#DaniCooks: Spinach Tortellini With Spicy Salmon In A Chunky Clam Sauce

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I love pasta, but mostly when I make it at home. Italian food is amazing, but it’s not one of those things I opt for when I’m headed out for a meal. One of my fave pasta dishes is any type of stuffed pasta–from tortellini to manicotti, stuff pasta with cheese, mushrooms, lobster, spinach, or a combination and I’ll be right there with my plate ready.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

1.5 lbs of Salmon

1 can of chunky clam sauce

2 packets of spinach stuffed tortellini

15 baby bella mushrooms

1 bag of spinach

2 cups of shaved parmesan or asiago cheese

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion

2 tsp crushed garlic

How To Make It Do What It Do:

Bring your tortellini to a boil. Cook for 5 more minutes and turn off. Drain. While your pasta is cooking, heat your olive oil, throw in your onions, garlic, mushrooms and spinach. Watch that spinach wilt, then pour in your clam sauce. Try not to judge yourself for using it from the can. Cover it and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes on low.

Pour your pasta in a mixing bowl with your sauce. Mix and top with cheese because you’ve earned it.

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Stay Tuned to watch me make this on my YouTube channel, Grits & Giggles! Coming soon!

#DaniCooks: Caramel Apple & Sausage Pancakes [RECIPE]

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I never used to be the pancake kinda girl. I preferred waffles, but growing up, we didn’t have a waffle maker, so pancakes it was. My mom had me in front of that stove before my 13th birthday and I remember when she taught me pancakes, all be it from the box, but it was still fascinating to me. My first batch would always come out squished, non-cirular and burnt on one side. It never missed a time–as soon as that second batch was done, I’d smile, looking down at the steaming pile of fluffy pancakes.

When I got my first kitchen, you know, outside of my mom’s house, I was so ready to cook everything. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed perching at the kitchen table, watching my mom whip up her best delicacies right from her thoughts–no recipe required.

In fact, if there was a recipe, my mother would screw it up. But if she could just wing it–it would be the best whatever-it-is that you’ve ever had. Promise.

Making pancakes on Saturday mornings in my own apartment became a routine, but they would never be straight from the box (well yes they would), I would just add some of my favorite sweet things to them–chocolate chips, peanut butter cups, caramel, almonds, coconut flakes, you name it. Here in recent years, I’ve been a bit more adventurous with my pancake recipes, often adding red velvet cupcakes, cookie dough, bacon, sausage or one of my unexpected favorites-granola.

I have fallen back in love with pancakes and after you try my Caramel Apple & Sausage Pancakes, you will too!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

1 Cup Of Hungry Jack Complete Buttermilk Pancakes

1/2 tube of pork sausage

3 apples

1 cup of sugar

1 stick of butter

1 tbsp of cinnamon

1/4 cup of water

How To Make It Do What It Do:

Caramel: Put a half a stick of butter into a frying pan, turn on to Med-Low. Allow it to melt. Once it’s liquid, add your cup of sugar and stir like your life depends on it, because it does. No matter how bored you get or even if you think what you’re doing is the dumbest thing on the planet and you should just go and buy caramel, keep stirring. What happens after about 10-15 minutes of your constant stirring is scientifically awesome. The sugar/butter will turn brown. There’s some type of science here, but I don’t want to get into it.

That’s when you will add your water–start with 1/2 of the 1/4 of cup I asked you to get. If it’s looking liquify enough, go with that. If it’s still thick, use the rest of your water. Be really careful because this stuff will snap, crackle and pop you. No matter what happens to your face or arms, keep stirring. This is important. Your caramel is forming NOW! Don’t be nervous. Stir.

Hopefully by now your apples are cut into whatever shape makes you happy and your sausage has been fully cooked and in crumbles. Add your apples into your caramel and keep stirring. Sprinkle in your cinnamon. You’ll want to turn the stove down to low because you’re about to let those beautiful apples simmer in the pan. Oh and put a cover on it.

