I really wanted to make sugar cookies with Ruby this year and let her use sprinkles, red hots and those weird silver BB-looking things to decorate them when they came out the oven. But then I picture the mess. Sticky red and green sprinkles and silver BB's undigested in Ruby's poop. No thanks. So I came up with a fun way for her to decorate cookies and still maintain my sanity. These gingerbread men covered in white icing are the perfect substrate for a toddler's natural artistic skills. Set out the red and green icing bowls and unleash your toddler's artistic abilities.Read More
This chai spice frosted pumkin cake recipe might be the most autumnal cake you've ever laid eyes on. A perfect cake for a fall birthday- seasonal, beautiful and delicious- it is sure to wow your guests and dress up your celebration with it's gorgeous understated elegance.Read More
Raise your hand if you grew up eating Hamburger Pie, the recipe no doubt selected from the 1970's guide-to-being-a-working-mom cookbook: Better Homes and Gardens. I loved that recipe growing up. That's why I kept all of the ingredients in tact and just made a few adjustments to the processed ingredients. This Hamburger Pie Recipe made from scratch will bring you right back to the dinner table of your childhood. And, it makes a great dish to take to a friend in need of a comforting home cooked meal.Read More
When I find a new way to get my toddler to eat healthy food I feel like I'm the smartest person in the world. I want to call the president and be like; "Um hello. Did you know I just solved the problem of how to feed my toddler healthy food? Well, I guess you should put me on the next space shuttle to the moon because I'm a goddamn genius." And I totally deserve to feel this way. Cracking the code of finicky toddler eating habits is harder than I ever thought it would be. One minute she is like "Yum! Tofu!" and the next she is like "Tofu, floor, all done." But, cut that boring old tofu into star shapes, bread it and fry it up in healthy olive oil and she is like "Star! Tofu! Star! Yummy!!" and gobbles it all up like it's chocolate chip cookies. Genius I say.Read More
Cardamom is one of my favorite spices. The aromatic quality of cardamom just gets my senses all excited for fall, warm cookies and chai tea. And these Orange Cardamom Pizzelles would be the perfect accompaniment to a steaming hot cup of Chai Tea Latte. Cook up a batch of these cookies and serve with tea on a cool crisp autumn day and you've got yourself a recipe for cozy!Read More
The leaves are starting to change color, the air is getting crisp and the kiddos are back in school. All of these cues are pointing to one conclusion: my Starbucks Chai Tea Latte budget is about to go through the roof! Luckily I've been toiling away in the kitchen stirring large pots of chai brews, concocting the perfect Starbucks fake. After tossing the vats of homemade chai down the drain and deciding that an already made chai tea bags are just as tasty and much easier to make than mixing a thousand different spices together, I've perfected the quintessential fall drink. I prefer vanilla soy creamer in my latte because I like the flavor better, but you could use regular cream and add a drop or two of vanilla extract. Just remember that the soy creamer is sweetened so you may want to add more maple syrup if you use regular cream or milk.Read More
It's nice to be called upon to make something for a party because it allows me to flex my creative muscles and come up with a recipe I ordinarily might not think of without some prompting. My friends had a baby shower this past weekend and asked me to bring a desert. After scouring Pinterest for "baby shower themed cupcakes" and only coming up with gross cupcake recipes with yucky fondant sculptures of babies on top, I decided to create my own recipe. These cute little cupcakes are made with real strawberries in the batter and delicious buttercream frosting. I purchased the ducks at a candy store in my neighborhood, but you can purchase them online here.Read More
Phew! It is HOTT with two T's out there and my poor oven is feeling awfully abandoned these days. But, who wants to turn on the oven when the A/C is running full blast and we are still sitting in a pool of our own sweat? My awesome neighbor recently had my husband and I over to their apartment for a "no cook" summer dinner with fresh veggies, fruits and charcuterie. She really inspired me to say goodbye to the oven for the last few blistering weeks of summer and embrace a fresh "no cook" style of eating for a little while. One of my favorite vegetables this time of year are radishes. I love the classic American round radishes and the French long and skinny ones alike. Serve this dish/ appetizer with a baguette and sea salt and encourage your guests to spread the dip on the bread, pile with radishes and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Add a charcuterie plate and some fresh slices of cantelope and your "no cook" dinner is complete!Read More
There is a lot of debate surrounding the topic of traditional ratatouille. Some insist that the vegetables be stewed, others agree that it should be stewed then baked. My approach to ratatouille comes from a very American desire to make cooking quick and painless. There is no stewing involved in this ratatouille. Just layer and bake. I developed this ratatouille many years ago and have come up with a version for each season. This particular ratatouille uses summer vegetables and is probably my favorite because of the bright flavors. You can experiment with different vegetables, herbs and cheeses and find your own favorite version of baked ratatouille.
