Tag Archives: Recipe

Baking, Bonding and Getting Ready For The Holidays + GIVEAWAY

1 Nov

This is my favorite time of year.  With the Holidays quickly approaching and the weather getting colder, baking is one of our favorite after-school activities.  We bake for friends, family, parties, and Holiday gatherings.  I always include my girls in our baking activities because it’s a great way to bond, talk about the day, and it’s a wonderful learning experience.  They learn which ingredients go into mixtures.  My oldest is learning to read, so she works on reading the recipe and helps find ingredients while we are shopping. 20141101-084017-31217875.jpg 20141101-084020-31220728.jpg We recently spent a few afternoons making the most delicious Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies from Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook, Baking Chez Moi (recipe and giveaway at end of post). When baking with kids, it always takes a little longer (or double the estimated time).  To start our baking adventure, we were lucky to work Driscoll’s and made home-made Rasperry Jam which was absolutely delicious. We used Driscoll’s rasperries and this recipe.  It was such a fun activity, especially since it was a rainy day, and it makes enough to give as a gift or use for breakfast or lunch.  It takes a while so I recommend making it a day or two before you plan to make the cookies. Jam 20141101-084016-31216029.jpg Next, up was making the cookie dough.  Before you start keep in mind the dough needs to be refrigerated so if you don’t have enough time to do it all in one day, you can place it in an air tight container and finish the next day.  We ran into that problem but it worked.  We started putting all the ingredients together to make the dough.  My daughter couldn’t believe that we didn’t need eggs.  After the dough was ready, I had my girls pick a few cookie cutters. Dorie uses a 2-inch round cutter but since it was the Holidays my girls wanted to add a twist and make a few other types of cookies.  We tried to find cutters that would be easy to fill and pinch together to keep the jam from spilling out the sandwich. The dough can crack easily.  Use a little water and push it back together. After the cookies were finished, we added decorations (because my girls love to decorate after baking) and colored sugar sprinkles instead of regular sugar. DSC_0041 jamcookie Here’s what we made: DSC_0221 Halloween Ghosts & Pumpkins DSC_0233 20141101-084014-31214180.jpg DSC_0229 Hearts DSC_0235 DSC_0236 DSC_0239 Frozen Lovers or Winter Wonderland DSC_0252 We shared our cookies with friends and left some for dad when he came home.  Everyone thought the cookies were “amazingly delicious”.  We can’t wait to bring some to Thanksgiving.  We are also excited to bake more of Dorie’s desserts this Holiday season. GIVEAWAY:  One lucky reader will have the opportunity to win a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook, Baking Chez Moi and $15 in Driscoll’s Coupons.  Enter HERE for your chance to win!  Good luck and happy baking!

Thank you to everyone for following and entering, I hope you have a happy Holiday season!

Picture 2

Dorrie Greenspan’s Jam-Filled Sandwhiches (Makes about 12 sandwich cookies. Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup (60 grams) Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons; 4 oz; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (43 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • About 3/4 cup (240 grams) jam, for filling
  • Sugar, for sprinkling
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions: Position a large strainer over the bowl of your stand mixer, or over a large bowl if you are going to use a hand mixer, and shake the confectioners’ sugar through it.  Drop the pieces of butter into the bowl, add the sugar and beat at low speed with the paddle attachment or hand mixer, until smooth. Put the strainer over the bowl again, add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt, stir them around to combine and shake them onto the butter mixture.  Pulse the mixer a few times, so you don’t have flying flour, then beat on low speed until the dough comes together.  You’ll hit a stage where the dough is crumbly, mix on.  In another minute or so, the dough will come together and just about clean the sides of the bowl, your signal to stop mixing. Turn the dough onto the counter and divide it in half.  Shape each half into a disk, kneading the dough gently if necessary to pull it together and shape it. Put one piece of dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper and roll it to a thickness of about an 1/8 inch.  Don’t worry about the shape of the dough. Slide the papaer-sandwiched dough onto a cutting board or baking sheet.  Repeat with the second piece of dough (you can stack the pieces).  Refigerate the dough for at lease two hours.  (Wrapped well, the dough can be refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to two months.  Defrost frozen dough for 5-10 minutes before cutting.) WHEN YOU’RE READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheers with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Pull one piece of dough from the refrigerator and cut out the cookies.  (Leave the bottom piece of paper in place so that if the dough gets soft and needs a quick chill, you can easily trasport it.) Use a 2-inch round cutter, but you can cut these a little larger, if you’d like (of course the yield will be less).  Dorrie doesn’t advise using smaller than 2-inches because they’ll be too difficult to fill.  Place the cookies on the baking sheet, an inch or so apart, and refrigerate while you cut the second piece of dough (reserve scraps).  Put the second set of cookies on the other baking sheet; refrigerate. Gather the scraps from both pieces of doug, press them together and roll the dough until it’s an 1/8 inch thick, then chill until firm enough to cut and make more cookies. Spoon a little jam onto the center half of the chilled rounds- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon is sufficient for a 2-inch cookie.  Dip your finger into a bowl of water and, one at a time, lightly moisten the edges of each round, top with an uncovered round and press gently to seal.  Sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake for 15-17 minutes, rotating the pan at the midway point, or until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and colored only around the edges.  The tops may crack, and thats fine.  Carefully transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool to room temperature. Bake the second sheet of cookies, then cut and bake the remaining dough, making sure the baking sheet is cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you’d like, right before serving. Disclaimer: I received a copy of Baking Chez Moi and coupons and a gift card to Whole Foods for ingredients.  All opinions expressed are my own.  The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking Chez Moi.  Thank you to Driscoll’s Berries for introducing us to this amazing recipe.  We can’t wait to try more!

