Club Sandwich with Avocado, Fried Egg, and Spinach

I love a good sandwich, so when I saw Malcolm and Jillian’s insanely delicious looking Club Sandwich on their blog, FROM AWAY, it became an instant contender for PUGTATO’s Kitchen Workouts. I happen to be a sucker for sandwiches held together by toothpicks.  Something about them is just enticing.  They are always delicious!  It must be because they are exploding with ingredients.

When I find a new blog, one of my favorite things to do read is the “About” section.  I like to know about the writers.  It’s interesting to learn why the bloggers are writing and to gain a little insight into someone else’s world.  This tidbit from FROM AWAY’s “About” section had me instantly hooked:

We don’t have any training or experience in the restaurant business, don’t own any fancy cookware, and have no special equipment. We don’t even own a decent knife. We believe, however, that anyone who cooks, regardless of skill level, can make interesting, inspired, delicious food. Our goal is to help our readers do just that.” ~From Away

I love that philosophy! Approachable, delicious food. Count me in. This sandwich delivers. It is pleasing to the eyes and the tastebuds. In addition, I experienced the nirvana that is perfectly frying my egg, on the first try.  Whatever you do, do not overcook your egg. Over cooked eggs have a distinct sulphur taste (and smell) and you want some drippy deliciousness dripping down your sandwich. (Trust me.)

Now, I suggest you take a moment to peruse FROM AWAY, roll up your sleeves, and dig in to this messy, towering take on a Club sandwich as #31 in PUGTATO’S Kitchen Workouts.

pugtato club sandwich recipes creativity turkey spinach avocado egg


Club Sandwich pugtato kitchen workouts creativity cooking

From Away’s California Club

(Original recipe available here.)

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 3 slices sandwich bread, toasted white, wheat, whatever kind you desire
  • raw baby spinach leaves
  • deli turkey (we got a pound, super thinly sliced)
  • tomato, sliced
  • bacon, cooked (amount to your discretion_
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 fried egg, over-medium


  1. Make your chipotle mayo.  Chipotle peppers are spicy so PUGTATO’s suggestion is to start with less than more- you can always add but you can’t take out!  Combine the mayo and peppers in a food processor or by using an immersion blender.
  2. Let the sandwich building begin. Bottom Layer: Take one pice of toast and slather it with the spicy mayo.  Top with spinach, then tomato, turkey, turkey, cheese.  Amount of each subject to your taste.
  3. Middle layer:  Slather another piece of toast with the mayo and place mayo’ed side down on the bottom layer.  Now slather the top of that piece of bread. (PUGTATO’s Optional ingredient: a 3 mile run, to burn off guilt due to excessive necessary mayo-ing.) Top with spinach, avocado, turkey, tomato, cheese, bacon.
  4. Top layer:  On top of the bacon, delicately place your perfectly fried egg and piece of toast that has been slathered with the chipotle mayo.
  5. Carefully, squish your sandwich just a little bit so the egg yolk drips down and coats your sandwich.  Insert toothpicks, cut on a diagonal and enjoy.


How to avoid committing PUGTATO’s Top Three Social Media Faux-Pas

Have you ever wanted to delete that Facebook post or Tweet right after you posted it?  Found your content copied and pasted on someone else’s blog or profile?  Gave permission for a reblog only to discover the link to your original work was left out?

social media faux pas blunders pugtato etiquette


One thing I have learned as I have built this blog and grown my own social media network, is that online etiquette is a skill that requires real, conscious effort.  If you have ever been the brunt of other’s online faux-pas, you know how frustrating that can be.  To help demystify how to be a courteous , contributing member of the online world, today I give you PUGTATO’s Top Three Social Media & Online Faux Pas, and how to avoid committing them.



PUGTATO’s RECOMMENDATION:  Just don’t.  ALTERNATIVE: Come up with your own or ask for permission to share the content you like.

