I’m so in love with the steam assist technology feature on my KitchenAid range. I’ve been blowing off steam for months now and not just vegetables mind you. You can steam everything from cheesecake (which I will be sharing with you SOON and trust me you’re going to want to make that one) to fish (at different times of course because clearly who would want to eat fish and cheesecake at the same time right?). The steam assist technology feature is such a smarty pants it takes ALL the guess work out of figuring out what temperature to steam at or for how long.Because honestly the only time I want to rack my brain with math is if I’m figuring out the % off a shoe sale or when I’m tallying up invoices. Then I’m suddenly a math whiz. Truth.
This post brought to you by Starbucks. Opinions are my own.
Brunch is the perfect easy entertaining scenario. I like brunch because there’s not as much pressure as there would be say hosting a dinner party. Plus there’s COFFEE, lots and lots of COFFEE. Something everyone who knows me knows I’m very passionate about. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays behind us now is actually the perfect time to host a casual brunch for friends and family. To catch up, chat about this and that and consume copious amounts of coffee and culinary creations. That’s exactly what I did last weekend.
Sometimes it isn’t WHAT you’re making in the kitchen that’s important – its that you’re in there with your family and friends MAKING memories that you will treasure for a lifetime. Now that’s important. Cooking shouldn’t be a scary process. Just get in there and have fun. So what IF you burn dinner (it happens to all of us). You have a laugh, make a sandwich or go out for dinner. Well unless it’s $25 lb diver scallops and then it’s okay to shed a few tears. But let’s not talk about that. Cooking isn’t rocket science (thank goodness because that I’m NO good at). Nobody starts out being an excellent cook. Being good at cooking is like being good at anything else. Practice makes perfect, at least with this kind of practice you get a snack.
I am one of those people that absolutely ADORES Panettone. I look forward to it EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. I stock up when I see those gorgeous boxes adorning the stores starting in July. Okay not really July but Christmas comes earlier and earlier each year and it seems like July when they start putting everything out to me. None-the-less. Hooray for Panettone. I believe it’s in the fruit cake camp. You either love it or loathe it. Fruit cake I strongly dislike (Sorry Grandma. Sorry Mom) Panettone on the other hand I’m for. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Did I mention how much I like it?
I’ve always wondered why eggplants are so neglected. Every time I visit the local grocers there they are, just sitting there lonely. All stacked up in their majestic purple royalty begging to go home with someone anyone. I’m guessing that some might be perplexed by them and it’s just easier to grab the broccoli and cauliflower. I however, really dig them. One of absolute favorite things to make with eggplant is Eggplant Parmigiana. Up until recently I always made it in lasagna form. It was quite labor intensive so I didn’t make it as often as I would have liked. Now I’ve come across a super easy way to make Eggplant Parm. One of those palms on forehead moments the minute I saw it followed by the inevitable why didn’t I think of that.
Pork. Mushrooms. Marsala. What’s not to love about this dish? It’s meaty, earthy and is sure to become a recipe in your go to repertoire. Serve the saucy medallions over a bed of glorious garlic mashed potatoes OR creamy polenta and call it a night. But not before adding a baguette. That sauce is the kicker. I mean it’s okay to lick the plate when no one is around but if you have guests it’s probably best to mop it up with a nice piece of toasty bread.
Tortellini in Brodo means “Tortellini in Broth” or as my kids call it, Tortellini Soup. Whichever way you prefer to say it it’s always going to start with the broth. Since there are only 2 elements to this soup (well 3 if you add cheese and we always add cheese so okay 3) it’s important to make them count. Start with homemade stock. Making homemade stock couldn’t be easier I promise. If you can chuck everything into a stock pot, turn on the stove and later strain you can make homemade stock. Pretty much anytime I roast a chicken I’m making a batch of chicken stock afterwards. I leave a few jars in the fridge for that week and freeze the rest for later. Which is often. Amazing how many times I use chicken stock a week so I’m really grateful to have some in the freezer to thaw out as needed.
My kids just went back to school from Christmas break. Despite having many new toys to play with thanks to Santa they still expected wanted to be entertained. Since I absolutely suck at wii games (with the exception of bowling where I rule) and I made more Rainbow Loom bracelets than I care to admit (double fishtail anyone?), I needed a back up plan. One that was preferably on the cheap and didn’t require me to leave the house (have you seen the traffic). In comes homemade play dough.
This post brought to you by Arm & Hammer. Opinions are my own.
Let’s just face it, going to the dentist isn’t high on anyone’s list so I try really hard to make sure that everyone in our house brushes and often. Sadly that’s not an easy chore for me. Does anyone else have to fight with their kids to get them to brush their teeth? Sigh. To keep the whining, moaning and groaning to a minimum I’ve found that spin brushes seem to help. Arm & Hammer has a few fantastic options. For the kids, try Tooth Tunes – Two minutes of music in your mouth. Tooth Tunes is the only toothbrush with Music in your Mouth technology. Just turn it on and start brushing. Dancing is completely optional.
This post brought to you by Starbucks. Opinions are my own.
I love a good party don’t you? I believe the secret to a successful party, no matter the size, is planning. Yes homework it’s something we have even after we finish with school. I know that Christmas is now behind us and New Year’s Eve is literally right around the corner but I’m not ready to put away the festivities just yet. I’m looking ahead to a winter BRUNCH that I’m hosting next month. Brunch is that magical meal that lets you choose from your favorite breakfast items and lunch items. It’s a marriage made in meal heaven and perfect for easy entertaining.