A Freshmade NYC Thanksgiving {Recipes & Review}

13 Nov

A few weeks ago my friend, her son, my oldest daughter and I attended a farm-to-table class at Freshmade NYC. I was excited to try the class because all the ingredients are fresh, seasonal vegetables and herbs they receive from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group that week. During the class the kids made Sweet Potato- Apple Stuffing Muffins and Quick Pan Gravy (recipes below). As Thanksgiving nears I have been thinking about what to bring for our family potluck. The recipes we made at Freshmade NYC were delicious and great for kids to make with you to bring to Thanksgiving lunch or dinner. Cara was nice enough to share the recipes below.

What I loved about Freshmade NYC:

  • Cara and Thomas, founders, were amazing with the kids. They found positive ways to redirect the kids when situations got a little hairy.
  • Cara and Thomas encouraged all the kids to touch, taste, and smell the ingredients as they were using them.
  • My daughter tried vegetables she would never have tried at home and discovered she liked them.
  • While the stuffing muffins were cooking, they read stories on the floor.

What my daughter learned at Freshmade NYC:

  • “The Claw”: Since attending Freshmade NYC, my daughter has been helping cut vegetables with her Curious Chef knife. While at the Freshmade NYC farm-to-table class Cara taught her about using the “claw” method when cutting so she won’t cut herself.
  • How to crack an egg on the table. Thomas helped my daughter crack an egg on the the flat surface of the table. Since she has been helping crack eggs and gets excited to do so.
  • Peeling fruit and vegetables. The kids took turns learning to peel apples and sweet potatoes.

We had a great experience and are looking forward to attending more classes. Check out Freshmade NYC classes and events by clicking the links!

Sweet Potato-Apple Stuffing Muffins


  • 3 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium sized apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 scallions, green and white parts, diced
  • 4 cups bread, diced (we love a whole grain baguette or roasted garlic ciabatta bread in this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup dried organic cranberries (look for cranberries that are sweetened with apple juice rather than sugar and ones that are preservative free)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Combination of your favorite herbs (we loved fresh thyme, parsley, and rosemary for this recipe. About 1-2 tablespoons of each, or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions: In a large skillet, add butter and sauté onions, celery, sweet potatoes and apples until tender, set aside to cool. In a large bowl, add diced bread, herbs, scallions, nutmeg, cranberries, and sweet potato-apple mixture. Add eggs and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spoon into a lightly greased muffin pan and bake at 375 for about 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool slightly and remove from muffin pan. Serve warm with gravy.

Quick Pan Gravy


  • 2 pats of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
  • Fresh herbs
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper

Directions: In a small sauce pan, melt butter and add flour, cook over low to medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add stock and simmer for about 15 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Season with fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

From the Kitchen of Freshmade NYC

Disclaimer: I received a free trial class for attending the Freshmade NYC open house event whic I used for the purpose of this post. All opinions expressed are my own. The recipes received are from the kitchen of Freshmade NYC.  Thank you to my friend, Tori, for sharing some of her photos for this post.

“Eat Your Heart Out” Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Chicken {Recipe}

14 Feb
I got this recipe from my mom a few years ago.  I have no idea where she got it from but it is one of my favorites. I make it when we have people over for dinner, when I bring dinner to friends after they have a baby, and every once in a while for the four of us.  Anyone I have made it for has loved it.  The girls love it too, especially when we use fun shape pastas.  If you decide to stay in tonight this recipe is easy and delicious.  It would be great with a bottle of wine for the mommies and daddies and some sparkling cider for your little Valentine(s).
*When I make it for the four of us I cut the recipe in half and it still makes a lot.  I have also used shrimp instead of chicken in the past and it is just as good.
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cut bite sized
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 (9oz) jar sun-dried tomatoes, julienne cut
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbl oil from sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 (1lb) box farfelle pasta (or any other pasta you like), Since it is a special Valentine’s dinner we used “Eat Your Heart Out” Pasta by The Pasta Shop: Pastabilities (see my post about Pastabilities)
  1. Saute chicken pieces with garlic, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and salt in the 2 Tablespoons of sun-dried tomato oil for 5-7 min, or until chicken is cooked.
  2. Drain tomatoes and add to chicken, reduce heat and sauté for 3 minutes longer.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on box.
  4. Toss cooked pasta with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes
  5. Add parmesan cheese on top.