Content comes in all forms, blog posts, profiles, websites, collateral design, brand messaging.  Creating that perfect blog post, LinkedIn profile or branding takes time.  Lots of it.  There’s a reason that you were drawn to the content of one online media over another, and that’s the hard work of someone doing research, drafting, re-drafting, throwing out the tenth draft, starting over, and finally coming up with those perfect words that draw you in. So, if you like what you see, come up with your own using what you liked as inspiration.  You will then appreciate how much effort goes into creating that perfect post, job description, professional summary, etc.

Asking for permission to share content is another alternative to coming up with your own.  If permission to reblog, or share, is granted, list the real author and include what you like about the content. After all, your readers/followers have connected with you because they are interested in hearing from you!  Add your perspective/comment to the piece and make sure to include a link back to the original work with a clear statement that you are not the author.  Don’t be offended if the author does not want you to copy and paste an entire post and asks you to just provide a summary with a link.  In WordPress this is very easily done by using the “reblog” button at the bottom of a post.  It will generate the correct link and trackback for you, while providing your page with a summary.


PUGTATO’s RECOMMENDATION: Stop, think and read before you post. ALTERNATIVE: Pretend you are on national television every time you post.  If you wouldn’t say it on national TV, don’t say it online.

YAY! Social and the online world provide a platform to voice opinions for the world to see!  Oh wait…the whole world can see.  Ya get what I’m sayin’?  My advice is to stop, think and read before you post. Don’t post when you are angry, tired, or under the influence.  You know that driving while intoxicated is dangerous, so is posting online.  While deleting that tweet, Facebook post, link share or blog post might seem like an easy quick answer, there is this thing called cache, and it saves permalinks.  Many times this means your post lives on, for a while, after you delete it.  Just ask some of the people who lost their jobs over one bad post.  It happens.


PUGTATO’s RECOMMENDATION: Say thank you.  Say it a lot.  ALTERNATIVE: Say thank you more than you think you should.

Social communities thrive on participation.  They are, in fact, social.  When someone stops by your blog to read, thank them.  When someone shares your post, thank them again.  When you get a retweet, thank that person too.  When someone takes the time to read and comment on your work, comment back, thank them.  Get the picture? When social becomes a one way street and you push out content without acknowledging your readers, two things happen: 1) you run the very real risk of losing reader engagement, 2) you’ve lost sight of the purpose of social media.  You might as well just stand in front of a mirror and talk to yourself. Another way to say thank you is by reading other people’s work!  Search around for some blogs you like and actually read them after you hit follow or subscribe.

Those are PUGTATO’s Top Three Social Media and Online Faux Pas.  Remember, you are what you tweet, so be nice.  Don’t be a twerp.  Tell me… What’s the biggest social media faux pas you have experienced?

Related Content:


Avocado, Blackberry, Spinach, Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese

Upgrade your grilled cheese experience with PUGTATO’s Avocado Blackberry Grilled Cheese.  This grilled cheese is decadent, different and tasty. This is #30 in my creative brain workout called PUGTATO’s Kitchen Workouts!

blackberry avocado grilled cheese

PUGTATO’S Avocado Blackberry Grilled Cheese

  • Pesto, jarred or make your own
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Avocado, thickly sliced
  • Spinach
  • Blackberries, smashed
  • Mozzarella
  • Bread
  1. Prep all ingredients.
  2. Butter Bread
  3. Make sandwich open-faced, layering in this order starting closest to the bread for side one:
    • Pesto
    • Mozzarella slice
    • Smashed blackberries
    • Goat Cheese Crumbles
    • Spinach
  4. Side Two:
    • Pesto
    • Mozzarella slice
    • Goat Cheese Crumbles
    • Smashed Blackberries
    • Avocado
  5. Turn Heat on Medium, place each side into pan, cook covered until cheese is melted
  6. Take pieces of bread out one at a time and smush together.
  7. Enjoy!

avocado blackberryngrilled cheese

Help! School is turning my child into a french fry!

