Food Writing & Food Photography from a self-proclaimed Foodie

This morning we went for Sunday breakfast at one of our favorite hole-in-the-wall spots in town.  As we sat, waiting for our food (which turned out to be more like brunch, since we went at noon), I thought to myself, “Now why haven’t I ever done a write-up on this place?”  We’ve been there tons of times, and I don’t know if we’ve ever gotten anything that we haven’t liked.

The menu is very cut and dry, as it is straightforward, homestyle cooking like you would get at your mom’s or grandma’s.  We go there almost exclusively for breakfast on the weekends, but have eaten lunch a couple of times, and enjoyed it just as much as breakfast.

The offerings are pretty basic, but there is something for pretty much everyone.  Classic buttermilk pancakes – one type, one style.  For less than a dollar extra, however, you can add pecans or bananas to your pancakes and they will not only cook them into your batter, but also serve them atop your stack.  This morning I had pancakes with bananas, and was quite pleased when they arrived to find them cooked into the pancake as well as stacked on top.  They also have one other type of pancake dish, called Branson’s Saddlebags – a pairing of pancake with breakfast meat(s) that equals AMAZING.  In this order, there is one pancake with sausage cooked into the batter, along with one pancake with bacon cooked into the batter.  They are served atop one another, with a braised egg on top of the pancake stack; slap some butter on the pancakes and drizzle maple syrup atop the whole thing, and you have sweet, savory, salty altogether in every bite.  This dish may not be the most dietetic that is out there, but it is worth the carb-blowing treat every once in a while!

If you’re not a pancake fan, they have most breakfast stand-bys and standard fare:  eggs, waffles, French toast, biscuits and gravy, grits, omelets made-to-order, Eggs Benedict, corned beef hash and eggs.  They have breakfast meats, of course:  bacon, sausage, ham, corned beef.  I’m sure that I’m forgetting something, but you get the idea.  I have had eggs in pretty much every way that they make them, and the French toast is amazingly good – made from Texas Toast sized bread, cooked to perfection, and sprinkled slightly with cinnamon and powdered sugar.  Sometimes we put butter and syrup on it, sometimes we just eat it the way it comes!  The biscuits and gravy remind me of the kind that my grandmother made from scratch when I was a kid, every time our family all got together for holidays at her house:  biscuits baked from scratch, and white gravy with chunks of sausage cooked within its creamy yumminess.  I have had an omelet a couple of times, as has guests that I have taken to Mom’s with me; all agree that the omelets are amazing and pretty much made-to-order however you like it…but also HUGE.  I’ve never seen anyone finish an omelet at Mom’s.

Another aspect of Mom’s that I like is the fact that they also serve dishes that are sometimes considered outside the traditional, homestyle breakfast.  They serve Migas (scrambled eggs with tortilla strips, onions, tomatoes, and sometimes green peppers), Breakfast tacos (sausage/egg, steak/egg, bacon/egg), Machacas (these are basically migas with steak cooked in) served with tortillas and salsa, etc.  I have had all of these varieties and have yet to find anything bad to say about them.  Everything is cooked to order, so you are always assured that you are getting your order fresh, just-made, from the kitchen.  I’ve had the Eggs Benedict, which I was hesitant to order, but surprisingly pleased with the rich, full flavors of their Hollandaise sauce served over sliced ham and English Muffin.  On more than one other occasion, I have enjoyed the corned beef hash and scrambled eggs, which are cooked with diced onions – adding a salty savory flavoring combo that pairs well with juice.

As I mentioned before, we mainly frequent Mom’s for the amazing breakfast fare, but have on a couple of occasions ordered lunch while dining there.  I have had their catfish, which I found to be quite tasty – not over-breaded and not over-fried – and served with coleslaw and fried okra.  I have also been there at “brunchtime” and wanted breakfast while wanting lunch at the same time.  I ordered, one time, a fried egg burger (that is NOT on the menu), and they made it exactly to my specifications – once again another amazing meal.  The flavors of the hamburger – patty cooked perfectly, with mayo, lettuce, tomato – paired with the rich flavors of a fried egg over-medium created for me the perfect combination of breakfast and lunch.

