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The Adventure Begins

Hi there!

Some of you may know me, but those of you who don’t, nice to meet you! My name is Jaymi, and I’m trying something new here.

I absolutely love to cook and bake, and try unfamiliar things out in the kitchen. I love cooking so much, I decided to start a blog and accompanying Instagram account (@thecookingcactus) about my adventures in the kitchen. This blog is going to include my favorite recipes, trial and errors, food pics, basically anything food related I want to share with you all. I am so excited to see what comes of this! Now with that being said, please try to bear with me as I figure all of this out. I promise it’s going to be quite the adventure!

Thanks so much for being here!

Caramelized Cinnamon Sugar Apples

Caramelized Cinnamon Sugar Apples over Ice Cream

Happy fall, everyone!

This is my favorite time of the year, and some of my favorite things to eat are during this season. Pies, apples, squash, soups…I am so ready! I love all the warm spices used and the way your entire home smells after cooking or baking with them.

This is a simple dessert recipe that I like to use. It takes a total of 10 minutes (maybe even less if you prep fast!) and has 5 ingredients. I’m telling ya, super easy!

What You’ll Need

  • granny smith apple
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • cinnamon
  • sugar
  • French vanilla ice cream

How To

  • Start by rinsing the apple, and then use an apple slicer to remove the core and have even slices. If some slices are bigger than you’d like, feel free to cut them in half.
  • In a pan on medium-high heat, add the apples, butter, and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and sugar.
All Ingredients in the Pan
  • Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring every so often. They are ready to serve when they are golden and there is some syrup formed in the pan.
  • Place the apples over your favorite brand of French vanilla ice cream, drizzle some syrup over the top, and enjoy!
Caramelized Cinnamon Sugar Apples over Ice Cream

There you have it! Another easy recipe for you to try.

If you enjoy this recipe and like what you see, give me a follow here or @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!

Overnight French Toast

Overnight French Toast

Hello again! I’m back with another yummy recipe for you all! This one came from Austin’s mom, Lisa. I am so happy that she shared this recipe with us, because it tastes so dang good! It’s easily become one of our favorite breakfast/brunch meals. Thank you, Lisa!

This recipe is fairly easy, and besides soaking overnight, takes hardly any time to do! So don’t be scared off when you see “Part 1” and “Part 2” below!

The berries and bananas used make a syrup in the bottom of the pan, and it works so well with the crispy French bread. My mouth is literally watering while I’m typing this…it’s that good.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below!

Overnight French Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 French loaf
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • about 24 ounces (1 bag) of frozen mixed berries and/or strawberries
  • 4 bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • cinnamon and sugar
  • powdered sugar
  • optional- maple syrup

Recipe Part 1

  1. Cut the French loaf into very thick slices, about 8-10.
  2. Combine milk, eggs, baking powder, and vanilla. Whisk together.
  3. In a large baking dish or roasting pan, place the French loaf slices in a single layer.
  4. Pour the milk mixture over the bread. Be sure to turn the slices over to coat both sides in the mixture.
  5. Cover and set in fridge overnight.
After Pouring the Mixture Over the Bread Slices, but Before Turning Them

Recipe Part 2

  1. In the morning, mix the frozen berries, bananas, and cup of sugar.
  2. Place the fruit mixture into a large greased baking dish or roasting pan, and place the soaked bread on top of the berries. Again, in a single layer.
  3. Sprinkle everything with cinnamon and sugar, and bake in the oven at 450° for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Once the bread is golden brown, and no longer soggy, it is ready to be taken out.
  5. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (as seen in the first picture on the blog), and serve.

The berries make that delicious syrup you can use to top the French toast with, but you can also use maple syrup, just in case!

I served ours with a side of bacon, and man, that was a good choice. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Overnight French Toast Served with Bacon

If you enjoy this recipe and like what you see, give me a follow here or @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!