Or that’s my fear, anyways.

We have always been healthy eaters and I thank my parents for raising me on vegetables and balanced meals. A couple of years ago my husband and I watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and we were horrified to see the awful food children are being fed in our school systems. When Jamie came back for season two, well, lets just say that the US public school system was not ready to welcome him and the season was a flop. Schools appeared to be focused on one thing- doing the bare minimum to get “nutritious” food to our children all while getting the cheapest, most processed food available.  Saving on the bottom line now is only going to cost our future generations more in the long run as diabetes, cancer and heart disease all plague our population.

I’ll tell you one thing.  We don’t eat like that at home, and I would not want my child to have processed or sugary foods as her only healthy school luncheschoices for eating.  (Yes, I hear you nay-sayers, I can pack a lunch. And I will, when that time comes.)  In a world where the government considers pizza a vegetable , and where a third of our population is obese, it is time to look in the mirror! You are what you eat.  So, if you eat pizza and french fries every day, well, 1+1=2, if you know what I’m saying.

My beef with school cafeterias goes all the way back to my days as an elementary student.  Yes, you read that correctly.  My elementary school decided to use disposable trays, and as a 4th grader, I decided to start the Jr. Environmentalists League, which refused to throw away trays and started spreading the word about recycling and saving the planet.  You might say that I irritated many a cafeteria worker that year.  I happen to be pretty persistent. Especially about causes that I believe in.

Today I’m asking for your help to team up with Real Food for Kids Montgomery, an advocacy group that wants our children in Montgomery County, MD to have healthy, REAL food options.  Currently kids can get a chocolate milk and a cinnamon bun for free in their classroom.  I can’t believe that is even true. (Someone please tell me I’m wrong.  This is just what I have been told.) Real Food for Kids has done great work helping our local schools to start to make changes to remove additives from some foods our children are offered, and to increase transparency about what our children are being offered as choices.  Many parents are not happy when they learn about the wide availability of processed salty or sugary snacks available to kids.  Real Food for Kids wants to help Montgomery County Public Schools to increase healthy choices like vegetables, fruits and water.  Instead of pre-cooked, reheated processed foods, RFKM aims to get fresh cooked meals on the plates of our kids.

Real Food for Kids Montgomery will be testifying in front of the Board of Directors of MoCO PS June 3rd in Rockville, MD and presenting a petition in support of their cause, no scratch that, our children’s cause.  Please take a moment to read the petition and sign it!  Even better, if you can attend, do it!  For more information please email  If you want to testify use this email  If you can’t do either, please share this post so others know what is happening.

If you need some additional facts here are some from the petition:

  1. Currently one-third of all American children are overweight, and of that group, approximately 17% are obese. Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled(1), leading to a lifetime of chronic illnesses. If this trend continues, one-third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives(2).
  2. In Maryland, the prevalence of diabetic adults has grown from 6.8% in 1999 to 8.7% in 2008, which continues to be above national levels(3). In addition, there are significant racial and ethnic disparities. Black females (12.5%) in Maryland have almost double the diabetic rates of white females (6.8%)(4).
  3. Nationwide, 40% of children in African-American and Hispanic communities are suffering from overweight or obesity(5). Given a growing body of research that suggests that obesity is associated with poorer academic performance beginning as early as kindergarten(6), this could help explain some portion of the achievement gap.
  4. Within MCPS schools, many a la carte and vending items sold are high in sugar (note: the American Heart Association recommends that children ages 4-8 consume no more than 3 teaspoons and pre-teens and teenagers consume no more than 5-8 teaspoons of added sugar daily)(7). They also contain ingredients found to be less than safe by the Center for Science in the Public Interest(8). Often, students will select and eat these items instead of fruits, vegetables, and meals. In addition, most of the foods served in MCPS meals are processed and contain additives, some of which have been shown to cause cancer, hyperactivity, and other behavioral impairments in children(9).”

