Tomato Tortellini Soup

As a food blogger, I sometimes feel guilty about using prepared food items. I think I should be preparing things from scratch. But, I remind myself that Lord Byron’s Kitchen is all about recipes that can be made easily by anyone. There’s no shame in buying frozen tortellini, but if you’d like to make your own pasta, you can do that too! I’m reminded of a conversation I had with McKenna a few months back about school lunches. I’ve always struggled with what to send with her. She’s a picky eater when it comes to school lunches. So, I asked her to give me some ideas; tell me what her friends bring. She proceeds to tell me that one of her friends asked her why she brought a sandwich so often when her dad was practically a chef. Well, thanks for the partial compliment! But, I’m sure this friend wasn’t aware of the fact that I ask McKenna every single day what she wants for lunch. Her response is always the same – I don’t know. Well, kid, if you don’t know at your age what it is you want, you’re getting a sandwich! The thing is, I’m not a…

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Almond and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

Okay, dear Reader, I don’t officially have a top ten list of pesto recipes. Not one that I carry around with me in my wallet. And, certainly, not one that I’m going to admit to at this particular time.  But, if I did, then this pesto would be on that list, and most likely, very close to the top. This is one of those pasta dishes that make you feel better about yourself and make you happy to be alive.  Am I the only one that can feel such powerful emotions from eating good food?  If I’m not alone, please come forward.  We can start a club! COOKING AND BAKING IS PERSONAL! I’ve shared this with John.e before, but I’m not sure I’ve talked about it at Lord Byron’s Kitchen.  My recipes – my creations – are extremely personal.  I try my best to not take negativity to heart. But, it’s really hard to hear the words, “I didn’t like it.”  Everyone has their own personal tastes, but when it comes to sharing food you’ve prepared, it’s very personal. When someone loves to cook and bake, and likes to share it with the world, yet that same person is an introvert…

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Chocolate-Mayonnaise Bundt Cake

Mayonnaise in a cake? Yes, Dear Reader, you read that correctly.  Your eyes did not deceive you.  This cake is most certainly made with mayonnaise, and as weird as it seems, it’s absolute perfection!  This cake gives you the best of both worlds. Not only is the cake light and fluffy on the outside, but the center is very moist and fudge-like. I like to think of this cake as a chocolate lava cake without the lava! Does that make sense? The first time I made this cake was in 2016. That was when this cake first appeared on the blog. Today, I’m updating the photographs and re-publishing this recipe, because this cake is just too delicious to be forgotten about! MAYONNAISE AS A BAKING INGREDIENT Believe it or not, mayonnaise is a very common ingredient in baking. And, if you think about it, why shouldn’t it be? Mayonnaise is made with common ingredients used in baking anyway. Let’s take a closer look. Mayonnaise has three main ingredients. They are oil, egg yolks, and lemon juice. (The lemon juice is sometimes substituted for vinegar.) Almost every baking recipe, whether it be a cake or a cookie, has eggs and some…

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Snake plants are the perfect companions for anyone who has a hard time keeping plants alive. These low maintenance plants require almost zero care and will thrive in almost any environment. Learn how to care for snake plants the right way, and keep them alive for a lifetime! Snake plants are also known as mother-in-law's tongue or sansevieria and have become increasingly popular in the last few years. This is because they give your home a green and modern look, due to the plant's sharp lines and striking colors. Additionally, people love them because they're so easy to care for and almost impossible to kill. Most people grow snake plants indoors, but in the summer, they can also be placed outdoors once all danger of frost has passed. HOW TO CARE FOR SNAKE PLANTS INDOORS Caring for snake plants is easy peasy! Like we mentioned above, they're one of the most low maintenance plants you can have, so even if you're one of those people that can't keep anything alive, these plants will not care. #1. SELECTING THE RIGHT SNAKE PLANT When purchasing a snake plant, head to your local nursery. While there, choose a plant with dark green leaves.…


Homemade Garlic Spray: A Non-Toxic Insecticide

My dad is a master gardener! Okay… maybe not master, but he is to me ( I can’t even keep potted herbs alive… but I’m working on it). As long as I can remember, my dad’s garden has produced a beautiful bounty of fresh vegetables every summer. Unfortunately, there are some nasty bugs that attempt to completely derail all of his hard work! Now not all bugs are created equal when it comes to your garden. In fact, some are even beneficial! I think we have all heard by now that we need to save the bees! Bees are incredibly beneficial to your garden and essential for pollination. Ladybugs are also considered beneficial, as they feast on parasite bugs that kill your plants! But there are loads of other insects that can wreak major havoc on your garden. One of the main offenders are aphids (pictured below). These buggers feed on almost all fruit and vegetable plants, flowers and shade trees. And here’s the kicker with aphids: they reproduce like crazy. The females can even reproduce without mating. Awesome. Aphids There are some great natural ways to help control the aphid population in your garden. 1. A good strong watering…

