for breakfast the next day was more than a girl could dream of.


Tater Tot Nachos - or - Totchos
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • Tater Tots - 1 cup "scoop" for each person served
  • Suggested toppings:
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Nacho Cheese
  • Seasoned Ground Beef
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Jalapenos
  • Olives
  • Purple Onion
  • Green Onion
  • Diced Tomatos
  • Enchilada Sauce
  • Bacon Pieces
  1. Bake tater tots per packaging directions
  2. Prepare toppings while tots are baking, including shredding and chopping.
  3. Place tots in a bowl and cover with your favorite toppings!
  4. Enjoy


Bonus kitty close up:

byffys closeup

Thursday Link Rodeo

Forget a roundup – this here is a link rodeo! It’s a collection of cool/exciting/delicious food news, recipes, and more that we’ve encountered recently. Yeehaw. Or something. 

This week’s rodeo is hosted by matcha.


(Gorgeous image from Thirsty for Tea)

1. It’s Time to Try Matcha, from The Kitchn.
2. Roasted Blackberry Matcha Pops, from Thirsty for Tea.
3. Matcha Mini Cheesecakes, from Jo Cooks.
4. Matcha Mint Iced Tea, from Love and Lemons.
5. Matcha Ice Cream, from Just One Cookbook.

What else is good around the web? Tell us in the comments!