Browsing Category:

In the Kitchen

Fall Vegetable Soup

Posted in danielle, In the Kitchen
on October 12, 2017

Fall Vegetable Soup Recipe | The Pineapple Porch


The Pineapple Porch – Delicious Fall Vegetable Soup Recipe

A few years ago a friend of mine invited me over for lunch with some of her friends who were visiting from out of town. At the time we lived on an island in the Caribbean and, although it was fall, it was still about 1,000 degrees past “hot”.  Nevertheless, we were determined to experience Fall somehow so we sat down under a whirling ceiling fan on her screened-in porch to the prettiest orange soup with homemade bread. I think we all had, at least, 3 bowls of soup that day, and after I returned home that afternoon I already wanted more so I emailed her for the recipe. I made the soup many times when we lived in the Cayman Islands and it quickly became a household favorite for us.

The original recipe called for fresh vegetables exclusive to our island in the Caribbean, including the Caymanian version of a pumpkin (different from an American pumpkin) and a starchy vegetable called breadfruit.  When I moved to Tennessee I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to recreate the soup but I wanted to give it a shot. I substituted the Caymanian pumpkin for regular American canned pumpkin and added in butternut squash instead of breadfruit. It worked like a dream! Also, I have learned the key to this soup is the ginger and black pepper, it really elevates the flavors and gives it a unique autumn-esque feel that makes you crave it as soon as you feel the earliest hint of cooler weather.

Continue Reading

Easy, Healthy Labor Day Recipes

Posted in danielle, In the Kitchen
on September 1, 2017

Easy, Healthy Labor Day Recipes | The Pineapple Porch


Boomsday, a massive fireworks show, was one of the most fun traditions in my hometown. The show took place on a major bridge that crossed the Tennessee River and adjacent to every Knoxville-native’s beloved: Neyland Stadium. Tens of thousands of people would gather on land, boat, on top of buildings, and around their television sets to watch the largest firework show in the southeast. The fireworks were coordinated with music selections with everything from the Jaws song, to that year’s popular hits, God Bless America, Rocky Top, and more.  It was a sight to behold and an exceptional way to usher in fall in East Tennessee.

Continue Reading

Vday Cookies for Everyone!

Posted in In the Kitchen, Maggie
on February 11, 2017
Hi there, friends! Valentine’s Day is nearly here — a day that some look forward to and a day that some dread. But no matter your feelings toward this holiday, it’s practically impossible to turn down those inevitable sweet treats that come our way so I figured this would be a great time to share something yummy with you!
Many families have a tradition of baking and decorating cookies during the Christmas season, but I remember this being something my mom always did with my brother Jake and me for Valentine’s Day. We got to shape the cookies, bake and decorate them. I’m sure they looked atrocious, but lucky for us, cookies don’t have to look good to taste good.
But, what stands out to me about this is that after decorating the cookies my mom always took my brother and me to deliver the cookies to people in our little community. We gave them not only to our great aunts and uncles, but also to homebound folks nearby. While Valentine’s Day is marketed as a day for couples, I am really thankful that my mom used this time to teach Jake and me that this day is more about the love that Christ has shown us — and how we can show that love to others — than it is about fancy dinners, roses and chocolate.
Whether you are celebrating this Valentine’s Day with a significant other, or friends and family, I encourage you to use this as a reminder of Christ’s love and grace that we get to experience every single day. Whether this is a day that you look forward to or a day that you dread,

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (ESV).
I wish I could say this that this is an original recipe, but it’s not. This recipe is from The Joy of Cooking, a resource that I think all novice cooks and bakers should take advantage of. Generally, when making cookies to decorate, people stick with a classic sugar cookie. But, since it’s Valentine’s Day I decided to go with a good ole shortbread cut-out cookie instead, topped off by a super easy icing glaze recipe. I find that fancy cookies can be a little tedious to decorate, but this makes a beautiful cookie without hours and hours of work. (You know it’s easy when between both the cookie and the icing recipe there’s a grand total of only eight ingredients!)
Shortbread Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Using a stand-up or hand-held mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.

2. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway to make sure all is mixed well.