Serve with a salad or veggies.

Recipe: Soy Ginger Pork Chop

13 Jan

Getting the girls to eat anything other then pasta with butter, mac & cheese, or pizza is usually a challenge.  I usually have to add some type of fun twist to the meal.  When I made this Soy Ginger Pork Chop for them they devoured it, which rarely happens, so I thought it would be good to share.  When I have made it in the past I usually just throw together the ingredients but I measured it out when I made it the other day.


  • 4 thinly cut pork chops (about 1 lb) *Whole Foods has thick ones so I ask the butcher to cut them in 1/2
  • 2-4 TBS low sodium Soy Sauce (I love soy sauce, so I always use a lot, just use enough to coat pork chops on both sides)
  • 2 TBS No Pulp Orange Juice
  • Fresh Ginger, zest amount to taste, I always use a lot
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • Optional: Wasabi to taste if you want to add spice, but I leave it out of the girls
  • Rice (I used Seeds of Change Quinoa and Whole Grain Rice)
  • Edamame


  1. Mix Soy Sauce, Orange Juice, Ginger, Garlic and *Wasabi* together in a small bowl.
  2. Place Pork Chops in a storage container or zip lock back, I used tupperware.
  3. Evenly distribute mixture over both sides of the pork chops.  I flip the pork  chops in the mixture to evenly coat.  Add more ingredients if wanted or needed.  I add more ginger on top of each chop.
  4. Let Pork Chops for a couple hours.
  5. Add a little olive oil to a pan, heat, and cook pork chops through
  6. Serve with Rice and Edamame
  7. I used FunBites CubeIt to cute the girls pork chops.

Disclaimer:  I am not a professional chef, I enjoy cooking and baking with the girls.  I also like trying new things and throwing ingredients together to make new meals.  Try at your own risk, but I hope you enjoy 🙂

Recipe: Quinoa Pasta with Veggies

7 Jan

One of my resolutions for 2012, is to eat healthier.  After I had Pela, I went to a nutritionist to help me lose the baby weight and to help me eat healthier.  One thing she suggested was to go Gluten Free.  I felt so good but once I hit my goal weight, I quickly fell of the band wagon.   This year I want to try to get back on track and eat healthier.  When I was visiting my mom she told me about Quinoa pasta and that she usually eats it with Veggies.  It is delicious and healthy.  In my opinion, a much better alternative to pasta whether you are gluten free or not.  Lately, we have made Quinoa Pasta with sauteed veggies and tomato sauce.  Yummy.  The girls even like it.   They usually pick out the veggies, so if you want to hide them, once they are cooked, put them in  a food processor or Baeba babycook before mixing them into the sauce.

What you need:

  • 1 box Ancient Harvest Quinoa Rotelle Pasta
  • Red, Yellow, & Green Peppers (I used about 1/4 of each but you can do as much or as little as you would like)
  • Onion (I used about 1/4 but you can do as much or as little as you would like)
  • Broccoli (about 1/2)
  • about 1 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 jar Tomoato- Basil Sauce of choice
  • Parmesan Cheese, to taste


Wash and Cut Veggies.

Heat oil. Sautee veggies until cooked though, on high heat.

Meanwhile, follow cooking directions for Ancient Harvest Quinoa Rotelle Pasta.

Heat sauce, simmer on low.

If you are going to use the food processor or Baeba babycook, blend veggies before adding to sauce.  If not, mix sauteed veggies into the sauce.

Put desired amount of pasta into a bowl, with sauce over it.  Add Parmesan cheese.


*Note: I forgot to take a picture of the finished product but will post it on FB next time I make it.

Tissues, PJ’s, and SOUP

13 Nov

It’s that time of year again…cold and flu season.  Time for tissues, PJ’s and SOUP.  For the past two weeks, both girls have been fighting a bad cold.  One day they are feeling good, the next it’s back to runny noses and horrible coughs all night.  Just when you think they are getting better it’s back.  This weekend, my husband and the girls were all sick and now I feel it coming on.  What a better way to spend the weekend then to curl up on the couch to watch TV and movies and stay in PJ’s and sweat pants all day while making soup.

Last night, we decided to return to our Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian cookbook to make Italian Wedding soup.  We got a late start so my husband and daughter only made the chicken stock and we made the rest of the soup today.