Sea Salt Caramel Cookies

Sea Salt Caramel Cookies

Hello! For this post, I want to keep it fairly short and sweet. So for those of you here for the recipe only, you are welcome!

Who doesn’t love a good cookie?! This cookie is pretty basic to make, and is so tasty! It’s like a basic chocolate chip cookie, just tweaked a liiiitle different!

These are rich, and I gotta say, best when eaten warm and with a glass of milk. Shall we get started?

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 bag of sea salt caramel chips (I used the Hershey brand)

Let’s Bake!

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 ° .
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla, and then the eggs. Continue mixing until thoroughly combined.
  4. Slowly add your baking soda and flour to the mix, and mix until combined.
  5. When it’s all mixed, stir the sea salt caramel chips in.
  6. Scoop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or a greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until golden brown. (For my oven, I found the 16 minutes to be perfect.)
  8. Let cool on a baking sheet, and enjoy!

There you go! Pretty easy, right?

If you enjoy this recipe and like what you see, give me a follow here or @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!

Beet and Tomato Salad

Beet and Tomato Salad

Hello again! Summer is coming to an end, but there is still plenty of time to make this yummy salad. It is light, fresh, and super easy to make!

This was my first time ever cooking with, or eating beets. Ever. I felt like Dwight Schrute from The Office the entire time I was making this salad, and it was great. Since it was my first time trying beets, I wanted to include ingredients that I loved (like what I did with the brussels sprouts), to try and ensure I’d like them. I have to say, the beets tasted better than I thought they would! Definitely making this salad more often.

Fun fact: the beets and tomato used were grown by Austin’s parents!

The beets do need to be roasted and chilled, so make sure you give yourself a few hours head-start! Any questions? Just ask!

Ingredients

  • 2 beets
  • 1 extra large tomato, or 2 medium tomatoes
  • spinach
  • goat cheese
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. Scrub the beets clean, and then wrap in foil, individually.
  3. Roast in the oven on a baking sheet for 45 minutes.
  4. Once the foil is cool to the touch, peel the beets. It should slide off by hand, but a peeler may be needed.
  5. Chill beets in fridge until ready to make salad.
  6. When ready to make the salad, dice the beets and tomatoes into similar sized pieces.
  7. Take a handful of spinach (or more if you’d like), and cut into long thin strips.
  8. Combine the beets, tomatoes and spinach in a bowl. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, followed by a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
  9. Mix ingredients together, and salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Finish with goat cheese and enjoy!
Beet and Tomato Salad

I hope that you all enjoy this recipe if you try it! I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you enjoy this recipe and like what you see, give me a follow here or @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Hello! I am back with another yummy dinner recipe for you guys! This one was so much fun for me to make. All of the vegetables I used to make this were grown in my boyfriend’s parents garden! You all know how much I love to use fresh vegetables, so you can imagine my excitement in making this dish.

Normally I make stuffed peppers with bell peppers, but I wanted to try another pepper and tweak my filling a little. (I’m so glad I did!) There will be a lot of leftover filling, unless you decide you want to do more peppers than the 4 I have included in the recipe. I like having the leftover filling to eat on its own, like in the picture above. It can also be used for tacos or burritos the next day!

This recipe takes about an hour to make from start to finish. That includes the prep and baking time. If you have any questions about the recipe, just ask!

Ingredients

  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Recipe

  1. Start cooking the rice as directed. If using a rice cooker, you can do 1 cup of brown rice with 1/2 cups of water.
  2. While rice is cooking, prep the peppers. Cut the tops off, and clean the insides out, making sure to get all the seeds. Set peppers aside.
  3. In a pan on low heat, add some olive oil, onions, and the garlic. When those have cooked for a few minutes, add the ground beef and turn the heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°
  5. When the beef is browned, turn the heat off and add the rice, tomatoes, and cheeses to the pan. Mix together well, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Now time to stuff the peppers. Add the filling to the peppers with a small spoon, and place in a baking pan after. Once all peppers are filled, drizzle a little olive oil over the peppers and top with Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, and let cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Once peppers are cooled, enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! I served ours with some toasted cheesy bread I made, and it was delicious!

