homemade barbecue sauce + my go-to pork sliders.

FEELS!: i feel that i haven't been wanting to cook and shoot recipes all summer because when the sun is out in this town, why da hell would i be in the kitchen?? though i would looove to just play around with food all the time, there are always more pressing things that need to happen during the summertime before we head into our winter hibernation mode. pressing items like swimming, camping, hanging out... 😉

my computer has been super weeeeird lately and i've had to update a lot of things. anyhoo, with my computer cooperating with me once again and summer fun times & house projects slowly winding down, i've found a bit more inspiration to get back to coming up with my own recipes. yay!

it's my durn-good homemade barbecue sauce recipe!

i'm the type who doesn't normally choose bbq sauce as my dipping option, and i usually am not attracted to sandwiches with barbecue sauce. i just don't really care about barbecue sauce i guess. unless i'm at a legit bbq joint and they have 8 options to choose from. then i care deeply and have to try them all.

i make my own because i like a good balance of savory + spicy + sweet + tangy. some barbecue sauces are just SWEET, bleh. some are thick and ultra savory. and the ones i avoid at all cost - smoky or chipotle flavored ones. heeeck nahhhh mannng. quinn + chipotle flavors = nope.

so yeah, here's what i do to achieve a tangy, savory, sorta sweet, and nice & spicy barbecue sauce.

i felt i couldn't just make barbecue sauce and take photos of it sitting in a jar or cup, so i made some delicious sliders to pair it with.

for the sliders: hawaiian sweet rolls or whatever slider buns you prefer (ALWAYS toasted or crisped up in a pan with olive oil - crisping up your roll makes up like 75% of the slider's quality rating in my book), pulled pork (pete and i use this method for our pulled pork - crockpot + pork shoulder + thick-chopped yellow onions + one can beer + one can green salsa), sliced red onion, sriracha mayo (i just make this at home and keep a little jar handy for sandwiches, etc - about 1 cup of mayo + 3 TB sriracha, whisk whisk whisk), and thinly sliced red cabbage.

i toss the cabbage in a little bowl with a splash of white vinegar and black pepper, just to take the cabbagey edge off the raw cabbage (read: cabbage is stinky). 

yum yum yum bout to gobble you up.

these photos got real messy real fast.


Homemade BBQ Sauce

Makes 1 cup sauce

Time: 10-15 minutes


  • 2 TB unsalted butter
  • 2 TB minced yellow onion (dried or fresh - make sure its very finely minced)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 TB mustard (I've used yellow or brown/dijon - both work fine)
  • 2 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 TB Sriracha
  • 1 TB fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • splash of peperoncini juice (optional)
  • [also optional while melting the butter, 2 TB bacon grease - whoa mmhmm]


Finely mince a small amount of onion (fine enough so it is almost translucent - you want the onion to fully break down into the sauce after its finished simmering). I have also used dried minced onion and that works as well.

Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add minced onion and whisk to completely coat in melted butter. Add brown sugar and whisk to create a thick base. Increase heat to medium.

Add the remaining ingredients into the pan, whisking as you go. Let it bubble and thicken on medium heat for a few minutes before simmering on medium-low heat for about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in glass jar or airtight container. 

Enjoy on sliders, with fries, on pizzas, chicken dishes, pork dishes, grilled vegetables, potatoes, etc, etc.



homemade peanut butter.

peanut buttah time.

do you recall the mallow cookie creme pies that i made quite recently? whelllll! those peanut butter cookies were made with this very homemade peanut butter recipe. 

thought i'd share my method of making homemade peanut butterrrrrrrrr, y'aaall. (<paula deen voice)

first ya take the peanuts and a crunch em, ya crunch em. nah nah. just throw em in the food processor, silly!

so easyyy, my people! i think creamy peanut butter will still be the only nut butter i won't hesitate to buy at the store (because they make it so dreamy & delicious), but every other nut butter i tells ya...make it at home if you can. bling blinggg! i dunno why bling bling but i haven't said that since like 1999 and i've randomly said it about 3 times this week. 

peanuts are cheap! like, they're the actual unit that people use to measure cheapness - peanuts!! "they're payin' me peanuts!" so yeah, make those peanuts into peanut butter and save some dough, y'aaall. bling bling.