We are lucky in Montgomery County, MD to have some of the highest rated public schools in the country.  This is MoCoPS’s opportunity to take a leadership role in revolutionizing the way our children are educated and fed.  It certainly won’t happen over night, and it won’t happen with out an internal champion.  Change is never easy.  Change for the right reason is always good.  Let’s do this MoCoPS.  Let’s show the rest of the country how we revolutionized school food and taught our children healthy habits for life.

more fruits and vegetables in montgomery county maryland schools

Apple Cider Pulled Pork

We had an Apple Pie Moonshine making birthday party for my husband and I needed a main entrée to complement the palette of the drink. Enter, Apple Cider Pulled Pork.  After perusing through a few recipes, I decided to head on over to Gimme Some Oven because Ali has yet to steer me in the wrong direction.  Her recipes are delicious and I suggest you check her blog out!  Also- I noticed we have the same slow cooker, so obviously, this recipe was meant to be.

I didn’t change a thing about this recipe other than doubling the marinade and using 5 lbs of pork shoulder due to the amount of people we were feeding.  I made this one for the same party where we had PUGTATO’s famous Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Trifle, which you should also make.

Apple Cider Pulled Pork Pugtato

I put out some vinegar based BBQ sauce to top the sandwiches.  The taste of the sauce the pork cooks in is so good that you really don’t need extra sauce, but I have a need to always have extra sauce on hand so, c’est la vie! We love Guy Fieri’s “Carolina No.6 Mop and Slop“(spicy, vinegar based) and “Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ” (tangy, sweeter, thicker, still has a kick).  No chemicals, just good sauce.  YUM.

Since I can take zero credit for this recipe and I changed nothing- I send you to Gimme Some Oven for a big mouthful of deliciousness. Quickly, head on over to GIMME SOME OVEN’S APPLE CIDER PULLED PORK!

Mom’s Split Pea Soup

It’s s-n-o-w-ing. Again.  Winter seems to want to stick around forever this  year. This means my slow cooker is earning its keep.  We’ve made more slow cooker meals this year than ever before.

Today’s recipe is my Mom’s Split Pea Soup.  Here’s what I like about it: 1) It’s delicious. 2) You can have dinner prepped and into the crockpot in under ten minutes. 3) It feeds you for more than one meal.  Believe me, if we made this with an infant in the house, you can do this too!! I also find this recipe fun because you use an immersion blender at the end.  Why I find this entertaining I cannot explain.  It just is.

Here’s to hoping this is the last s-n-o-w (I dare not say the word for putting a curse on DC and inviting more of the white stuff) storm of the year.

Mom's split pea soup pugtato dinner recipes easy


Mom's split Pea soup pugtato easy dinner recipes

Mom’s Split Pea Soup


  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 smaller bag of shredded carrots
  • 1 box of nitrate free ham, cubed (We like Hormel Natural Choice Honey Ham)
  • 1 bag of split peas
  • 1 quart of low sodium Chicken Broth (We like Pacific Organics. It’s the lowest sodium of all the brands I could find. Also, its made from free range chickens.)
  • 1 c water
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan Cheese


  1. Chop celery and onion, put into crock pot
  2. Cube ham, put into crock pot
  3. Dump in bag of carrots and split peas
  4. Add broth, water, salt and pepper
  5. Cook soup on low for 6 hours.
  6. At 6 hours use immersion blender and blend until slightly chunky but blended
  7. Serve drizzled with Olive oil and parmesan  cheese

How hard could cooking 52 recipes in 52 weeks be?

Turns out pretty hard. Those of you who have been with PUGTATO from the beginning know that I set a goal to cook 52 recipes in 52 weeks as part of a creative challenge to myself.

