It’s a gloomy, cold, rainy day in Boston and doesn’t feel a bit like spring! So instead of pouting (which I’m usually quite good at), I’m going to force a little warm-weather cheer on here with a fresh new cocktail recipe that has me mentally swinging on a porch swing in 70 degree sunny weather. Natalie Orchid Island Juice sent me their brand new Iced Tea Lemonade flavor to test out, and I shook it up with some simple syrup, bourbon, and fresh mint for a new take on a mint-julep. It’s refreshing but strong, just what a girl needs to beat those Monday blues! Make sure you bookmark this one for your Kentucky Derby viewing parties this spring, it’ll be a hit! Full recipe below:

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One of my finer skills in life is coming up with great excuses for mixing up a fancy cocktail, and with the Oscars coming up next Sunday, an awards show libation was just too easy of an excuse to pass up. I have been craving a drink that’s got a bit of a summer-y flavor to it, a Salty Dog, which combines some of my favorite flavors: sea salt and tangy grapefruit. With some IZZE sparkling grapefruit and a sprig of rosemary I think this is a cocktail I can easily enjoy all year round. Full recipe below, and cheers to great excuses for tasty cocktails! Sparkling Salty Dog 1 read more

Do you have those go-to recipes in your head that you can just make with your eyes closed? You know that pinch of this and a dash of that are the perfect measurements, no need for measuring cups or recipe cards. That’s my chili recipe — honed over the years to be both classic and at the same time totally unique to me. For example, I alway do half beef, half ground turkey — you still get the flavor of the beef but it cuts down on fat; I also feel strongly that all chili should be made with tasty golden kernels of corn (fire roasted is the way to go!) and simmered for hours in a sturdy cast iron dutch oven (I love our Martha Stewart one.). And my secret ingredient — a trick my dad taught me as a kid — is to add a can of baked beans into the mixture for a little punch of sweetness to balance out the spice.  A  few weeks back my sister pointed out that even though I make this 2x a month all winter long, I never posted about it before on the blog. So here it is, finally written in stone for her to use (and hopefully you too!). Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset read more

Remember when brussels sprouts were that food you would use to describe what could only be the worst possible meal someone could possible force upon you as a child? Like, ugh, I’ll eat anything but brussels sprouts, yuck! And now I’m 30, and brussels sprouts are having their moment, and I’ve probably said out loud at some point in the last 6 months: “you should really order the pancetta skillet brussels sprouts, they’re the chef’s speciality” or,I can’t stop thinking about those fried buffalo brussels sprouts with whipped blue cheese mouse from last night’s menu.” Funny how things like that work out, right? So while b-sprouts are in my culinary spotlight, I thought it would be a good time to mix up how I make them at home and tested this recipe with the intention of it being a Thanksgiving side dish.
Brussel Sprout Salad 1It’s *almost* a salad — a way to get a little bit of green onto my gravy-soaked plate on Turkey Day. The good thing is that you can make it all on the stovetop — it’s always smart to have dishes that don’t take up precious oven-room on Thanksgiving. The dish also tastes great served hot or cooled down to room temperature. So go ahead, make sure you eat your veggies! Full recipe below:  read more

When I was down in Austin, TX for work last month I popped into Royal Blue Grocery for a quick bite in the morning, and tried a breakfast burrito for the very first time in my life. What was I thinking? Thirty years on this earth before I tasted a breakfast burrito! I managed to eat a new flavor combination every morning for the rest of my trip, and when I got back I was determined to recreate them at home. One of the best versions I ate had chopped up potatoes inside so I decided to take this concept to the next level: I used steamed tortillas to roll-up scrambled eggs, melted sharp cheddar cheese, chopped up fresh scallions, and some red-bliss mashed potatoes with lots of salt and pepper. Oh-em-gee are these tasty, and such a good way to use up leftover potatoes from dinner the night before. If you’re feeling really crazy try adding some chorizo too!

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Do you have one of those family recipes that is a given menu item at every gathering? My husband’s family always makes a special chocolate cake with chocolate sauce, our neighbors growing up always served rice krispy treats at every birthday party, and at our house that dessert item is Chocolate Chip Cake. This cake is the one that gets requested by everyone for their birthdays, and it’s such a crowd-pleaser. I think the sour cream batter is what makes it so addictive. It’s one of the recipes that’s been around forever — so long in fact that I wasn’t even sure where it came from. I had to call my mom, who in turn had to call my grandmother to find out. It turns out it was from a neighbor of my grandparents who made the cake for parties, no frosting meant it was less messy for the kids! And now it’s my turn to pass it along, full recipe below! (PS: see that lovely cake stand pictured? I’m partnering with the fine folks at AHeirloom to give one away on my instagram account this week — be sure to head over to enter to win!)Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar, plus 1/4 cup for topping
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1.5 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 package of chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cream together 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 2 eggs with an electric mixer.
  • Add in 1 cup of sour cream and 2 tsp of vanilla extract, continue to mix together.
  • Sift 2 cups of flour, 1.5 tsp of baking powder, and 1 tsp of baking soda; stir dry mixture into wet ingredients.
  • Pour half of the batter into a 9×13 baking dish and then layer half of the chocolate chips on top.
  • Add second half of batter and top with the rest of the chocolate chips. Sprinkle the top with 1/4 of sugar.
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, let the cake cool before cutting.