Homemade Peanut Butter

Yields 16 oz. creamy peanut butter

Time: 10 minutes


  • 4 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts (as pictured above-- from the bulk section)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil


Place the peanuts in a food processor. Run the processor for a few minutes, then scrape down the sides with a spatula. When the peanuts begin to form a thick texture, add the salt and coconut oil. Run the food processor for another few minutes until it looks very creamy* & shiny.

Scoop all the peanut butter into an airtight container or jar and store in the fridge.

*Note: Homemade PB will be just a little bit grittier than store-bought creamy PB. How doo they doo it?!

Add to toast, smoothies, sandwiches, fresh fruit, yogurt, spoonfuls of chocolate chips, ice cream, lalalalalaaaaa peanut butter rulez. 




lopez island long weekend + fourth of july.

now that its the beginning of august, lemme tell you what i did for the 4th of july.

it seems extra hard to keep up with all my photo-takings and blog postings and whatnot during these gorgeous summer months. i just want to frolic in the sunshine every single day when i get home from work. and summer weekends are like gooold- not for sitting on the computer. but i'm currently writing this while sitting on the back porch in the sunshine and pete and i are bout to grill some corn and chicken - so, win-win!

for 4th of july weekend, we took off in the cheddar bus to lopez island where we stayed for 4 fabulous days. my bff katie and her bf chad came for the first time, too! 

i just love riding on the ferry. it feels like you're going somewhere without actually going somewhere. ya feel meh?

qp & kt: a love story.

first stop was the lopez island farmer's market to visit pete's aunt & uncle who blow this amazing glassware! among many other beautiful things! check them out here!

special bonus sighting of pete's cousin peri, eldest offspring of the glassblowers. that family is seriously sooo talented and artistic and awesome...every last one of them. peri hand makes these cool tote bags out of old sails from sailboats. she also makes hats, ladies' swim wear, kimonos...the list goes on. check peri out here!

^^^ there's cousin peri and her sail bags and other goodies for sale! pete and i got the orange and also the mac & cheese tote for the cheddar bus, 'acourse :) those things are durable as hell. carry 4 bottles o wine in the medium one! big loads of laundry in the large ones! just sayin.

we made lots of cute dog friends.

^^^ we went to the lopez island thrift shoppe where pete and i scored these fab island duds. me, a $4 dress (with pockets!!), pete, a $3 seagull pullover jacket. instant vacation mode achieved.

biker gang off to laze about by the water. // this gal loves her ritz (& pete taught her the ways of cheez-whiz).


all the ducks in a row. or geese.

chad built a driftwood sculpture by the sea. we named her "seahag." she fell over. but check out that walking stick at the bottom! just like yoda's stick. we meant to sell it on ebay but forgot it.

fun little day hike and picnic up at watmough head. followed by some chillin and paddleboarding in watmough bay. just crazy pete went, though. dat water was absolutely freezing.

ooo birks & socks and a wonkily buttoned shirt. #donthasslemeimonvacation

a quick sail with the zerkel men! peter and brother tim's beer coozies each match their outfits hehe.

more dog friends.

4TH OF JULY EEEEEEEATS! hot dogs & spam sliders for everyone!

awesome fireworks show viewing party right on their property. soo great. we usually watch them from the sailboat which is also sOoOooOoo great, but the water was super choppy that day.

last relaxing day on lovely lopez.

and we were welcomed back to seattle with this stellar sunset. 

love you long time, lopez. see you again soon.



mallow cookie creme pies.

meee want cooookieeee.

hey there, cute stack of cookie sammiches! you are (/were) mighty delightful.

so i had a buttload of extra marshmallow fluff leftover from when i made these s'mores donuts. what else to do with leftover mallow fluff but make MALLOW COOKIE CREME PIES.

oatmeal chocolate chip (my absolute favorite favorite) and fluffernutter aka peanut butter + marshmallow!

here's a dramatic pic of butter softening in the sunshine: 

(a great method for softening cold butter! we don't have a microwave anymore - which i love. i don't miss that thing at all. but anyhoo, the sun-softened butter method works well. if the sun is shining. if not, i carefully soften it over the gas stove, or the ol' classic method of simply getting it out a couple hours early and just letting it sit.