3. Beat in vanilla extract until blended into the mixture.

4. Combine flour and salt together, then gently stir into your mixture until well incorporated.

5. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for about an hour or until firm. (I have found that a full hour makes the dough a little too firm to work with, but everyone’s fridge is different!)

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a ¼ inch thick circle. (I actually measured with a ruler because I’m really terrible as eyeballing things like this.)

8. Cut out dough using lightly floured cookie cutters of your choice and place on prepared cookie sheets.

9. Place cookie sheets in refrigerator for 15 minutes. This firms up the cookies so they will hold their shapes while they bake. (This really works – these cookies hardly spread at all while baking.)

10. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are VERY lightly browned, and cool on a wire rack.

Sugar Cookie Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
Food coloring of your choice (optional)
Vanilla extract or other preferred flavoring (optional)

1. Stir powdered sugar, corn syrup and water together. Add preferred food coloring and any desired extracts. (I added a few drops of both vanilla and butter extract.)

2. Stir glaze vigorously until there are no lumps left. 

3. To decorate the cookies, you can dip the cookie in the glaze, twist it around in the icing to make sure the entire surface is covered in the mixture, and pull out, or you can simply pour the glaze over the cookie.

4. Optional: Add sprinkles. (I, of course, added tons.)  
So, there you have it — an easy baking activity for Valentine’s Day! Let us know in the comments or on social media if you decide to give it a try. You might also consider sharing some of these delicious cookies with someone in your life who needs some encouragement or a little extra love. Your kitchen may get a little messy, but the blessing — for them and you — is always worth it.

Until next time! 

Banana Crunch Muffins

Posted in In the Kitchen, Maggie, recipe, thanksgiving
on November 11, 2016

Hi Friends!

Maggie here, and I couldn’t be more excited that we are finally experiencing some fall weather here in the south! The fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the changing of the leaves, having a fire in my old brick fireplace, and all of the things that come with the changing of the season. It’s a beautiful time to reflect on the faithfulness of the Lord, and indulge in the best baking season!
I know most of us who love fall immediately turn to pumpkin-flavored goodies when the leaves start to change, but I want to shake things up a bit. I have a favorite (pumpkin-free) muffin that I absolutely have to share with you. These Banana Crunch Muffins are a favorite in my house in the fall and a definite go-to for when I have guests. And they usually don’t last very long!
Banana Crunch Muffins (Serves 12)
Muffin Ingredients:
1 ½ cups flour, measured correctly
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt (I cook and bake with kosher salt)
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup melted butter
Crunch Topping Ingredients:
½ cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons oats
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Mix well.


In a separate bowl, mix together on low to medium speed the mashed banana, sugar, egg, vanilla, and melted butter. (You can use either a hand or stand mixer.)



Add wet ingredients to your flour mixture and stir just until all ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix! (See baking tips below.)
Using a ¼ measuring cup or ice cream scoop divide the batter into 12 muffin cups.
In a small bowl, stir together all Crunch Topping ingredients. Top each muffin with one tablespoon of the mixture. (My awesome husband was helping me out and making the crunch topping for me as I made this post. I forgot to tell him to add oats, so your topping may look a little different than my pictures!)



Bake 18-20 minutes.



And, as always, here are a few baking tips to take along with you!
Measuring flour and other dry ingredients is important for your recipes to come out best! The proper way to measure flour is to use a spoon to scoop flour into your measuring cup, then use a knife or scraper to level off the top of your measuring cup. This should get your measurements just right!
When making muffins it’s always super important that you do not over-mix your batter. If you do over-mix, you end up overworking the gluten, and will cause your muffins not to rise well, also making them more dense rather than light and fluffy.
When you are making muffins, you want to bake the batter right away, following ingredient portions and mixing instructions carefully. If you do not, the leavening components, like baking powder and baking soda, will have already reacted in the batter before you baked it, resulting in a very dense muffin.
I hope you love these tasty treats as much as my family and I do. Don’t forget to snap a picture and tag us on Instagram (or use our hashtag #tfptalk) as you and your loved ones enjoy these delicious holiday goodies along with us!
Happy Fall, Yall! 