After about 10 minutes, check to make sure the apples are softening. If you can pierce them with a spoon, pour in your sausage. If you can’t, keep simmering for about five more minutes. Stir your caramel with your sausage and apples and allow the sauce to simmer on low.

You probably didn’t have time to make your pancakes while you stirred your caramel for dear life, so now that the sauce is on simmer, you can! You don’t need me to tell you how to make pancakes. It’s on the side of the box. So do that. Then plate those bad boys and pour you caramel, apple, sausage mixture on top. You won’t need syrup, unless you’re president of the Diabetes club. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for the video how how to make your own caramel. Coming soon on Grits & Giggles!

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NYC’s Mayhem & Stout Has The Best Short Ribs Ever…In Life [REVIEW]


Mayhem & Stout is an artisan sandwich company that specializes in flavorful, fall-off-the-bone braised meats and creative, seasonally inspired house made condiments, relishes and spreads, is officially open in Murray Hill in New York City. The owners (and friends since high school), Jay Brown and Steve Applegate started Mayhem & Stout as a weekend experiment at Brooklyn’s famous Dekalb Market in 2011. But because of Mayhem & Stout’s signature sauces and ridiculously tender meats, it didn’t take long for the demand to surpass food festivals and kiosks at a market–these delicious eats needed their own location!

With special dishes like brisket, blueberry sriracha and pickley onion or short rib horseradish creme and onion confit or the braised lamb shoulder with red harissa, tahini aioli and tzatsiki, it’s not wonder NYC’s biggest BBQ foodies demanded Brown and Applegate open up a restaurant, instead of teasing them at various festivals. I’ve tried almost everything on their seasonal menu (and you will too as nothing on the menu is above $11) and I haven’t been disappointed. I promise you, this is the type of food that can comfort your entire soul, but leave you feeling light as a feather. Not a meat eater? They’ve got you covered! Mayhem & Stout offers veggie options, including melt-in-your-mouth vegetarian meatballs. Seriously, I can promise you an orgy of flavors in your mouth.

Applegate and Brown are passionate about utilizing seasonal ingredients whenever possible, and they source the majority of their produce and ingredients from local purveyors, which means that they change their menu several times a year, and enjoy experimenting with new marinades, sauces and vegetables. To date, Mayhem & Stout has more than 50 original, homemade sauces and add-ons on their revolving menu. Their creations are served on warm, fresh baked bread from Caputo Bakery in Brooklyn and paired with Boylan’s sodas and Cup and Compass teas.

So what are you waiting for? Place your order and tell them Danielle Young sent you!

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Whitman & Bloom’s Seasonal Eats Will Change Your Life, Seriously [REVIEW]


Whitman & Bloom is a serious dining establishment. Don’t let that turn you off though. It’s a quaint restaurant tucked away in New York City’s Murray Hill. Serving up accessibly priced inventive, seasonal local eats with a hearty and updated comfort food twist, Whitman & Bloom is a must-try.

Whitman & Bloom serves brunch and dinner. The cocktail program employs a modern twist on cocktail favorites and also features originals and some that are a little more playful. The beer selection impressively includes a 12-tap craft beer lineup with beers from local craft breweries.

Owners, Ronan Conlon and Mark Fox teamed up to create this sacred space. With two other amazing restaurants under their belt (Cask Bar & Kitchen and Banc Café), Conlon and Fox tapped Andrew Breslin, a partner in Banc Café and owner of The Red Lion in Greenwich Village to morph Whitman & Bloom from concept to creation. Conlon describes Whitman & Bloom as, “a homey spot that feels like a country kitchen meets farmhouse library.”

Notable Menu Items:

  • Roasted Cauliflower: This melted in my mouth.
  • Grilled Lamb Ribs: These were the things dreams are made of. Meaty, hearty, perfectly seasoned and crisp.
  • Tuna Tartare: Light, fresh and flavorful.
  • Four Cheese Mac: Sinfully delicious, but not too heavy or creamy.
  • Pan Seared Day Boat Scallops: Perfectly seared, buttery and light.
  • Dry Aged Hanger Steak: Tender, juicy and ridiculous flavor.
  • Wild Mushroom Flatbread: Surprisingly moist, flavorful and soft.
  • Pulled Lamb Sliders: The best thing on the menu. The lamb is to die for!