The service is always fantastic, and we’ve been going there long enough now that the staff and servers know us when we walk into the door, where we are greeted with a wave, a “hi, come on in and sit down,” or even a hug from our favorite server and friend.  The prices are very affordable, as this is a no-nonsense hole-in-the-wall that is nestled in between a nail salon and a karate studio in a strip center.  You can take kids there and not have a problem finding something on the menu that they will like.  Tables and chairs, as well as booths, line the small space, plain but functional and lending to the old diner feel of the place.  They’ll provide you with never empty coffee, as well as water, soda, tea, or juice.  Definitely worth putting into your GPS and going to check them out – and don’t be surprised if you have to wait for a table on the weekends….the place is busier than most probably realize, judging from the average look to the place.  If you go, ask for Melissa, and tell them Tanya and Erikka sent you.

Mom’s Cafe  

3108 Old Denton Road, Suite #112 / Carrollton, Tx. 75007

Phone:  972.492.0004


Not too long ago, I made my first ever mac & cheese from scratch.  Prior to this experience, I had always and only made mac & cheese from a box labeled Kraft.  Well, after making my own from scratch – twice now – I will NEVER make or eat mac & cheese from a box again.  It’s just too easy to make it myself, and it tastes oh so much better!  The first time I made it, I watched a chef on Food Network make a fancy three-cheese version, and I tweaked it to our tastes and made it with Smoked Gouda, Gruyere, and Sea Salt Cheddar.  It was OMG SO GOOD.  This afternoon I decided to make it again, but didn’t want to spend as much on the cheese as I had before, so off to Market Street I went.  With some help and samplings from the amazing cheese goddess, I was soon on my way home with ingredients in hand.  She showed me a French version, somewhat, of Gruyere cheese (which is Swiss) – the difference was amazing:  softer, creamier, milder, and WAY less expensive.  I was sold, and you will be, too – this dish was amazing!


  • 1 block of Smoked Gouda cheese, grated (yields 1-2 cups)
  • 1 block of French Comte’ cheese, grated (yields 1-2 cups)
  • 2 cups milk (I used Almond Milk, Vanilla unsweetened – helps with my allergies)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • Sea Salt, about 1 tsp.
  • White Pepper, about 1/2 tsp.
  • Heart Healthy Pasta, the shape of your choice (I like the kind that looks like corkscrews)
  • Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Bacon Bits


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In saucepan, cook pasta until water is boiling and pasta is tender (add 1 tsp. of oil to prevent sticking)
  • In a large pot, melt butter and mix with flour
  • Pour all of the milk in; cook until just about to boil, stirring occasionally
  • Mix in grated cheese and stir until all cheeses are melted and blended well with the milk sauce; add sea salt and white pepper
  • Mix in cooked pasta with cheese sauce; stir together well
  • Pour cheesy pasta into casserole dish; top with Panko Breadcrumbs and Bacon Bits
  • Cook in oven until top is crunchy and cheese sauce is bubbling slightly
  • Serve and enjoy!

Healthy Potato Latkes

Last year during Hanukkah, we were trying to teach our youngest some of the traditions of the holiday, along with stories, games, and food.  We had been eating a very low-calorie and low-carb diet for a couple of months prior to that, so we were perplexed as to how we could make traditional Hanukkah fare:  Potato latkes.  Well, we found a recipe on Real Simple’s website for latkes that you bake, rather than frying in oil – yay!  Here are the stats (per serving):

  • Calcium:  5 mg.
  • Calories:  50
  • Carbs:  8 g.
  • Cholesterol:  18 mg.
  • Fat:  2 g.
  • Fiber:  1 g.
  • Protein:  1 mg.
  • Sodium:  104 mg.


  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 large pkg. shredded hash browns (or you can make your own, using 5 medium Yukon gold potatoes)
  • 1 med. red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Applesauce and sour cream, for serving


  • Heat oven to 450 degrees; spray baking sheets and set aside
  • Place the thawed hash browns in a large bowl with the onion, flour, salt, pepper, eggs, and tbsp. of oil.  Toss to mix well
  • Drop by rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets and press lightly to make patties
  • Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom; turn the latkes with a metal spatula and rotate the baking sheets.  Bake another 5 minutes or until golden
  • Transfer to a platter and serve with the applesauce and/or sour cream

This is a recipe that we found this past Thanksgiving, posted online by Hungry Girl.  We had been fiercely dieting and losing weight, and didn’t want to blow it when confronted with all of the holiday foods from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  So we found a recipe to a crustless pumpkin pie, and then we tweaked it to be able to use Truvia rather than sugar or Splenda.  Here are the stats (per serving):