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Jalapeno Corn Muffins

Not all recipes can be found by searching online or leafing through a cookbook or magazine. The best recipes are those that have been passed down from generation to generation. Or better yet, the recipes that your friends make and share with you! That’s exactly how I was introduced to this corn muffin recipe. CAN I TELL YOU A STORY? We have these amazing friends whom we never get to see as much as I’d like. That’s the thing about being an adult, isn’t it? There’s just never enough time to hang out with friends and have a good time. It seems that we only see Gloria and Micheal two or three times a year. But each and every time, I enjoy it more than I did the last time we all sat down together! I met Gloria first. She has been a friend of John.e’s for a long time, but I first met her in 2013. She was spending the weekend at their cottage alone and invited us to visit. I was so nervous to meet her, because John.e had told me so much about her, including the fact that she is a psychotherapist. You know how we all…

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30 Minute Ginger Beef

This particular beef recipe has been one of the most popular recipes here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen since it was originally published in early 2017. No matter how popular though, there were many readers who struggled to get it just right. Today, I’m updated the recipe with new photos and better cooking instructions. I’m hoping that this will help you to achieve the best possible 30 Minute Ginger Beef at home. No more takeout orders needed! THE BEST CUTS OF BEEF FOR THIS RECIPE Before John.e and I started living together, I used to make Ginger Beef nearly once a week. It was such a great weeknight meal – easy to prepare and is very forgiving of cheaper cuts of beef.  If you ever have one of those days at the grocery store when you’re craving steak, but the price is outrageous or the cuts are just not worth it, grab some cheaper steak and you’ll easily satisfy your beef cravings. Personally, I think skirt steak of flank steak work best for this recipe. Both of these cuts are often used interchangeably, because they are both tough cuts of beef. But, sliced thinly against the grain, they are tender and delicious. If…

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

We love peanut butter cookies! There’s just something really comforting about sinking your teeth into a soft, homemade peanut butter cookie, isn’t there? I have a few recipes at Lord Byron’s Kitchen for cookies that use peanut butter, and this one is a variation on one of those. When it comes to cookies, I tend to lean more toward a chewier cookie experience rather than a crispy cookie. I love cookies like ginger snaps too, but the chewier the cookie, the more delicious it is! Adding the raisins certainly helps to achieve a chewier cookie! LIGHT VS DARK RAISINS – WHICH WILL YOU USE IN YOUR PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES? My mom used to refer to raisins in two basic terms – light and dark. But, there’s more to raisins than just the color difference. Not only are different grapes used in the making of raisins, but there are different processes that can be applied too. In most baking recipes, you’ll see just the word raisins. The most common raisins that can be found in North America and either light in color or dark in color. Sometimes, they might be called Golden Raisins or Sultana Raisins. Brown raisins are sun-dried by laying them out…

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Onions are a must-have in any kitchen. These versatile vegetables are not only seen as a necessity by many cooks, but they're also incredibly easy to grow! Keep reading to learn how to plant onions in your garden. There are many different onion varieties and they all come in different sizes and colors. So whether you plant to plant red onions, yellow onions, or Spanish onions, the directions are all the same. And, don't forget that you can also pull onions while they're young and enjoy some fresh green onions! HOW TO PLANT ONIONS – TRANSPLANTS, SETS, OR SEEDS? You can plant onions from sets, seeds, or transplants. Onion transplants can be purchased from your local nursery, and these are onion plants that have been planted and are now ready to be transplanted directly into your garden. Transplants will usually grow within 65 days, but they are sensitive to diseases. Onion sets are immature bulbs that were grown the previous year and by far the most popular choice for gardeners. This is because onion sets are easy to plant, quick to harvest, and not very susceptible to diseases. When purchasing onion sets, you'll notice that they are identified by three different “varieties”: red,…

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Tofu and Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry

I was never a fan of tofu. But living with a vegetarian certainly changed that. The tofu I was used to eating came from a random take-out Chinese dish. It was bland and I thought it to be slimy. How was I to know that I would one day enjoy eating and cooking with tofu? If you’re much like me and tend to screw up your nose at something before you try it, then I get you! You’ve often heard it said that we eat with our eyes first, right? Well, based on that, would anyone ever eat tofu? It’s certainly not appealing to look at! I’m going to share with you a few things I learned about tofu over the past few years. Maybe you’ll change your mind about tofu and give it another try. Maybe you already love it and don’t need convincing. Either way, when all is said and done, this is my Tofu and Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry recipe. And, I think you’ll really enjoy it. The Truth about Tofu To start with, there are different levels of texture (softness versus firmness) in tofu. From least firm to most firm, the most common types of…

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Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins
Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