Check out some of the amazing scenery and menu items at Whitman & Bloom:

IMG_3305 2 IMG_3302 IMG_3278 IMG_3274 IMG_3215 2 IMG_3207 IMG_3160 0U7G3327-2 0U7G3270 0U7G3279 0U7G3302 0U7G3334 0U7G3258 0U7G3255 0U7G3254Convinced yet? Book your reservation now! You won’t regret it!



A Splash Of Color: What To Wear With Colored Trousers


I don’t only do thrift shopping, although it truly is the love of my shopping life. I like to peek my head into certain stores and check for basics–pants, jeans, plain T-shirts, etc. There’s a “ghetto” store called Rainbow that has a lot of great basics that are priced super low. It’s one of my shopping secret weapons.

I found these adorable green high waisted trousers on the clearance rack for a whopping $5 and immediately had to have them. The mint green color could easily be worn in any season. That’s what I call a smart buy!

Chubby, Chic & Cheap Trick: If you’re low on funds and still need to/want to/have to shop, make sure you’re investing your pennies into a piece that can be worn for more than one season. That’s more bang for your buck!

I paired the trousers with a tunic, that I honestly wanted to wear as a dress when I got it. I found the tunic at Goodwill in my hometown of Rocky Mount, NC for a small price tag of $4. I absolutely love the black and white circle pattern on the tunic. I love that the pattern changes and dips down below my natural waist. It’s such a slimming design.

As you should know by now, I love color. So I used a belt from a thrifted dress to add another pop of color above the waist. I finished the look off with a old, and I mean olllldddd pair of black cowboy-like boots from Avenue. I believe I didn’t spend anymore than $40 on these boots. I would and maybe I should let them go, but they’re perfectly broken in and I love them. Don’t judge me.

Check out more pics below:

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Act Like A Lady, Dress Like A Bird: My Pretty Printed Peacock Dress


This is by far one of my favorite thrift store scores. My peacock dress called to me beyond the racks at Goodwill in my hometown of Rocky Mount, NC. I swear, the Goodwill that I frequent when I am home, has the best dresses. I raid the dress rack each and every time and I always come up with gold. This dress set me back $4.59–not a penny more, not a penny less.

Because of this dress’ amazing peacock colors and aesthetic, it didn’t take much to dress it up. So I added a teal waistbelt and that was it on accessories. I love the detail of the dress, so I just let the peacock show its colors. I completed the look with black Kushy Foot tights from the drug store for $8.99 and black booties from Payless on sale for $26.

Another great quality is that this dress has pockets! There’s nothing like a dress with pockets! This is one of my favorite dresses for the winter.

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STEAL HER CHIC: OnTheQTrain’s Wild Style Recreated

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STEAL HER CHIC: OnTheQTrain’s Wild Style Recreated


Style inspiration can come from anywhere. I often get inspiration from spotting someone while I am out and about and loving their style expression. This is what happened when I spotted Peggy from OnTheQTrain’s amazing style. From the body con mini to the fur stole on her shoulders, I absolutely loved it and I wanted to recreate that look with my own threads.

leopard-denimI snatched up my leopard body con skirt from Forever 21+ for less than $10, and I paired it with a thrifted denim button up from Housing Works Buy The Bag Sale. I completed the look with brown boots from Avenue for $39, black stockings, a gold belt, thrifted fur stole and one of my favorite trench coats from Goodwill in Philadelphia. The coat has incredible leather details on the shoulder and even though the shoulder pads turn me into a linebacker, I still love this jacket.

leopard-denim2leopard-denim3Did I nail Peggy’s look? What’s funny is that I had all these things in my closet, but I haven’t ever worn them together. Thanks to Peggy’s style, I was able to shop my own closet and create a look that I love. Thanks Peggy!


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