Maggie Cakes: All Things Frosting

Posted in In the Kitchen, Maggie
on July 29, 2016

Summer is in full swing, and if you’re like me, you’re probably knee-deep in birthday parties, cook-outs, and wedding and/or baby showers galore, You want to create something special for each but, at the same time, find something everyone can enjoy. Well, look no further — today I’m bringing to the table my favorite buttercream frosting recipe (you can pair with any cupcake mix) along with some simple cupcake decorations you can use just about anywhere. So, let’s get to it!

Vanilla Frosting Ingredients:
1 stick butter, softened
½ stick (or ½ cup) Crisco
1 pound (box or bag) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons milk or water
Optional: food coloring

1. Using a stand-up or handheld mixer, start by creaming the stick of butter until smooth (about 30 seconds).

2. Add the Crisco and mix with the butter until it is smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl (rubber spatula recommended) to make sure you aren’t going to have any lumps of unmixed Crisco. (Yuck!) 

3. Add vanilla extract and continue until mixed well.

4. Add the powdered sugar and milk, alternating so that each are added in two parts (half the sugar, then half the milk, then the last of the sugar, then the last of the milk). Scrape sides, and mix all until smooth. 

5. And, of course, mix in your choice of food coloring if you want to shake things up! 

    Now, let’s talk about the fun stuff: decorating! Some fun, yet simple, decorations can add so much to a dessert; it could even be used as a centerpiece! 

    (For this post I am using the Wilton tip 1M. This tip is shaped like a star at the end and can be found at WalMart, any craft store or right here. If you are going to have one specific decorating tip on hand, I recommend this one!)

    In the video below I will be showing you how to do three different cupcake decorations, including the rose, the hydrangea and the classic swirl. As an example, my frosting is a dusty rose color, but if you’re feeling brave mix up two different colors of frosting and put a little of each in your frosting bag for a fun effect! (The cupcakes included in this video are maple butter pecan with maple frosting. It should also be noted that my husband ate THREE while he held the camera!)

    And as a bonus, I like to sign off with a few tricks of the trade I’ve learned along the way to help in your baking adventures. Check them out below! 
    Frosting Tip #1:
    When making frosting, it’s always a good idea to use the Crisco brand shortening. Other shortening brands may be less expensive, but they can cause your frosting to have a grainy texture that is noticeable both by appearance and taste. Trust me — Crisco’s worth the extra dough!
    Frosting Tip #2:
    Ready to make some cupcakes but don’t have any decorating bags for the frosting? Grab a Ziploc bag, snip off the corner, slide in your frosting tip, and you’re ready to go! 
    Frosting Tip #3:
    The key to making any cupcake decoration look polished is in the pressure you use as you squeeze your bag of frosting. For the best results, make sure to squeeze the bag steadily as you decorate. Begin releasing pressure on the frosting bag just before you finish your decoration, rather than at the same time. This will allow your frosting to have a cleaner finish, smoother lines and cause less breakage.  

    I hope you’re inspired to try these decorations and to get creative with your own as well.  I’d love to see what you come up with, so snap a picture and tag us on Instagram @_thefront porch

    Oh, and enjoy your cupcakes!

    Lazy Girl Cobbler

    Posted in In the Kitchen, Maggie
    on July 2, 2016
    Happy July! This is a great month for berries; strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, which means it’s a good time for a cobbler! I have watched and helped my Nana make this dozens of times; it’s a great go-to and crowd pleaser. And, you know it’s easy because it’s called Lazy Girl Cobbler. Let’s jump right in!
    2 heaping cups of fruit (or berries of your choice)
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup flour
    1 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 stick butter (yes…a whole stick!)
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Spray your cooking pan. I like a good thick cobbler so I did an 8×8 pan, but 9×13 works fine. In the pictures you’ll see I used a disposable pan because I needed to give this cobbler away or I would eat way too much of it myself!
    3. Wash, slice (if need be), and measure out your fruit. You can use anything: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, apples, or a mixture of them all. If you like lots of fruit you can always add an extra cup.
    4. Wisk together the sugar and flour.
    5. Pour in milk and vanilla, mix until the batter is lump free.