I needed a sweet treat to snack on during the Oscars and thought I’d have a little fun updating a classic: the chocolate chip cookie. Martha Stewart’s soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe is just about the most perfect cookie specimen there is, but I couldn’t help but mix it up for the biggest movie night of the year with some movie theater candy. I followed the original recipe, and then swapped out the chocolate chips for a mixture of M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, and Raisnets. Spoiler alert: they were crazy tasty. I’m thinking these will be an annual Oscars night staple!

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As I’m sitting at home on this icy-cold snow day, I could not think of a better time to be sharing this recipe — a rich and hearty soup, chock-full of vegetables and a warm, flavorful broth. I’m still kind of baby when it comes to eating a lot of vegetables — it’s not that  I don’t like them, it’s just that pasta and chocolate and cheese are SO much tastier. So I’ve been attempting to sneak them into dishes (and let’s be honest — covering them with cheese does help — this recipe has both!). Sausage and white beans make the soup filling enough to have it as a dinner, the roasted garlic gives it tons of flavor, and the secret ingredient gives the broth a little extra oomph: a parmesan rind that breaks down partially as it simmers. Full recipe below:

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2015/01/img_5997.jpgIngredients:

  • 2 Bulbs of Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Large Shallot
  • 1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage (casing removed)
  • 5 oz Bag of Fresh Spinach
  • 2 cans of White Beans
  • 2 cups of Carrots (diced)
  • 4 cups of Chicken Stock
  • Parmesan Cheese Rind

Instructions:

  • Slice the top of each bulb of garlic off and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the bulbs in foil and place in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the garlic cloves become soft and caramelized. Remove cloves from bulb once cooled.
  • Dice onion and shallot and add to a large dutch oven or stock pot with a drizzle of olive oil. As they begin to soften, add sausage and begin to brown, breaking up into smaller pieces as it cooks.
  • Once sausage is browned, add spinach to the mixture and mix in to wilt.
  • Add white beans, carrots, roasted garlic, chicken stock and parmesan rind to the pot and bring to a slow-boil for 10 minutes.
  • Reduce soup and simmer for an hour; remove what remains of the parmesan rind.
  • Serve hot with fresh grated parmesan cheese and a side of crusty bread — enjoy!

My pre-work routine often looks a little something like a tornado rolling in on my apartment — I am really not a morning person. Breakfast is usually the last thing on my mind as I’m pulling on my shoe with one hand and putting on mascara with the other, so most days I’ve gotten into the habit of picking up a quick bite at the coffee shop near my office. It’s quick and easy, but it’s also expensive and not that healthy — why are bad habits the easiest ones to adopt? So in an effort to make a breakfast that’s easy for me to grab at home as I’m running out the door I experimented with making my own homemade granola. It’s silly I haven’t done it earlier — it’s just about the simplest thing to make! Full recipe below:
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Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp Real Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup of Honey
  • 1/4 cup of Brown Sugar
  • 4 tbsp of Melted Butter
  • 3 tbsp of Vegetable Oil
  • 4 cup of Oats
  • 3/4 cup of Chopped Almonts

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine vanilla extract, syrup, honey, brown sugar, better and oil in a bowl.
  • Pour the mixture over oats and combine until fully coated. Fold in almonds.
  • Spread the granola evenly across a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, tossing the granola mid-way through.

Come football play-off season the pressure is really on for me. I’m not talking about being nervous or worked up about the actual games, I’m talking about intensely brainstorming game-day snack ideas. While everyone else is preparing their picks for the big game, I’m busy concocting up ideas for what I plan to stuff my face with. And good news: I have a buttery, carb-y, pepperoni-stuffed plan, my friends! When I hit a mental block thinking about what to bring to a football viewing party last weekend my husband offered me some sage advice. He said: ‘you usually do well by taking something big and tasty and turning it into a bite sized snack’ – of course! So I shrunk down my favorite flavors in pizzas and garlic breads into a super easy Pepperoni-Stuffed Garlic Knot bite. The full recipe is below for all of your Superbowl Party planning needs!  2015/01/img_5973.jpgGarlic Knot 1Garlic Knot 2Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Ingredients

  • Store-bought pizza dough
  • Pepperoni
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 Tbsp of butter
  • 1/4 cup of parsley leaves
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Pull or cut 1″ round pieces of pizza dough and use your fingers to roll into a 1 to 2″ disc. Top the disc with a piece of pepperoni and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.
  • Roll the sides of the dough over the pepperoni and cheese filling and pinch the dough closed to seal it inside. Roll dough around in between your hands to round the shape and ensure the dough is fully sealed. Repeat until all of the dough is used up and arrange the dough balls into a pie dish.
  • In a food processor, combine butter, parsley and garlic. Spread the garlic herb butter over the dough, making sure that the mixture is evenly dispersed.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the garlic knots just begin to turn gold brown.  Serve with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.