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Macaroni Salad Recipe

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As promised yesterday, here’s the macaroni salad recipe that I made to take to the camping trip last weekend.

It’s a jazzed up and significantly more colorful version of the delicious macaroni salad recipe passed down to me from my famous Aunt Lori.  And it’s definitely still delicious.

Macaroni Salad Ingredients | Oysters & Pearls

Macaroni Salad Recipe
serves a large crowd as a side


– 1 box elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
– 1 6 to 8 ounce jar mushrooms (or two 4-oz jars)
– 3/4 cup Duke’s Mayo
– 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
– 1 cup chopped celery
– 1 small red onion, chopped
– 1 bunch green onions, chopped
– salt and pepper to taste


Boil macaroni according to package directions.  Mix with remaining ingredients.  Chill.

*And put salad in the fridge.

Southern Macaroni Salad Recipe  | Oysters & Pearls

The instructions are verbatim from my aunt’s handwritten recipe.  I love it.

This is a tasty addition to all BBQs, potlucks, etc. and is super easy and oh so Southern.  I love making it a little more colorful, but if you’re sticking to my aunt’s version, use a Vidalia onion, regular yellow mustard, and omit the green onions.  Or add/subtract whatever you want!  It’s your salad, after all.

Macaroni Salad Recipe  | Oysters & Pearls


Until Next Time


Savory Pumpkin Dip

Attention all pumpkin-lovers and tailgaters (or tailgators, if you please): Click print.  Right now.  Because you HAVE to make this dip.

Pumpkin Dip Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

As you all know, I am on a quest to see how many different ways I can eat pumpkin thanks to a prolific little pumpkin patch.  Last week, I was attempting to make a dent in my backlogged blog reading queue and ran across this gem of a recipe from Gimme Some Oven.  I was intrigued.  So when Maggie and Greg invited me over to watch football on Saturday, I knew what I had to do.

Savory Pumpkin Dip
(almost completely unadulterated, via Gimme Some Oven)


– 1 8-ounce brick of cream cheese (I used Neufchatel cheese, which has less fat but is still creamy)
– 1/2 cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese
– 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I, of course, used freshly baked Seminole pumpkin)
– 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
– 4 to 6 slices of bacon, cooked until very crispy and crumbled
– 3 or 4 green onions, sliced thinly
– 1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Mix all the ingredients either in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until well combined.  Garnish with extra green onions and crumbled bacon and serve with buttery Ritz crackers.

Cook’s Note: To toast the pecans, put dry pecans in a dry skillet and turn the heat to low.  Toast, shimmying and shaking the pan every once in a while until the pecans are fragrant and warm.  Watch them closely, as they’ll burn easily.

Savory Pumpkin Dip Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

This pumpkin dip will bring the boys to the yard.  Just sayin’.

It received a hearty welcome at the home-gate, and I’ll be making it again Thursday to take to Gainesville, fo sho.

I also like that it’s orange-ish, which will coordinate well.

For some other tailgate or home-gate ideas, I thought I’d share the rest of our home-gate on Saturday.

In addition to orange dip, we had an orange cat named Buster.

Buster the Cat | Oysters & Pearls

Buster tried his very best to get into the dip, and succeeded once, too.

Pumpkin Dip with Ritz Crackers | Oysters & Pearls

We had the pumpkin dip, obvi.  But you can also see some delicious sausage with mustard dipping sauce back there, and Maggie and Greg had some delicious cheeses, too.

They also had the cutest little cutting board you ever did see, complete with Marcona almonds, dried fruit, and sliced apples.

Bainbridge, Georgia Cutting Board | Oysters & Pearls

That heart is over Bainbridge, and there’s another hidden-under-almonds-heart over Atlanta, which is where Maggie and Greg just moved back from.  I <3 it!

Ha, I’m a cheese-ball.

Ha.  That recipe is coming later this week!  For a chicken cheese ball, that is.

Maggie also made the best rice crispy treats I’ve ever eaten [three times].

Smitten Kitchen Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats with Sea Salt | Oysters & Pearls

The recipe is from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, but turns out that Deb (the writer behind Smitten Kitchen) posted them on her blog, too!  (<– click for recipe)

I might have to make these for this weekend, too.  Or just to hoard alone.

I mentioned the pizzas (the pizzas!yesterday, but it was worth sharing a couple pictures of them so you can understand how good they were.

