Hello & Happy Friday! Since I haven’t done a round-up of random links in a few weeks, I thought it was high-time to share all the things I’ve had bookmarked. Here goes…

The Fire Wire on the grill in action. | Hannah & Husband

The other night I took my cooking to a new frontier: The Grill. We’ve had so many amazing goodies in our CSA basket, and there’s something about veggies in the summer that’s just begging for that little accent of charcoal. If you look at the peppers and onions in the picture above, you’ll see that they make a circle. That’s because I used my new favorite kitchen doohickey: the fire wire. It’s a long, flexible kabob skewer, and you can order one here for under $10.

Jon Batiste's Social Music

It is rare that I listen to an album from start to finish, but today I listened to Jon Batiste’s Social Music.




If you have Amazon Prime, you can listen to it here, or the album’s on Spotify. His version of St. James Infirmary is absolutely incredible, which is rare for a song that is covered by everyone in the genre. If you recognize his name but aren’t sure why, he will be the house band for Stephen Colbert’s new Late Show.

Wayne White in The Bitter Southerner

We are big fans of Wayne White (who you may remember from this post). Recently, The Bitter Southerner did an excellent profile on the artist that’s definitely worth a look–even if it’s just to swoon over the photography by Kendrick Brinson and David Banks.

Finally, it’s national tequila day! Here’s a little something to get your celebration off to a good start.

Happy Friday!

Try a New Recipe

7 Steps to Try a New Recipe Like a Pro on Hannah & Husband

New year, new you, yada yada… I’m not really one of those “let’s go on a diet in January because __ magazine says we should” sort of girls. Instead, let’s talk food. Specifically, let’s try a new recipe. I’m trying to mix things up in the kitchen.

@jamesaslaughter instagram | 7 Steps to Try a New Recipe Like a Pro on Hannah & Husband

We cook the majority of our meals (as I’m sure you assume if you follow @jamesaslaughter and @hb_belle on Instagram), but recently I felt like we needed to mix things up. So we took a few minutes one afternoon and explored some of the local ethnic grocery stores–Mexican, Turkish, Asian, Indian. We’re having so much fun experimenting with new recipes and spices! And, of course, being who I am I tweak everything a little bit. Don’t judge–it’s the curse of those that love to cook. So today I thought I’d give you a super-simple rundown for trying a new recipe.

 7 Steps to Try a New Recipe Like a Pro on Hannah & Husband

7 Steps to Trying a New Recipe Like a Pro

Pick a place.

When we eat out, it is almost always something that we probably won’t make at home. For instance, we frequented the local Vietnamese restaurant a couple times a week before finally learning how to make pho at home. If there’s a restaurant you love or a country you’d like to visit, start there. What do you like to get at the restaurant? What do people in that country eat? What do people in that country like to cook at home?

Hop over to Pinterest, but be critical.

Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration but can also be overwhelming. I have a “Yummy-ness” board that I update almost daily with recipes I’d like to try. But if you’re trying to get out of your box and try something new, you don’t want to trust just a pretty picture. Instead, try to find pins that people say they have actually made themselves. Check out the comments.

If there’s one recipe that’s been pinned a bunch, head over to that blog and see if there are any comments beneath the post. If people are commenting, they probably trust that blogger as well as their recipes.

Don’t change everything at once.

This is valuable advice with any new recipe you’re trying but is especially important if you’re eating a new ethnicity of food. You may get the most out of the experiment by using main ingredients you already know really well. For example, you know green beans. You love green beans. Try a different preparation of green beans.

Taste as you go.

If you’re looking to experiment with flavors in the future, taste the pieces and parts as you go so you can see how they all add up in the pot. For example, last night we made miso soup for the first time. We started with a broth of seaweed and mushrooms. Seaweed is not a taste I really needed to taste by itself. But when you near the end of the recipe, you whisk in miso, and (spoiler alert) it changes EVERYTHING. So yummy!

To understand the balance,
you must understand the parts.

Compare recipes.

If I’m trying something new, I’ll often compare several recipes for the exact same thing. For instance, last night I saw a miso soup with sweet potato on a recent email blast. So last night I threw one in to our soup, and it was a delightful addition to the basic recipe I was using.

Find your own trusted few.

