Garlic and Fresh Thyme Scalloped Potatoes

Every year for the Holiday Season, I bake my famous Garlic and Fresh Thyme Scalloped Potatoes! These potatoes are always a huge hit at Holiday potlucks from Thanksgiving through New Years. I usually bake around 5 to 7 batches of these potatoes every Holiday season. So since so much effort, time, & love go into perfecting every single batch, I proactively retire the recipe for the rest of the year.

As a home chef, I always use my taste buds as a guide for every meal I make. I’ve actually never taken the time to break down any of my recipes until my ULTIMATE BANANA BREAD recipe a few months ago. And after the huge success of that blog post, I think it’s time to finally share my Garlic and Fresh Thyme Scalloped Potatoes recipe with the world!

Garlic & Fresh Thyme Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

  • Prep Time: 25 min
  • Bake Time: 55 min
  • Total Time: 1 hr 20 min


  • 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 5 Fresh Sprigs of Thyme
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
  • Nutmeg
  • Garlic Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
  • Cayenne Pepper (Optional)
  • Paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 lbs of Russet Potatoes
  • 1 Cup of Shredded Parmesan

Baking Tools


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt
  3. Peel & rinse potatoes
  4. Add potatoes into water & boil for ~10 minutes (Or until you can stick a fork into a potato with minimal effort)
  5. Strain the potatoes from the water using a colander & let sit for 5 minutes to cool before handling
  6. Cut potatoes into thin, circular slices & set aside
  7. Melt Butter at Low to Medium heat then add garlic, bay leaves, & 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  8. Slowly add heavy cream followed by garlic salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, & nutmeg to taste, keep warm on low & stir occasionally
  9. Ladle 2 scoops of your white sauce to the bottom of the pan
  10. Place potatoes on top of the sauce in an overlapping, circular formation
  11. Season layer with garlic salt & pepper
  12. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese over the potatoes
  13. Add another layer of potatoes, ladle 2 scoops of sauce, season with garlic salt & black pepper, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan (repeat)
  14. Use all remaining parmesan on the top layer & sprinkle with paprika for color
  15. Bake covered with foil for 45 min at 400° F
  16. Remove foil & bake for an additional 10 min to brown
  17. (Optional) Garnish with remaining sprigs of fresh thyme before serving

So that’s it! It’s a lot of prep work, & it’s definitely time consuming. But if you take the time to make a batch of your own, be sure to let me know in a comment below. I promise they’ll be worth all the time & effort! As I mentioned, this is my staple Holiday recipe that has never failed me over the years, so I hope you enjoy my Garlic & Fresh Thyme Scalloped Potatoes with your loved ones this Holiday Season!

XO Denise

beige and black hat near swimming pool

How To Stay Healthy This Summer

If I’ve learned anything over the past few years, it’s that the real “hot girls” are actually “healthy” girls. Getting lots of attention from guys, having a ton of options, & partying all Summer long is not on my personal Summer bucket list. But being happy & healthy is always my top priority. Here’s how I plan to stay healthy this Summer!

How To Stay Healthy This Summer

Watch the Sunrise

It’s a well-known fact that it’s a good idea to start your day early. While I don’t necessarily mean that you need to wake up every day before the sun, taking the time to get up earlier than usual to watch the sky change colors as the sun peeks over the horizon is good for your mental health.

Drink Water

With the warmer temperatures, you’re going to be sweating a lot more. Drinking water will help replenish your body as well as give you glowing skin. It’ll also curb your appetite so that you can stay on the go without getting hungry before your usual mealtimes.

Eat Fresh Fruit & Veggies

When you do get hungry, I highly encourage you to eat more fresh fruit & veggies. They’re packed with healthy nutrients as well as water to help you refuel throughout the day, without being calorie-dense or high in salt or processed sugar.


Summer is a great time to try new recipes! With lots of popular cooking methods, such as baking, grilling on a BBQ, using an air fryer, or the classic stove, there are so many delicious, healthy recipes on Pinterest! I try to cook at least one new recipe a week, so I can continue to flex my cooking skills.

Go to the Beach

Nothing says Summertime like the beach. I love feeling the sand between my toes, & saltwater does wonders for my hair & skin. I always feel like a beautiful, ethereal mermaid at the beach.


If you can’t make it to the beach to swim or spend some time splashing around in the water, I recommend going to a public pool or finding a friend with access to a pool. I’m lucky enough to have a rooftop pool at my apartment building in Oakland, CA. On the warmest days, I find myself always taking the time to go swimming whenever I can. Not only is it a great way to cool down, but it’s also a fun way to work out. I love swimming laps for cardio as well as other pool-friendly exercises for strength!


