Last week I hosted a cooking class at my house.
 Four friends joined me on a Tuesday afternoon while all of our kids were in school.
The fabulous cooking instructor, Deb Coulter, worked her magic in the kitchen as we watched in awe! 

With her guidance, I chose a menu that was a bit out of my comfort zone.
The theme of the cooking class was "Hearty Harvest" and all
the dishes we prepared included seasonal root vegetables.

Everyone got involved with slicing, dicing, stirring and peeling. 

Deb is a terrific cook and she brought along an arsenal of fresh herbs and spices.  

Not only did we learn how to prepare some fabulous dishes, 
we also picked up some great tips from our wonderful instructor.

I admit, I am quite the novice in the kitchen.  
I grew up as an extremely picker eater and was always afraid to try new things. 
Once I graduated from college and got out into the "real world", 
my taste buds began to expand and finally started to try all kinds of different foods. 
While my taste buds may have grown, my knowledge of cooking hasn't. 

This class made me less fearful of, not only eating new foods, but making them for my family.
Everything we prepared was absolutely delicious!   

In the midst of cooking and eating, we also celebrated one of my dear friend's birthday. 
I made her favorite, homemade carrot cake.

 Here is the birthday girl, Lisa, getting ready to blow out her candles. 

Deb is in the process of starting a cooking blog.  I will post a link as soon as it's up and running. 
Meanwhile, if you live in the Cincinnati area, 
and are interested in having Deb come to your home 
for a cooking class, you can contact her here.

Here are the recipes we used for the cooking class.

For the crust:
4 large fingerling potatoes, two colors if possible
2 Tablespoons butter
For the filling:
1 cup cubed pumpkin or other winter squash
4 strips of bacon
1 medium onion, diced
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. heavy cream (or half and half)
1/4 cup grated cheese, gouda or jarlesburg (good melting cheese)
6 leaves fresh sage, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Directions
For the crust:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F
  2. Slice the potatoes thin with mandoline or knife
  3. Grease a pie dish with butter ; line the dish with potatoes, getting them as close together as possible, overlap where necessary. Dab the top layer with the rest of the butter to help with browning.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Set aside.
For the filling:
  1. Slice the bacon into small pieces and fry over medium heat. Set aside.
  2. Once the bacon is done, sautée the onion in the bacon grease (about 5 minutes).
  3. Peel and cube about 1 cup of pumpkin or other winter squash. Steam or boil the cubed pumpkin for 15 minutes. (I actually did this step earlier and roasted the squash in the oven while the crust was baking)
  4. In a mixing bowl whisk the milk, eggs, nutmeg, cloves and minced sage leaves.
  5. Spread the onions, bacon and squash on top the prepared potato crust.
  6. Fill the pie dish with the egg mixture and sprinkle top with grated cheese.
  7. Bake at 350º F for about 40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool about 15 minutes – this will help the filling set. Serves 6-8


1 Tablespoon butter
4-5 slices fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon harissa
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
4 carrots, peeled and cut into slices
2-3 parsnips, peeled and cut into slices
1-2 turnips, peeled and cut into cubes or chunks
3 medium or 6 small yellow beets, peeled and cut
into cubes or chunks
Cilantro for garnish
Cooking Directions
  1. Place butter, ginger, cumin, cinnamon stick, tumeric, saffron, tomato paste, harissa, broth, salt and pepper in soup pot or tagine.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer gently, uncovered for about 20 minutes.  Then add root vegetables and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes.  Season to taste.
  2. Prepare couscous per directions on box while veggies are simmering. Mound finished couscous on platter, making a well in center. Add the vegetables and juices and garnish with fresh cilantro.  Serves 6-8


1 medium spaghetti squash
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow pepper, sliced thin
1 small red onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic crushed
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish

Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Wash and slice squash in half and remove any seeds.  Drizzle flesh side of squash with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place flesh side down onto a baking sheet and back for 20-30 minutes, until knife easily penetrates skin of squash. Remove from oven and allow to slightly cool.
  3. While squash is baking, clean shrimp.
  4. Wash peppers and slice lengthwise into strips. Also slice red onion into strips and crush the garlic.
  5. Once able to handle the squash, use a fork to strand the squash. Set aside.
  6. In large saute pan heat 2 tablespoons (approx.) of olive oil, add onion and garlic and saute until slightly translucent (2-3 min.), add peppers and continue cooking 4-5 minutes.  Add squash strands to reheat and gently toss together.  Transfer to serving dish and garnish with fresh parsley.  Serves 4-6


  1. Sounds like so much fun...also gives me hope for my picky eater! My daughter could eat mac & cheese 3 times a day.

  2. What a delightful way to spend time with friends! The recipes look delicious and hopefully the lesson allowed you to not only enjoy the company of your gals, but to learn a thing or two!

  3. How fun! I want to tag along next time ;) I'm constantly trying new things for us, and still get intimidated sometimes by ingredients that I rarely or have never used. This seems like a great way to get more acquainted with different types of foods and techniques. That carrot cake of yours looks delicious!!

  4. how fun!!! i want to come!! and that quiche sounds delicious!

  5. This looks like the perfect gathering! Sure would love to have gotten my taste buds on some of those goodies! A very Happy Birthday to Lisa!

  6. Oh yum. This sounds like so much fun, and I bet the food was delicious.

  7. YUM - I'm totally going to try that spaghetti squash recipe! SO glad you posted the recipes!


I love reading each and every one of your comments!