There are a few cooks who post recipes that I will try the first time, line by line. Very few. I usually go to these few when I want to try a new technique or a new type of food I’ve never cooked before. Everyone has their go-tos, and these are mine.

I heard Ina say on Julia Turshen‘s (an amazing cook herself) fab Radio Cherry Bombe podcast a couple weeks ago that she tries each recipe several times and then has someone else try it before she publishes a book. Well it shows, Ina! It really shows.

Roll with the punches.

Be aware there are a things that may throw you off. Humidity and altitude vary from country to country and state to state. (This can especially throw off baking. Our friends from Salt Lake mock the size of our mountains, but we mock their leavening techniques.) A convection oven often doesn’t need as long of a cook time of as high of a temperature as a regular oven. Watch what you’re cooking. You learn by doing. Be willing to fail.

Which brings us to… the back-up plan.

If you’re trying something really new, be aware that the experiment may fail miserably. I recall a super-healthy, vegetarian lasagna experiment of late. (Pro-Tip: the béchamel is what makes lasagna edible.) So be willing to order a pizza.

So I think we’re diving into making our own pita next. What about you?

Any recipes you’d love to try?




Hello, Gorgeous! : Random Links to Start Your Week


When I first started reading blogs several years ago, Alicia Paulson’s “Posie Gets Cozy” was one of the first ones I read. Not only does she make incredibly beautiful things, she is a beautifully poetic writer. She’s also the type of writer that makes you feel like an old friend after reading just a couple of posts. Needless to say, when she announced that she and her husband recently had the privilege of adopting a precious baby girl, I couldn’t help but cheer.

In case you are unaware, November is National Adoption month, and this is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. There are so many children out there who need a family or, more accurately, a safe place to be loved. So go  read Alicia (and Amelia)’s story and then pray about maybe donating time or funds to those kids who haven’t been lucky enough to find their place yet.


Last week I posted this photo on Instagram. (How did we eat lunch before camera phones?) I couldn’t resist. This is my favorite time of year to grocery shop! Fresh cranberries and cider are on display in every bodega while baking powder and Swanson broth are sold in bulk at the market. I am a firm believer that making your own food leads to a more beautiful life so if you’ve never been much of a cook, this is definitely the time to start! I’m going to be posting lots of basic recipes over the next few months to help us all learn some skills while we hunker down for winter starting later this week with this basic cranberry relish. It’s the perfect condiment for turkey sandwiches or tart taste to have on the side of your Thanksgiving plate.


This week, I couldn’t help but laugh when I came across these LIFE magazine images from 1945. Animal sweater are *everywhere* these days, and I must admit that seeing how adorable these girls look in them, I may actually have to give in to the trend. Although, I think this saxophone sweater may be a bit more my style.


Getting ready for the Weekend

If there’s one way to ensure a perfect start to your weekend, it’s to get all the right pieces in place the night before. Husband and I like to start our Saturday mornings slowly–lying on the couch, reading, sipping coffee, listening to NPR. So often, on Friday nights, I’ll make these muffins and get the coffee maker ready so that all we have to do is make our plates and relax. As a bonus, they smell absolutely delicious and happen to make just enough that you can eat one on Friday for a midnight snack if you’re so inclined.

Blueberry Muffins

1 1/2 c All-Purpose Flour
3/4 c Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder

1/3 c Vegetable Oil
1 egg
1/3 c milk
1/3 c Greek Yogurt *

1 1/4 c fresh blueberries

Cinnamon + Sugar **


  • Preheat over to 400°F and grease a muffin tin. This recipe should make 10 muffins.
  • Mix together dry ingredients. Then, mix together your wet ingredients to make a nice batter.
  • Fold in the fresh blueberries.
  • Use an ice cream scoop to scoop mixture into muffin tin.
  • Bake for 18 minutes.
  • Pull out and top with cinnamon + sugar.
  • Put back into the oven and bake for another 3 minutes.

– – – – –

The dairy products in this recipe can be played with quite a bit without losing the muffin’s perfect texture… It all depends on what you’ve got in your fridge. I’ve used a bit of sour cream, heavy cream, and I’m sure buttermilk would add a lovely little dimension.

** We always have cinnamon + sugar mixture in an airtight container to use on muffins, on toast, in drinks, etc. Just another thing to make your life a little easier!