    6. Pour berries into greased pan, and pour the batter evenly over the berries.


    7. Slice butter into tablespoons and dot over the batter and berries. This is what makes it so wonderful…and terribly unhealthy.
    8. Bake cobbler for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Best served warm with vanilla ice cream on top!
    And there you have it, a homemade cobbler all under an hour!
    Cobbler Tip 1:
    This cobbler turns out best using fresh berries, but if the fruit you want is out of season you can use frozen. Make sure to thaw out the fruit completely, and then drain off all of the excess juice. If you skip this step you might have a soggy cobbler!
    Cobbler Tip 2:
    If the fruit you are using is a little tart, slice it up the night before and pour a tablespoon of sugar over it. Stick it in the fridge overnight, and it shouldn’t be nearly as tart when it’s soaked in some of that extra sweetness.


    I hope you all try and enjoy Nana’s Lazy Girl Cobbler recipe, I’m off to the farm to share my strawberry cobbler with her and Popa. If you try it, be sure to share pictures! Happy Baking!

    Everyday Etiquette: Table Talk

    I love setting a table. (I know, nerd alert!) From the china pattern to the centerpiece, I love it all. I learned very early on from my mother and grandmother how to set a table. How a table is set can affect how you enjoy your meal, and, when done right, it can make mealtime more relaxed while creating an open environment for conversation. Setting a table demonstrates you have gone above and beyond and shows you care about making mealtime special for your guests. Try these fancy schmancy (yet very practical) tips next time you invite folks over for dinner:

    Continue Reading

    Let’s Bake with Maggie Cakes

    Posted in In the Kitchen, Maggie
    on May 20, 2016

    I’m so excited to be here sharing some of my favorite recipes and baking tips with you. I’ve loved baking and being in the kitchen for as long as I can remember. I have such sweet memories of my Gran teaching me to make her pound cake, my Nana showing me how to create her “Cherry Wink cookies”, and my mom graciously letting me experiment and make messes in her kitchen. (Thanks, Mom!)

    For those that don’t know me, My name is Maggie, and I am a newlywed raised in good ol’ Walland, Tennessee, and working as a home economics teacher by day. Recently, I decided to take a leap of faith and try something I’ve wanted to do for a while — start my own baking business, Maggie Cakes. (You can check out my cakes here!)
    I recently had a friend tell me that something on her bucket list was to bake a cake. She said that going totally homemade intimidated her, but she wanted more than just a box mix. I loved that this is on her bucket list, and I had a great solution for her. One of my go-to recipes for a simple cake starts with a box of cake mix, but you add a few extra ingredients to make it taste totally homemade. I chose to share the chocolate version of this recipe with you all today because it’s such a baking staple. (And who doesn’t need a little chocolate in now and then?) The good news is, though, you can use this recipe for any flavor by switching up the cake mix and pudding flavors!

    Doctored-Up Chocolate Cake Box Mix
    1 box chocolate cake mix
    1 package chocolate pudding
    ¾ cup sour cream
    ¾ cup vegetable oil
    ½ cup water
    3 large eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla

    1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray or, for cupcakes, line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. (If you are using the cake pans, read my first Baking Tip below!)
    2. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl together. Get to mixing using either a stand mixer or a handheld mixer. You will need to mix for 2 minutes. Don’t skimp on this step — you want that silky smooth batter!

    3. If you’re making cupcakes, use an ice cream scoop, or fill each liner with 3 tablespoons of batter. If you are using 2 cake pans, evenly distribute the batter between the two. The batter will be fairly thick so you can use a knife or rubber scraper to spread it out.
    4. Bake in the preheated oven. Cupcakes: 18-22 minutes // 8-inch cake pans: 33-35 minutes. The cake(s) is/are done when you lightly touch the top and it/they spring(s) back.
    Remove from oven. Cool for 5 minutes (no longer!). Remove cupcakes/cake, and let cool on a cooling rack.