If you enjoy this recipe and like what you see, give me a follow here or @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!

Grain-Free Dog Treats

Ragnar and I with his Treats

If you’re like me, you’re crazy about your fur babies. We adopted this little guy a few months ago, and I decided he was only going to have the best of everything! These treats are great for so many reasons. They only have 4 ingredients, they are grain-free, and they are pumpkin and peanut butter flavored (which every dog loves!). Seriously. Ragnar will devour his treat and then spend the next 5 minutes licking the spot he ate at. Only treats he does that with!

I wanted to have his treats come out in a bone shape, so I went to the store and found a cookie cutter. Mine was at Walmart for less than $1 if you were interested in getting one! I also put some of the treats in little balls to make some training treats, because everyone knows a 4 month old puppy needs a lot of training!

The most expensive part of these treats is the flour. Since I wanted these treats to be grain-free, I opted to go with coconut flour. Don’t worry, I did lots of research and it’s safe for your furry friends!

This recipe does need to be chilled in the fridge for 1-2 hours, so keep that in mind when you plan to make these! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

With that being said, lets get baking!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 1/2 cups coconut flour
  2. 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  3. 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  4. 2 eggs

How To:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. The mixture will be lumpy and crumbly, and should somewhat resemble the consistency of play dough.
  2. When mixture is ready, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. This makes it easier to roll out and cut out the treats later.
  3. After the mixture has been chilled, it’s time to roll and cut.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 ° .
  5. Sprinkle some coconut flour on a cutting board, and ball up some of the mixture. Mixture may be crumbly, so be sure to press firmly together before rolling.
  6. Roll it out with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick.
  7. Use the cookie cutter if you have it, and if not, use a knife to cut out squares. You can also roll the mixture into little balls like I did to make smaller treats.
  8. Place treats on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 25-35 minutes, until the treats start to brown.
  9. When treats are done, they should be hard and like a biscuit.
  10. Let cool completely, and then your dog is ready to enjoy their new treats!
Ragnar Super Excited to eat a Treat

I hope your fur babies enjoy these as much as mine does! I love this recipe because it is so easy, and you know exactly what is going into your dog.

And just because I can’t get over how cute he is, here’s another picture of Ragnar waiting for a treat.

Ragnar Waiting for a Treat

If you enjoy this recipe and like what you see, give me a follow here or @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

Hey ya’ll! Here is another easy recipe that I love: chicken salad. It only calls for a few ingredients, and you can make it according to how YOU like it. It can have more of an ingredient or less of an ingredient. All I know is, however you make it, it’s easy and fast!

Ingredients

  • chicken breasts
  • mayonnaise
  • celery
  • red onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

Recipe

  1. Start by boiling water in a large pot. When water is boiling, drop chicken in and cook until done- about 8-10 minutes.
  2. While chicken is cooking, dice up your celery and red onion.
  3. When chicken is done, it needs to be shredded. Easiest way is to use your stand mixer on medium speed with the dough hook attachment. (Shout out to my friend Tina for this trick!) If you don’t have a stand mixer, that’s totally fine! You can shred the chicken manually with forks.
  4. Once the chicken is shredded, it’s time to combine all the ingredients.
  5. Add the diced celery and red onion, salt and pepper.
  6. Add mayonnaise to the chicken mixture as well. You want enough to coat all of the other ingredients.
  7. Mix together, and add more mayonnaise as needed.
  8. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Enjoy!
Chicken Salad Sandwich

I like to eat my chicken salad on toasted sourdough bread, with a little more mayonnaise spread on the bread, and lettuce. This is seriously one of my favorite and easiest recipes.

If you have any questions feel free to ask!

If you enjoy this recipe and like what you see, give me a follow here or @thecookingcactus on Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!