  • 65 calories
  • <0.5g fat
  • 81 mg. sodium
  • 12g carbs
  • 1g fiber
  • 7g sugars
  • 5g protein
  • Points value:  1


  • 1 (15 oz.) can pure pumpkin
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk, reduced fat or fat-free
  • 1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters)
  • 18 packets Truvia sweetener
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Fat-free Cool Whip


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine all ingredients in large bowl or mixer and mix thoroughly
  • Place mixture in a baking dish (8″ x 8″ works well) sprayed lightly with nonstick spray; bake for 45 minutes (it will remain a little soft, like pie filling)
  • Once ready to serve (it’s delicious eaten hot or cold), cut into 9 pieces.
  • Spoon Cool Whip on top and serve.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

I have had many different chicken tortilla soups over the years, but truthfully and unashamedly I prefer my own.  I don’t have the stats on this, but I know it is fairly low-calorie, and if you want lower carb counts, you CAN leave the tortillas out of the soup and it will taste almost the same (and yes, I’ve done it both ways).


  • 6 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 8 (6 inch) white corn tortillas, coarsely chopped
  • 6 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 1 (20 oz. ) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 5-6 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into small pieces
  • Tortilla chips or homemade tortilla crispy strips (I do the latter)
  • Shredded cheddar-jack cheese
  • Avocado slices


  • In a large stock pot, heat vegetable oil.  Add tortillas, garlic, cilantro and onion.  Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  • Add cumin, chili powder, bay leaves, and chicken stock.  Return to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add salt and cayenne.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes, remove bay leaves, and stir in chicken pieces.  Heat through and serve.
  • Ladle into individual serving bowls; garnish with shredded cheese and avocado slices, to taste.  Serve with tortilla chips or homemade crispy tortilla strips.

When making the low-cal pulled pork, I wanted to find a recipe for coleslaw, since it goes hand in hand with bbq, as far as I’m concerned.  Well, bless her heart, Hungry Girl came to the rescue again with her “Slaw of Attraction” recipe.  Here are the stats (per serving):

  • Calories:  49
  • Fat:  <0.5 g
  • Sodium:  304 mg.
  • Carbs:  9.5 g
  • Fiber:  2 g
  • Sugars:  5 g
  • Protein:  1.25 g
  • Points value:  1


  • One 16-oz. pkg. cole slaw mix, dry
  • 1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijonnaise
  • 2 no-calorie sweetener packets (I use Truvia, but Splenda, Stevia, etc. can be used also)
  • 1/4 tsp. seasoned salt (I didn’t use it to try and keep sodium down)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • To make the dressing, combine mayo, sour cream, rice vinegar, Dijonnaise, sweetener, and seasoned salt; Mix well.
  • Place cole slaw mix in large bowl; add dressing and stir until all of the slaw is thoroughly coated.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (for best flavor, make slaw the night before you plan to serve it).  Then give it a good stir, add season to taste with salt and pepper.

I love, love, LOVE barbecue – and living in the South, it’s something that I have always had readily available.  But the sugar in the sauces made the carbs and calories through the roof!  Well, God bless Hungry Girl for creating a recipe for low-calorie and semi-low-carb Pulled Pork!  Here are the stats (per serving):

  • 220 calories
  • 6g fat
  • 540 mg. sodium
  • 16g carbs
  • 1g fiber
  • 12g sugars
  • 24g protein
  • POINTS value – 5


  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (I use Reduced Sugar Ketchup to lower the calories a bit more)
  • 2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. brown sugar (I use the Splenda blend of brown sugar, again, to lower calories a bit more)
  • 2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 cups sliced onion, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 3/4 lb. raw lean boneless pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat
  • 3/4 lb. raw boneless pork shoulder (the leanest piece you can find), trimmed of excess fat
  • Optional:  crushed red pepper (I didn’t use this)


  • To make the sauce, place all ingredients except onion and pork in the crock pot.  Stir until mixed.  Add onion and pork and coat well with the sauce.
  • Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours OR on low for 7-8 hours, until pork is fully cooked.
  • Remove all of the pork and place it in a large bowl or on a large cutting board.  Shred each piece using two forks.
  • Return the shredded pork to the crock pot and mix well with the sauce.
  • Serve on thin, multi-grained buns or with no bread for lower carbs/calories; can also serve with Hungry Girl’s coleslaw