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!

Holiday Crostini

Holiday Crostini

The holidays are in full swing, and that means lots of food in the near future. If you’re needing an appetizer to bring with you to a holiday party or get together, this recipe is for you!

This is another quick and easy recipe that tastes delicious, and only requires a few ingredients:

  • crostini bread (or sourdough, french bread)
  • goat cheese
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar

You can use either store bought crostini bread that is ready to go, or you can make your own by slicing sourdough bread and toasting it with olive oil until crispy. French bread will work as well!

Once you have the bread figured out, spread goat cheese all over the slices. Top with sliced sun-dried tomatoes and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Place on a serving tray or platter, and there you have it! An easy, delicious appetizer that everyone will enjoy.

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!

Green Apple Grilled Cheese

Green Apple Grilled Cheese

Hello! I’m back with another green apple recipe!

This is an easy way to take your grilled cheese up a notch, and delicious too!

I love putting green apples in my grilled cheese because they give a nice crunch and crispness to your bite. Plus, apples and cheese just make a great pair.

You only need a few ingredients to make this: green apple, Havarti cheese, Gouda cheese, mayonnaise, and bread. I prefer to use sourdough, but any bread will do!

Start by thinly slicing your apples and laying out your bread. Place the Havarti cheese on one of the slices of bread, and place the apples on top. Layer the other cheese on top of the apples, and top with the other slice of bread.

Spread mayonnaise on the bread before putting it into your hot pan, and you’re ready to go! I cook mine on medium heat, and cover with a lid to try and help the cheese get gooey. Flip when golden brown, and cook until the other side is the same color.

There you have it! An “adult” grilled cheese sandwich. This is one of my favorite sandwiches, so I hope you enjoy!

Green Apple Grilled Cheese

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!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin Stock

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Hey everyone! I added this on my Instagram page, but figured I should share it here as well!

Roasted pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite snacks not just around Halloween, but the entire fall season!⁣

Start by separating the seeds from the pumpkin guts (save the guts – these can be repurposed too!) Once the seeds are separated, rinse them off and spread on a cookie sheet. Bake at 300° for 30 minutes. Take out, and toss the seeds with some olive oil and sea salt, spread back onto the pan, and bake another 20 minutes.

Once cooled, you’re ready to enjoy!

Pumpkin Stock in Progress

Next is the pumpkin stock. Place the pumpkin guts in a pot with 4-5 cups of water, and boil for about 20 minutes. Don’t worry if you get a few seeds in there either! Strain the guts, and bam! Pumpkin stock for your next fall soup!

Seriously so easy, am I right?!

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

Thanks for stopping by The Cooking Cactus!

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup

Happy Fall! Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I’m finally getting around to sharing my soup recipe! I tried this out for the first time this year, and loved it! I’m going to be making it again next week to serve with our Thanksgiving dinner, and I am so excited to share it with everyone.

Remember the stock made from pumpkin guts? That’s the base of the soup! Told ya it would come in handy! If you need the recipe for the stock, you can find it here!


For this soup, you’ll need a crockpot and a blender. It takes some time to cook, so make sure you start this with enough time before you want to serve!

As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!


  • 4 cups of pumpkin stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Thyme


In your crockpot, add the pumpkin stock, water, carrots, butternut squash, onion and garlic. Add a few dashes of the spices, and then cook on high for 5 hours. Feel free to stir every hour or so.

Before Cooking

When the 5 hours is finished, transfer the soup into your blender and blend until smooth. This may take a few batches to get all of the soup blended.

Transfer the blended soup back into the crockpot, add about 1/2 to 1 cup of the heavy cream (depending on how creamy you want it) and stir together. Add some more salt and pepper to taste, and cook on low for another 30 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl, top with the roasted pumpkin seeds (if you have any!) and enjoy!

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup

There you have it! A creamy fall soup that you’ll love and want to make over and over again.

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!

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


  • 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?


  • 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!