having a bright school bus yellow kitchen is no bueno for taking photos of food. especially in the late summer afternoon like this day that i shot these cookie sammiches. ^^^ eeek.

yellow kitchen! you're cute and happy. but sometimes make pictures look displeasing.

it's a love/dislike relationship with these yellow walls.

the oatmeal chocolate chippers are just to die for. i enjoy the fluffernutter ones a lot too, but c'manng. i could eat homemade chocolate chip cookies every day for the rest of my life.

its the texture that gets me! you can easily share one of these creme pies, by the way...they are richhh. i just love the soft, buttery, chewy cookies with a creamy marshmallowy fluffy filling. the oats and choco chips take the crunch factor to the next level. let these chill in the fridge or freezer, and jaheeeez you've got quite the magical treat.

alternatively, plop a scoop of your favorite ice cream between two of these cookies and freeze it. oh wow. 

Marshmallow Cookie Creme Pies

Makes 12 creme pies - 6 Oatmeal Chocolate Chip & 6 Peanut Butter/Fluffernutter

Time: 1 hour



  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • {DIVIDE INTO TWO BOWLS after combining all these ingredients above!}
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup oats

Marshmallow Fluff Frosting (recipe makes a LOT o' mallow - store in airtight container in the fridge) - follow mallow fluff instructions from my S'mores Donuts recipe here

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) or large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs & vanilla and mix until combined. Add baking powder & soda, salt, and slowly add flour, mixing in between additions to avoid a big ol' flour cloud. 

At this point, move half of the dough into a separate bowl. In one bowl, add the 1/2 cup peanut butter and mix until well incorporated. In the other bowl of dough, add the oats and chocolate chips and mix until combined.

Spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray or lightly grease them. Spoon out golfball sized amounts of dough evenly spaced on the cookie sheets. 

Bake the peanut butter cookies first (they need more time to cool and firm up - mine were super duper soft and crumbly when they came out of the oven) for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to fully cool.

Bake the chocolate chip cookies for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Spread a small dollop of cool marshmallow fluff onto one cookie and sandwich the other cookie on top. Wrap each creme pie cookie sandwich in tin foil and store in an airtight freezer bag in the fridge or freezer. Store for up to 2 weeks.


i sure did.



simple summery strawberry-peach smoothie.

summa summa summa tiiime.

you know its summer when you eat a big fat yellow peach and have juice dripping down your chin and down your wrists. that sounds gross when writing it out, but you know the feels! or how bout a red plum! that too!

peaches are sooo primo right now! yum yum juicy juicy.

i wanted to make a super simple smoothie, and to make it extra summery!

enter fresh summer peaches and strawberries. add some banana for texture, lemon juice for citrus zing, spinach for extra fiber & sneaky veggies, and coconut oil for that extra hint of summery vibes. if you love coconut flavor, you will love coconut oil in your fruit smoothies. it adds the ever so slightest hint of coconut and its SO GOOOOOD. and light and refreshing.

the thing about using just a little bit of spinach in your smoothies is that it always turns out brown. wah wahh. use a lot of spinach and it will turn out a very pretty green! 

i usually blend my smoothies for super duper long, like 5 minutes. haha. kind of overkill. but i want them to be extra smooooooth. i have a ninja blender and it works pretty dang well. i have never used a vitamix, but i bet it pulverizes all those tiny strawberry and spinach particles into smooooothie goodness. 

don't forget dat coconut oil. it's like a little tropical island daydream in a glass. aaaaaah coconut oil smoothie take me awayyy.

Simple Summer Strawberry-Peach Smoothie

Serves 2

Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 1/2 bananas
  • 2 large ripe yellow peaches
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries (about 8-10 strawberries)
  • handful of fresh spinach
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon, plus some lemon pulp
  • 2 TB coconut oil
  • 6-8 ice cubes


Wash all the fresh fruit. Cut off all strawberry stems, cut the peaches off their pits, and peel bananas. Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend until spinach and strawberry are chopped up as finely as possible and the mixture is super smooth. Add the ice very last and blend again.

Serve immediately!