Here I am, a year and half later, and finally, FINALLY, I am half way through this challenge.  It would be so easy right now to just give up and be done with it all. But that defeats the purpose! 52 recipes in 52 weeks was an unrealistic timeline, but the challenge of 52 recipes itself is not unrealistic! Every time I feel like throwing the towel in, I scroll through my blog and revisit recipes I never would have tried had it not been for this challenge.

52 recipes in 52 weeks PUGTATO

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

I’ve tried great recipes and not so great recipes.  I’ve failed miserably at a few and laughed at the final results.  (Those, by the way, never make it to press, because who wants to make a garbage can eligible recipe?)

I am encouraged by the fact that when I log on to Pinterest, my “I made this” board is growing.  My guess is that of the millions of pins that are posted each day, very few of them actually ever get made.  I am proud of the fact that I am actually making these recipes and that I’m turning these little electronic tidbits into real meals, shared across a table with friends.

So hang on, readers!  We still have another 26 or so recipes to go!  Fire up those kitchens and let’s get cooking!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Trifle

I like to post PUGTATO teasers to Facebook to see what types of recipes people are most interested in.  Today’s recipe received a bump in the queue due to an overwhelming demand from my friends.  Thanks for all the feedback, lovely friends!

Reese's Trifle Dessert PUGTATO

There are never too many Reese’s in one’s life.

The Reese’s Trifle.  I had been staring at this recipe on Pinterest for probably two years, and had yet to pull the trigger. All that changed this weekend when I decided it was time to give it a try with a little PUGTATO spin!

After searching unsuccessfully at HomeGoods and TJ Maxx for a Trifle dish on Friday, I had an epiphany and I ordered one off Amazon at 5 PM, set for arrival the next day by Noon, leaving me to wonder why I even left the house in the first place? PUGTATO’s Note: Seriously, Amazon. I love you.

Reese's Trifle pugtato dessert recipes

I would definitely consider this recipe a success.  It gets five stars for ease to make and five stars for deliciousness.

Reese's Trifle dessert PUGTATO


  • 3 big bags Reese’s cups, cut in fourths
  • 1 package snack sized Reese’s cups, cut in half
  • 2 containers Cool Whip, thawed
  • 2, 5.1 oz boxes vanilla pudding
  • 6 cups 1% Milk
  • 2 cups Peanut Butter
  • 1 box of Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownies
  • A bag of Reese’s Pieces- you determine the size. I won’t tell if you buy the big one so you can eat the extras later.


  1. Make brownies according to directions. PUGTATO’s NOTE: I made the brownies the night before which is a huge time saver. Also, do not cheap out and use a generic Betty Crocker or Dunkin Hines Brownie Mix.  If you are going to use boxed brownies for a guest pleasing dessert, you must use Ghirardelli Brownies! In PUGTATO’s opinion, of course.
  2. If making brownies the day of, you must allow them to cool before using in the recipe. Once cool break brownies into bite size chunks. PUGTATO’s NOTE: I also suggest cutting off the edges of the brownies if they got crunchy in the oven.
  3. Prepare pudding according to box instructions. PUGTATO’S NOTE: I suggest using instant pudding, making the boxes of pudding individually and leaving separate until further steps.  Something about doubling always goes poorly for me.
  4. Into each pudding bowl, add 1 cup of peanut butter (total of 2 cups of pb). Mix pb and pudding together using a beater until it is combined and creamy.
  5. Combine puddings together.
  6. Fold in Cool Whip.
  7. Start to build your trifle.
  8. Bottom layer: One third of the brownies
  9. Next Layer: One third of Reese’s Cups cut in fourths
  10. Trifecta layer: scoop in one third of pudding mixture.
  11. Repeat until your trifle is full ending with the pudding mixture on top.
  12. To finish, take halved Reese’s cups and line the outer edge of the trifle.  For extra flair, sprinkle Reese’s Pieces on top. PUGTATO’S NOTE: I forgot to take a picture after we sprinkled on the Reese’s Pieces and by the time I remembered, it was too late!  The trifle had been demolished!
  13. Refrigerate to set until serving