Eat & Drink

Spicy Maple Glazed Rumaki

As a wife, mom + food enthusiast with a passion for sharing love through my kitchen, and the blogger behind Girl Meets Kitchen, Julia Esch knows a thing or two about creating recipes with real ingredients. Below, she shares her recipe for spicy maple glazed rumaki.

Rumaki. Everything about word makes me smile. From the ingredients and quasi-Polynesian heritage to the City Slickers reference it brings to mind – the appetizer is all things unique and quirky. It needed a little makeover in my opinion, and the makeover I had in mind added an entirely new flair to this once popular bite. Below you will find the recipe for my spicy maple glazed rumaki.

In its original form, Rumaki is a typically a water chestnut and pieces of chicken liver wrapped in bacon with a soy based glaze. My first experience of the appetizer was at a wedding and I was equal parts intrigued + determined something was missing. To start, anything with bacon as a staple ingredient has great legs. After pondering over each bite a bit with one of my wedding companions, the lightbulb went off in my brain and I immediately knew how to vamp up these dated morsels and give them some flair: add some sweet and add some heat.

Per usual, the quality of ingredients matters – so choose your bacon wisely. While I’m normally enamored with thick bacon (affectionately known as “stacon” in my family,) thin is best for Rumaki to ensure it crisps up nicely when wrapped around the water chestsnuts. You can also determine what you’d prefer for sliced or whole water chestnuts – I prefer them whole because they give the bites a better crunch. I also par baked my bacon slices to ensure the flavors came together and there were no undercooked bites.

These are really simple to make but offer a bold flavor. Bring them to any party + let the conversations lead you where they may (City Slickers references or not!)


  • 1 lb. all natural bacon (not thick cut)
  • 1 large fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1 5 oz. can whole water chestnuts (see note above regarding whole or sliced), strained
  • 4-5 tbsp. pure organic maple syrup
  • 2-3 tbsp. red pepper flakes, depending on heat preference
  • toothpicks


  1. Layer 2 sheet pans with parchment paper, setting one aside for the second round of baking + preheat oven to 400 F. Soak the toothpicks in a water bath to avoid burning during the cooking process
  2. Cut the bacon slices in thirds and lay them in a single layer across one lined sheet pan
  3. Lightly coat each piece of bacon with the maple syrup using a basting brush
  4. Sprinkle each piece with the red pepper flakes and lay sliced jalapenos atop the bacon
  5. Par bake for 8-10 minutes and remove from oven
  6. Using 2 strips of bacon for each water chestnut, wrap each chestnut like a present with the par baked bacon + secure with a toothpick. Place a jalapeno atop each wrapped Rumaki and place on the second lined baking sheet. Complete until all the water chetsnuts and bacon is gone.
  7. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until bacon has reached desired crispness. Yields approximately 12-16 pieces.
  8. Serve + Enjoy!
Eat & Drink

Salted Caramel Iced Coffee

Coffee and I have a Love, Love relationship. I will admit I used to HATE coffee. This would be about 3 years ago. Now I can’t go a day without a cup….or 2. I’m typically a black coffee type of gal. I have been mixing things up lately this summer and wanted to try my hand at some iced coffee recipes. This Salted Caramel Iced Coffee is the ultimate winner! Perfect for those hot summer days where you need a cool drink in hand.

My husband is a big lover of iced coffee, so in the last year I decided to try them out. I was instantly hooked on this creamy sugary goodness. Time is precious to me being a business owner, but this recipe takes 5 minutes or less to whip up. All of you out there that have a big addiction to coffee shops, this will help curb that! Easy and tastes just like a $4-$5 iced coffee from Starbucks. (No joke.)

What you will need to make this Salted Caramel Iced Coffee:

  • A glass (We use these Mason Jar Mugs)
  • Ice
  • Coffee Concentrate (chilled in refrigerator)
  • Caramel Syrup
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Sea Salt
  • Half and Half
  • Cute Straw

Directions on how to make this Salted Caramel Iced Coffee:

  1. Start with a Mason Jar Mug full of ice

2. Fill the mug 3/4 full of the chilled coffee concentrate

3. Add 4 teaspoons of sweetened condensed milk

4. Add in 2-3 teaspoons of caramel syrup

5. Add in a pinch of sea salt to taste

6. Add in enough half and half to top off the mug.

7. Place a cute straw into the iced coffee and stir.

8. Add in more caramel or sweetened condensed to your liking

9. Enjoy!

Eat & Drink

Festive Fourth of July Pudding Cookies

Who would’ve guessed that I would fall in love with pudding cookies so much. These are hands down the softest cookies I have ever made. What’s great about these Festive Fourth of July Pudding Cookies is that you can easily change it up with different m&m colors and a different flavor of pudding.

Easy & quick recipes are the absolute best. Holidays creep up on me and it’s nice to have a recipe to whip up quickly. You can find my other favorite cookies recipes (Red Velvet and Peanut Butter) with the ingredients and instructions as well. The secret ingredients in this recipe are the brown sugar and pudding. If you love your cookies soft – these will be a winner in your book!

You can completely change the cookie with one simple substitution. Try these cookies with chocolate pudding instead of vanilla and create some more chocolate-y goodness. I chose a simple vanilla pudding for these cookies, so you really taste the brown sugar and vanilla you’d expect from a chocolate chip cookie.

These cookies are easy and come together fast. They do require 30 minutes of chilling. I wanted to find some festive m&m’s, but couldn’t find them at the store. I decided I was going to buy a regular bag of m&m’s and pick out the red and blue ones. There was plenty in the bag with extra leftover. We all know that cookies are perfect for summer parties. They don’t melt or require serving utensils, which makes these the perfect party cookie!

The 40 minutes prep time has the chilling time of 30 minutes included.


Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
55 min
  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  2. 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 box (3.4 ounces) INSTANT Vanilla Pudding Mix (just the mix!)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  9. 1/8 cup red and/or blue sprinkles (or any colors)
  10. 1/2 cup Red & Blue M&Ms; (or any color of M&M;)
  1. Cream butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. (You can also use a hand mixer – I did!) Mix in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Add in pudding mix, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Mix in flour, then stir in sprinkles and M&Ms.;
  2. Scoop 2 tablespoon balls of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat baking mats. Place chilled cookie dough balls 2” apart on cookie sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes or until the edges just start to turn brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to one month.