Nothing says summer like an ice cold fruit cocktail. Peaches and raspberries were in season at the farm stand so I fashioned this drink around those two beautiful fruits. The drink was sweet, without being too sweet, clean, crisp and flavorful. I used cupcake liners with ball jars to create a bug free sipper for my Outdoor Movie night.Read More
Arghlarghlarghlarrr.....popcorn....... I'm pretty sure that this was all I said the entire night of the movie party as I stuffed my face with handful after handful of Parmeson and Cracked Pepper Popcorn. This stuff is so tasty and addictive that I pretty much ignored all the guests and just kept chowing down on it.Read More
These popcorn balls were a huge hit at our Outdoor Movie Night party. One small tip when making them: easy on the salt. I may have put a bit too much salt on some of them. I never use coarse salt when cooking and I think I underestimated the power of giant rocks of salt.Read More
Popsicles were a staple of my summer growing up. Summer just wouldn't be summer without them. They go hand in hand with slip-in-slides, chigger bites, tree houses and all day bicycle excursions. Usually my parents would buy us a box or two of some off-brand, chemically flavored, two stick popsicles, but when those ran out, it was up to my brother and I to get creative. Mom had an old Tupperware popsicle mold from the 60's that we used to make our own lemonade/ kool-aide/ orange juice popsicles. Little did I know that these early experimentations in popsicle artistry would someday inform the art of adult gourmet popsicles making. These popsicles are pretty simple to throw together and you can create just about any iteration that inspires you. I brought these popsicles with me to a dinner party and handed them out after dinner for desert, but you could hand them out before dinner on a hot summer night for a fun twist on the summer cocktail.Read More
Pizzelles are a delicate round cookie that originated in Italy. My grandparents immigrated from Italy and brought the traditional pizzelle cookie with them. My mother has always had a pizzelle iron and has been making them since I was a kid, but they weren't always my favorite cookie as a child because they don't have a lot of sugar in them and are traditionally made with Anise. As an adult, I LOVE them. They are the perfect cookie to leisurely dunk in an after dinner coffee. This year I'm hosting Christmas at my home. As I was going over the cookie menu with my mom, I realized that I couldn't make pizzelles because I don't have an iron. Two days later a Cuisinart Pizzelle Iron showed up on my doorstep in an Amazon box. Mom's are so great, aren't they? I couldn't wait to crack that sucker open and get started on some imaginative pizzelle recipes. I made these whole wheat pizzelles for my daughter, and despite the healthy ingredients, they did turn out rather tasty. But I'm not going to stop with this first batch of pizzelles because I've got visions of pizzelles recipes dancing in my head. Roll them up and make cannolis? Ice cream cups? Orange cardamom pizzelles? The possibilities are endless!Read More
This past weekend Ruby had a play date with an adorable little boy named Stellan. He and his lovely parents came over to our house and the adults pretended it was a play date by listlessly looking over in the general direction of our children every once in a while and and saying "oh, look how nicely you two are playing together." In reality, the play date was just a guise for the adults to drink white wine, eat the most luscious heirloom tomato tartlets and enjoy the gorgeous summer day. After a while, I think Ruby and Stellan were on to us and so they began to try and capture our attentions by looking impossibly cute in Mr. Potato Head's glasses and drinking out of our empty wine bottle (not sure if I should have let the wine bottle drinking continue, but it was cute, right?). We remarked on how adorable they were, snapped a photo and then just went right on ignoring them. The tomato tartlets were unbelievably, melt in your mouth, delicious with fresh from the farmer's stand heirloom tomatoes in 3 different varieties, goat cheese from a local dairy, fresh garlic and basil picked from the plant on my porch. They make perfect summer afternoon hor d'oeuvres and couldn't be easier to whip up.