Gourmet Homemade Pizzas | Oysters & Pearls

Clock-wise: 1) fig, mozzarella, and gorgonzola; 2) ham & pineapple with a balsamic reduction drizzle; 3) pizza margherita; 4) (my FAVE) pear, prosciutto, arugula, & gorgonzola

There was also a “meat lovers” with prosciutto, pepperoni, ham, and I might be missing something, and a couple extra pizza margheritas.  They made homemade flatbread dough, the secret to which they revealed is “00” flour.  I realize homemade pizzas may be more suitable for your next home-gate, but they did grill them on their grill, so it’s totally tailgate-able.

I’ll be back with more tailgate-able recipes, but since this post included the recipe for pumpkin dip, let’s have one more look, shall we?

Savory Pumpkin Dip with Ritz Crackers | Oysters & Pearls

And one more cute kitty picture, for good measure.  Wallace got curious when I got the camera out at home.

Curious Cat | Oysters & Pearls

Happy Tailgating!


Chicken Tacos & Jalapeno Hot Sauce

There is a new Mexican restaurant in town (no, I’m not cheesily referring to our own home) that serves the BEST, most legit Mexican food in all the land. It’s called Taqueria Los Sanches, in case you’re ever in Bainbridge. I have never been very excited about “Mexican” food, but this place is so good. They hand make all of their salsa, hot sauces, even their tortillas, I’m pretty sure. Their chicken tacos haunt me in my sleep, they’re so good. Flour (soft) tortilla, chicken, fresh onion and cilantro, and sliced avocado, with a squeeze of lime and a drizzle of their delicious homemade jalapeño hot sauce. I’ve definitely, unashamedly, instagrammed their tacos, as seen below.


As you probably have deduced, I LOVE HOT SAUCE. I love Crystal, I love the Rooster sauce, I love it all. Heck, I’ve even come to love Tabasco, and I’m dying to visit Avery Island. Thus, I have become obsessed with the “green hot sauce” at Taqueria Los Sanches. The sweet girl who works there was kind enough to tell me how they make it, and this is the story of how I attempted to recreate it.

Jalapeno Hot Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

Jalapeño Hot Sauce (adapted from Taqueria Los Sanches in Bainbridge, Georgia)


– as many jalapeños as you can get your hands on
– half a vidalia onion
– 2 tablespoons onion powder
– 2 tablespoons garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Boiling Jalapenos for Hot Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

Boil peppers whole (“tails removed”) for 15 minutes or so with the rest of the ingredients. Remove from heat and puree. I only had a food processor, which didn’t puree the seeds as well as theirs was, so I pressed the hot sauce through a fine mesh strainer with a ladle and a canning funnel. It made it much runnier than theirs, which will be perfect to transfer into old hot sauce bottles. It’s almost the exact same consistency as Crystal or Tabasco hot sauce. Also, since I strained the seeds out, it’s not nearly as hot as Taqueria Los Sanches’ version. Leave ’em in if you want! Side note: I really need an immersion blender. Or just any blender. Or both.

Jalapeno Hot Sauce  | Oysters & Pearls

I ended up with 3 and a quarter jars of hot sauce. Because I don’t have a ton of room in the fridge, like ever, I decided to go ahead and process these in a hot water bath simply to see if they would be shelf stable. The best practice , however, would be to keep them in the fridge, since this recipe does not contain vinegar.  Botulism is serious business!

Jalapeno Hot Sauce Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

Since we had all this hot sauce around, naturally it was taco night at the Kirbo house. I tried to recreate my favorite tacos from Taqueria Los Sanches as best as I could, but we really just made it a taco bar of sorts.

Chicken Taco Toppings | Oysters & Pearls

Tomatoes, onions minced with cilantro, and fresh avocado slices. The limes didn’t make it into the picture above, but they are an essential part of these tacos.

Chicken Tacos | Oysters & Pearls

So much Mexican goodness!!

Chicken Tacos with Avocado | Oysters & Pearls

Might I recommend some legit Los Sanches tacos for your 4th of July celebrations? They are so colorful and festive and fresh! They’d also be tasty with shrimp or fish.

Whatever you’re doing to celebrate this great nation of ours, be safe and remember, freedom isn’t free. Thank a soldier or a veteran this weekend!