In our home, we love muffins. But, there’s a great muffin divide that breaks up the synergy in the house. You see, Dear Reader, while John.e and I love to eat muffins loaded with fruit, McKenna does not. She likes just plain chocolate chip muffins. Every once in a while, I’ll make a batch for her, but I always use my banana muffin base and I always add rolled oats. That way, even though she’s eating chocolate, she’s still getting the added benefit of eating something that’s good for her. You can add nuts too, if you like. But, like I said, these muffins were for McKenna and nothing beats chocolate chip for her! MILK, SEMI-SWEET, OR DARK CHOCOLATE? Any of the three will do perfectly fine! I tend to always use semi-sweet chocolate when baking. And, I save the milk chocolate for truffles or drizzle or snacking! I very rarely use dark chocolate, because I’m not a fan of it. Even though McKenna and John's .e prefer it, I still don’t use it much at all. As you can see from the photographs, I used mini chocolate chips. You can use regular chocolate chips. I only used the mini because it’s…

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Brown Butter Pasta with Spinach and Goat Cheese

This recipe was born out of the need to use up some spinach that was nearing the end of its shelf life. We are spending time at our house and since the closest grocery store is more than 30 minutes away, we stock up. We had two bags of spinach which were too expensive out in the boonies to go to waste. I looked through my fridge and I saw that I had two packages of goat cheese. We have this rather large wooden “bowl” on the counter where we keep garlic and tomatoes, etc. I had lots of fresh garlic. Our home is never without pasta. And, it is never – I mean never! – without butter! That was pretty much it. I threw it together and it was delicious. The photographs in the post were the result of those two bags of spinach. No recipe testing needed. It turned out perfectly the first time! HOW TO BROWN BUTTER Brown butter is one of the most underrated ingredients. It’s the most simple thing in the world to do. Seriously, if you can boil water, you can make brown butter. And, you only need one ingredient – butter! When you brown butter,…

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Tuscan Potato Bean Soup

If you’ve been reading the parables here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen for any length of time, it will come as no surprise to you that I’m publishing another soup recipe. Why? Because we all love soup! I’m a fan of soup that I can prepare ahead of time and reheat later without compromising the taste or texture, and certainly not the integrity of the ingredients. What I mean by that is not overcooking the ingredients during the reheating process. Tuscan Potato Bean Soup has a lot of ingredients, but they are generic and most of them will probably already be waiting for you in your pantry or crisper. Let’s get started! Lord Byron, did you say this soup can be prepared ahead of time? I guess I did hint at that, didn’t I? You can certainly prepare this soup ahead in two ways. First, you can wash and chop all of the veggies and store them in small containers with tight-fitting lids or in resealable sandwich bags. Just place them in the fridge until you’re ready to make the soup. Don’t do that with the potatoes. If you peel and chop the potatoes ahead of time, rinse them under cold water…

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You've no doubt seen these cute little peppers at your local grocery store. Shishito peppers seem to have taken the culinary world by storm, and for good reason too! These small peppers are easy to cook, go with practically anything, have a great flavor and thin skin, and 1 out of 10 is a hot pepper – how fun is that?! If you're interested in learning how to grow shishito peppers, keep reading! But before we do that, let's take a quick look and see what shishito peppers actually are and where they originated from WHAT ARE SHISHITO PEPPERS? Shishito peppers are a Japanese variety of heirloom peppers from the species Capsicum annuum. They are small, wrinkly looking peppers and are usually green in color. You can buy them at most local grocery stores now, and they'll usually come in a 1lb bag. Eaten raw, these peppers are crisp and sweet, but once you cook them, slight spice and smokiness come out, and that's why people love them so much. Not to be confused with Padron peppers, which are not as wrinkles and are spicier than the shishito pepper plant. WHAT DO SHISHITO PEPPERS TASTE LIKE? The shishito pepper is…


Old Fashioned 3 Ingredient Limeade

I’m an equal opportunity type of guy when it comes to lemons and limes. I like both of them equally, but not interchangeably. For example, I like lime juice in my Diet Coke and on the barbecue, but not a lemon. And, I like lemon in a cake, or with fish. But when it comes to a cold, refreshing summer drink, I don’t think I could choose between the two. That’s why I decided to make both Limeade and Lemonade. I’ll get to posting the recipe for Lemonade soon, but for today, it’s all about the lime! Is this Really a Recipe? Why, yes it is! It takes a little bit of tweaking to get the acid and sugar levels just right. I’ve done the work for you here so you don’t need to worry about a thing! Besides, even though there are only 3 ingredients, you still need to whisk and stir and slice and squeeze. It’s a recipe! The most important thing to remember when making this Limeade is that you will need to ensure that the sugar has been completely dissolved. If you have ever prepared a simple syrup before, then you’re already a pro! But, for those of us…

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