Hiking is one of my favorite ways to work out as well as spend time out in nature. I have a few hiking vlogs on my YouTube channel with a couple of local, East Bay hikes. One of the best things about the Bay Area is the mild climate & different terrains. There are so many different hikes available on All Trails, & you can filter them by difficulty & length.


I love giving back to my local community. In the past, I’ve volunteered with the San Francisco Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity East Bay, as well as local homeless shelters & senior care homes. During COVID-19, I also signed up for Letters to Seniors to help combat social isolation by writing letters to senior citizens.

Watch the Sunset

Just as important as waking up early to watch the sunrise, it’s equally important to slow down at the end of your day to watch the sunset. I’m always in awe at how the colors of any sunset are never the same. That’s why with these long Summer days, I always take a quiet moment to myself to watch the sunset & the sky change colors over downtown Oakland, or wherever I happen to be that day.


It’s hard to see the stars when you live in Downtown Oakland. But when I’m visiting family or camping, I always have to look up at the stars & think about how we are also just a tiny sparkling speck in the universe.

It’s time for us to forget about “Hot Girl Summer”. Summer isn’t about dieting so you can take pictures in a bikini to get likes on Instagram. Summer is about enjoying the sunlight & longer days while they’re here. Summer should be a celebration of who you are & what you love.

What are you doing to stay healthy this Summer?

XO Denise

This Bread is BANANAS

Bananas are one of my favorite healthy snacks, but I will shamelessly admit that I love to eat a couple then “forget” about the rest so I can use them for my ultimate banana bread recipe instead. Three years ago, when I was in the San Francisco Pride Parade, the company I worked for at the time bought a ton of fresh fruit as a snack for our team. As an end result of buying in bulk, we were left with a ton of apples, bananas, & cutie clementines. They completely overwhelmed our break room. We did our best to eat the fruit, but by the end of the week, our office manager offered the overripened bananas to the team to take home. I wanted to try baking banana bread in the past but never had the opportunity, because my family usually devours bananas within a few days. So that very night I was eager to finally have overripened bananas to try baking banana bread.

I’ve tried many different banana bread recipes in the past few years, & I’ve enjoyed tweaking my favorites ones in hopes of creating my very own banana bread recipe one day. Today, I’m going to share my ULTIMATE BANANA BREAD recipe, because I’ve finally perfected it. After three years of trial & error, let me tell you… this bread is BANANAS!

My Ultimate Banana Bread Recipe

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 1 hr 10 min to 1 hr 15 min


  • 5 Overripe Bananas
  • Butter or Non-stick spray to grease
  • 2 cups of All-purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp of Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp of Salt
  • 1 tsp of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 stick of Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 cup of Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Optional: 3/4 cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts, and/or Chocolate Chips

Baking Tools


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Grease loaf pan with butter or nonstick spray & set it aside
  3. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, & cinnamon together in a mixing bowl
  4. Mix the butter & brown sugar together until creamy in a separate bowl
  5. Add eggs to the butter & brown sugar mixture one at a time; continue to mix
  6. Mash your bananas in another separate mixing bowl or using the stand mixer bowl
  7. Add sour cream, vanilla extract, & butter & brown sugar mixture to the mashed bananas; mix until well combined
  8. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixture
  9. Optional: Fold in nuts and/or chocolate chips
  10. Spoon the batter into your loaf pan & bake uncovered for 30 minutes
  11. Remove from oven then cover with aluminum foil to prevent from over-browning then bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes
  12. Use a toothpick or a fork to poke the center of the loaf. It should come out clean when fully baked.
  13. Allow bread to cool before serving

Tasty Tips

  • Banana bread is best, while served warm!
  • Top your slice of banana bread with:
  • Store at room temperature for up to 2 days
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week

Over the past three years, I’ve baked banana bread loaves for my close friends & family, because my secret ingredient to any of my recipes is LOVE. With three years of tweaking my recipe, I love to customize it for the person I’m baking for because not everyone has the same preferences. While I love putting pecans & chocolate chips into my banana bread for myself, my sister hates chocolate. I’m not opposed to pivoting & tweaking my recipe so that she can enjoy the banana bread too. I encourage you to adjust my recipe as needed for your own loved ones. Either way, I hope you enjoy my ultimate banana bread recipe! 🙂

XO Denise