I’m pretty much a lemon-holic if there is indeed such a thing. I always have lemons in my refrigerator. They go with OH just about everything and they make one lip smacking tart to boot. This one is luscious, luxurious and a cinch to make. The hardest part will be arranging those raspberries on top. If you’re impatient and want to skip that step I’d totally understand. The lemon goodness is waiting just below and for us lemon-holics, it’s pretty irresistible.
This post brought to you by Scotch-Brite. Opinions are my own.
It’s no secret that I HATE to do dishes. At all. If there was a contest to see who could use the least amount of dishes when cooking/baking I’m pretty sure I’d be on the podium. Thank goodness there are things to help me out with those dirty dishes. You know the ones that you thought you buttered up well enough, or sprayed them in every nook and cranny. The ones that you’d almost rather leave in the sink overnight than try to tackle. Like say ooey gooey cinnamon roll pans?
If you’re a fan of sweet and salty then you’re going to love these no bake peanut butter pretzel bar treats. These are easy enough to whip up in about 30 minutes – you know in case you’re craving something besides a cookie OR if you’re still looking for last minute holiday gifts (tell me I’m not the only last minute girl), home-made treats are the way to go. Either way they won’t last long. There are only a few simple ingredients that you probably have in your pantry AND they’re easy enough that the kids can make these themselves with just a little help from the microwave. No bake remember!
I’m one of those people that eats ice cream and frozen treats year round. I might be doing it curled up on the couch under a blanket watching HGTV but I’m doing it. Take that winter! And clearly I’ve passed that trait onto my kids because they HAVE to have popsicles and ice cream in our freezer at all times. It’s a thing and I’m guessing because the freezer aisles are stocked with more options that you can shake a stick at that there are a lot more people out there like me too. Naturally when the folks at Outshine asked me to give their seasonal limited edition fruit bars a try I jumped on it.
It’s just not Christmas without a variety of fudge on our holiday dessert table. Yes my Mom always has quite the impressive dessert table. She’s an overachiever too (I get it honestly). It includes a variety of cookies, cakes, rolls/logs (is that considered cake?) and candy. I’m pretty sure we all know why I have a sweet tooth. My Mom has made fudge for as long as I can remember. Every different type of fudge but surprisingly not a Black Forest Fudge. I’m going to surprise her with some this year. Because you know we need another dessert on our dessert table.
Sparkling cocktails are all the rage, at least in my house. Bring on the bubbles please. They don’t have to be reserved for a special occasion especially when you’re serving up Freixenet.
Freixenet, prounounced “fresh-eh-net”. Their black bottle is the most popular, often referred to as the “Black Bottle Bubbly.” Freixenet Cordon Negro is a blended wine consisting of 3 traditional but little known Spanish varietals – Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada. Macabeo produces a fairly light but fruity, aromatic wine of medium-high acidity – characteristics crucial to the production of sparkling wine. It is also an important grape in the aging process because its must does not readily oxidize. Xarel-lo yields a robust, high-acid wine and contributes power and depth. Parellada is the star of all cava blends. It has both beautiful demonstrative fruit and finesse.
Gourgeres are just another one of the many reasons I happen to adore Sock Monkey. My friend Meredith (aka the Sock Monkey) introduced me to these can’t eat just one if my life depended on it cheese puffs. Yes, don’t let the fancy schmancy name “Gourgeres” fool you into thinking these are stuffy and difficult. They’re essentially a cheese puff. An irresistible puff of cheese. Typically Gruyere cheese. How can this be bad right?
Cheers! I know everyone is breaking out the eggnog right now but I have a confession to make … I’m not a huge fan. I know, I know. I just can’t. That and beer which I know has nothing to do with eggnog but all the same I just must pass. I don’t have anything against eggs. Not at all. I happen to adore those. Maybe it’s the nog I’m opposed to. Although I am okay with eggnog baked french toast. Maybe it’s just drinking it for me. Who knows. I am however a fan of the cocktail. If you’re a fan of old time cocktails this will be particularly appealing to you. It’s a cocktail that predates prohibition.
Ugly. But. Good. That is the literal Italian to English translation of the name of these cookies. In my opinion they should be called light and irresistible or the incredible disappearing cookie instead of ugly but who am I to argue with the most beautiful language on the planet? I will just continue to refer to them as “Brutti Ma Buoni” because that sounds so much more appealing than Ugly. But. Good. Let’s focus on the good part now shall we? If you have a strong arm you can whip up a few baking trays of these meringue-esque beauties in no time at all. Luckily all my risotto making has trained me well for the whisking that goes into this recipe.
Disclaimer: This blog post is brought to you by SocialMoms and Funjet Vacations blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.
I don’t know about you but this time of year when the days are shorter, darker, colder and sweaters, scarves and boots are the norm vacation destinations are what I daydream and dream about. Since I am a beach girl through and through I gravitate towards vacation destinations like Mexico’s Vallarta-Nayarit. With nearly 200 miles of coastline, authentic charm and a rich vibrant culture it’s no wonder Riviera Nayarit was named one of Frommers’ top destinations for 2014. It’s a destination for pampering, stunning sunsets and incredible value that I can’t wait to experience firsthand with my family. There is literally something for every age to experience making it an optimal family friendly vacation destination that you can book for as little at $50 down!