    Baking Tip #1
    Good news: this tip will prevent you from ever having a cake stick to the pan again! All you will need is your cake pan and some parchment paper.
    Set your cake pan on a piece of parchment paper. Using a pencil, trace the bottom of your cake pan onto the parchment paper. Cut out the circle, just inside the line, so that you aren’t baking pencil lead into your cake! Place the circle of parchment paper in your cake pan, and grease the side of the pan with cooking spray, and pour in your cake batter. When the cake has baked and been removed from the pans simply remove the parchment paper. You will have a beautiful cake that’s completely intact!

    Baking Tip #2
    When you have filled your cake pans or muffins tins with cake batter, take the pan and tap it firmly on your kitchen counter 3-4 times. Doing this will help remove the air bubbles in the batter that might cause your cake to fall while baking.

    Baking Tip #3
    Please, I beg of you, do not open the oven door while your cake is baking! I know it is tempting because the cake smells so wonderful and is starting to rise, but resist the temptation. Opening the oven door means the heat will fluctuate and could cause your pretty cake to look like a sunken crater in the middle.
    So there you have it — a simple recipe and great tips to a delicious classic. And I hope this inspires you to go bake a beautiful cake, too! I think one of the best parts about baking is the sharing. I love to bake for friends and family and enjoy sweet fellowship over something yummy. And now you can give it a try!

    Happy Baking!

    Super Bowl Party Tips, Recipes and More!

    Posted in danielle, In the Kitchen
    on February 6, 2016

    Super Bowl Party Tips and Recipes

    Super Bowl Party Tips and Recipes | The Pineapple Porch

    A good Super Bowl party is right up my alley. Being the only girl in a family of football-playing brothers growing up on good ol’ Rocky Top (which basically means you’re born a football fan), I was destined to be a Super Bowl party throwing queen. I have a feeling some of you can relate.

    If you’re planning on having a get-together for the big game, I have come up with few simple tips to throw a fun and relaxing party on Sunday night, perfect for whomever you cheer for. Continue Reading

    Easy as Pie

    Posted in danielle, In the Kitchen
    on November 25, 2015

    My grandmother is known for her delicious southern cooking. One thing she has learned how to do well is to balance making things from scratch, and then having some super simple go-to recipes that will make you think they were way more complicated than they are.

    That’s the case with this super easy chocolate pie. I have eaten it at every Thanksgiving for my whole life and was surprised to know the filling was composed of just 3 ingredients.

    Since it is the day before Thanksgiving, it is not worth the stress of scouring Pinterest for the perfect, possibly elaborate, pie. Also, I remember when I was first learning to cook, I wanted to contribute something, but felt Thanksgiving was not the day to be experimenting. So if you are looking for a simple and cheap can’t-mess-it-up recipe to whip up in a jiffy…look no further! TFP’s got your back!

    My grandmother starts with a store-bought pie crust. I decided to make my own pie crust just for the fun of it. Whatever you choose to do will work just fine!


    Start by putting your graham crackers into a food processor and blending until they are fine.



    Pour graham crackers into a bowl along with sugar and melted butter. Mix until it becomes the consistency of wet sand. (Adjust your crust taste by adding sugar or butter according to your preference!)


    After the crust is mixed, put it in the bottom of a pie platter and stick it in the fridge to set up while you mix the pie filling.


    Also, make sure you enlist only the best of sous chefs while making your pie (he’s really just a real live vacuum cleaner for when I inevitably spill graham crackers on the floor).


    In a separate bowl, add the instant chocolate pudding with 2 cups of cold milk. Whisk the two ingredients together until the mixture is completely smooth. Next, fold in 5-8 ounces of whipped cream. (At this point my husband wanted the mixture more chocolatey so he added Hershey’s chocolate syrup right into the batter.) Whisk the batter until the ingredients are all evenly distributed.


    Grab the pie crust from the fridge and pour your filling into the platter (again…my husband with the syrup – this time on the crust).


    Add another 5 ounces of whipped cream (the best way to to pipe it through a bag) to the top of the pie. I also added crushed oreos for garnish. Stick it in the fridge and let it set up for at least 4-6 hours.

    There you have it! Contributing to Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be stressful or super expensive. This pie is so simple but the effort goes a long way. Plus, everyone loves some chocolate pie! Enjoy your Thanksgiving!