Before you start, here are some tips to include your child in preparing the meal:

  • Let them help you chop veggies.  My daughter used her Nuk Kiddy Cutlery knife.  My husband chopped everything but gave her a few ingredients to “chop” on her own.
  • Let them put the ingredients in the pot.
  • Have them stir occasionally and set a timer to remind them to come back and check on the broth/ soup with you.
  • Let them grate the cheese or if they are too young, let them sprinkle the cheese on.
Helpful Hints:
  • Whenever doing a cooking activity, especially near a stove or when using a sharp object, make sure you are supervising your child.
  • My girls only ate the broth and meatballs. If you know your child doesn’t like certain textures take out the veggies from their bowl, leaving the broth and meatballs.
  • It takes a while so make the broth the day before or buy stock from your local grocery store.  We made both recipes while our younger daughter was sleeping.
There is nothing like a bowl of soup to help comfort you when you are sick.  If you try this, I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did.

Chicken Stock: Makes about 3 qt (3 l)  


  • 5lb (2.5kg) chicken backs and necks
  • 1 leek, including about 6 inches (15 cm) of the green tops, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stock, coarsely chopped
  • 12 fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley stems
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 8-10 black pepper corns
  1. In a stockpot, combine the chicken parts, leek, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, and peppercorns.
  2. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch (2.5 cm).
  3. Place the pot over medium-high heat and slowly bringing almost to a boil.  Using a large spoon, skim off any scum and froth from the surface.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, skimming the surface as needed and adding more water if necessary, to keep the ingredients immersed, until the meat has fallen of the bones and the stock is fragrant and flavorful, about 3 hours.
  4. Remove the heat and let stand until the liquid is almost room temperature, about 1 hour.
  5. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, lift out large solids and discard.
  6. Pour stock through a large mesh sleeve into a storage container with a tight-fitting lid, and discard the solids from the sleeve.
  7. Let the stock cool at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until fully chilled.  Using a spoon, lift off the congealed fat on top and discard.  Store the stock in the refrigerator (up to 5 days) or freezer (up to 2 months).
Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007)
* This broth would also be great for a chicken noodle soup, just add cooked egg noodles, sauteed onion, celery and carrot, and a rotisserie chicken, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Wedding Soup RecipeWilliams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007)

Pappardelle with Pork Ragù

7 Nov

It’s been a while since I pulled out my Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian cookbook.  I have to say I have never been disappointed with any of the recipes I have tried from it.  Last night my husband decided he wanted to cook the Pappardelle with Pork Ragù.  It was the first time we have tried the recipe and it was delicious.  We invited my brother-in-laws over because it made more than enough for my husband, daughters, and I.  Both my girls devoured it and even wanted more.  My brother-in-laws and I loved it as well.  This recipe is definitely worth trying, especially on a chilly weekend when you are home all afternoon because it takes a while and is a hearty dish.

Some tips:

  • My older daughter helped by holding the cookbook for my husband and putting the chopped vegetables in the pot.
  • We used box pasta instead of making our own because we didn’t have time or the tools.  Making the homemade pasta could be a great activity with your child if you have the time, space, and tools needed.
  • Allow 3 1/2-4 hours for prep and cooking.
  • I drained some of the sauce on the girl’s plates since they don’t like a lot of tomato sauce and usually only like butter on their pasta.
  • Let your child sprinkle the amount of cheese they would like on their pasta, my girls like a lot.


  • 1 1/2 lb. meaty pork spareribs, cut into individual ribs
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 1/2 lb. fresh plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 1 can (28 oz.) plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh egg pasta dough (recipe for dough)  (we used boxed pappardelle)
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for serving


Pat the ribs dry with paper towels and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In a nonreactive Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ribs and cook, turning as needed, until nicely browned on all sides, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ribs to a plate. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pot, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a simmer and deglaze the pot, scraping up the browned bits from the pot bottom. Cook for 1 minute to cook off some of the alcohol. Add the tomatoes, 1 cup water, and a pinch each of salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a simmer. Return the ribs to the pan, cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until the ribs are very tender and the meat comes away easily from the bone, about 2 1/2 hours. Meanwhile (if not using boxed noodles), divide the pasta dough and roll out each piece into a sheet 1/16 inch thick. Lightly flour a rimmed baking sheet. Lay 1 pasta sheet on a lightly floured work surface and, using a chef’s knife or pastry wheel, cut it into strips 4 inches long by 1 inch wide. Lay the strips flat on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them so they don’t touch and separating each layer with a lightly floured kitchen towel. Let the pasta dry for 10 to 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ribs from the sauce and let cool slightly. Remove the meat from the bones and shred it. Return the meat to the pan and cook, uncovered, over low heat until the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil over high heat and add about 2 Tbs. salt. Add the pappardelle, stir well and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and add the pasta to the sauce, tossing (follow directions on the back of the box, if not using homemade noodle recipe)

gently to coat evenly. Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup cheese and toss again. Serve immediately and pass additional cheese at the table. Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).