In the evenings, my favorite thing to do (besides watch terrible reality television and eat fudgesicles) is to surf my favorite blogs. While perusing the web, I saw that The Pioneer Woman did a post last week on making healthy freezer dinners. Before my first child, when I actually had an ounce of energy left at the end of the day, I used to make healthy freezer meals for my husband to take to work with him. He never gets to come home for dinner and I feel really bad that he has to eat take out every single night. I still don't have a lot of energy in the evenings, but I figure I could skip one night of the Bachelor to get my fudgesicle eating butt into the kitchen and make up a freezer meal. Cooking this turkey chili is about as easy as it gets. Just throw everything into the pot and let it simmer for about an hour. Easy enough. Portion it out into pint size freezer ziplock bags and freeze flat. That way you can fit more into the freezer and you or your significant other can easily slip it into a briefcase to take to work.
The farmer's stand is rolling out new vegetables every week. New on the shelves this week: Sugar snap peas! Sugar snap peas are sweet, crispy and full of flavor. This recipe keeps the crispiness of the peas intact and brings out the flavor with some fresh lemon juice and heavy cream.
On our way to the farm stand before our Saturday night dinner, we agreed that fruit crisp is a far superior dessert to fruit cobbler. With cobbler, you have too much cake that doesn't really complement the fruit. With a crisp the fruit is the star, with a crispy cinnamon and oat topping that plays off the soft fruit. After congratulating ourselves on sharing a similar (and no doubt correct) opinion about cobbler vs. crisp, we settled on sour cherry and peach for our dessert. The farm stand had beautiful cherries and peaches that looked pretty good, but turned out to be only OK. No problem though, with fruit desserts, sometimes adding a big of sugar and baking can bring life to a piece of fruit that you wouldn't want to eat raw. The crisp turned out beautifully! We served it with some vanilla ice cream - a classic combination that nobody can resist. Try this crisp recipe this summer. Choose any fruit combo that sounds good to you - but definitely consider peaches and sour cherries, they are a hot item.
My husband recently told me that he read about grilling watermelon and I was like, wait, what??? You can do that? Then my mind began to ponder all the amazing ways you could serve up some grilled watermelon. All summer long, I've been trying to think of a creative way to serve grilled shrimp. But grilled shrimp with grilled watermelon? Oh lord, I think we found a winner. I was super nervous about the dish turning out because we had invited guests over for dinner, but it was fan-f-ing-tastic. I added Thai inspired spices to counter the sweetness of the watermelons and bring out the flavor of the shrimp. If your looking to wow your guests at your next cook-out, give this salad a whirl.
I love this time of year more than any other time of year mainly because of the abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits. I get so overwhelmed with all of the fresh veggies and fruits at the farmer's stand that I sometimes find my fridge full of items that I'm not sure what to do with. Luckily, I grew up with an Italian momma and I'm able to make a pasta dish with my eyes closed. Recently, I bought a bunch of kale and didn't know what to make with it so I looked up kale pasta recipes but couldn't find anything that looked appetizing. So, I came up with my own recipe that you can throw together in a jiffy for a healthy and quick family meal.