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August 30, 2011

Tomato Season | Heirloom Tomato Recipes

Heirloom Tomatoes... Finally

I think I'm probably behind the curve a bit on this, but we finally have a ripe tomato to pick from our tomato plants!   Two ripe tomatoes, actually.  I've been thinking of what I'm going to do with these special tomatoes, so I thought I'd put together all of my heirloom tomato recipes from this year for inspiration!

Panzanella - Bread salad with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and fresh basil.  

Grilled Garlic Bread with Heirloom Tomatoes

BAT - Bacon Avocado & Tomato Sandwich

Angel Hair Pasta with Pesto & Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes with Green Goddess Dressing

Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

August 29, 2011

The Recipe Box | A Visual Index of all of My Recipes!

I've been hard at work putting all of my recipes from the last year+ in one easy to navigate spot.  Introducing... The Recipe Box!  I hope this visual index makes your life a little bit easier as you scan the site looking for inspiration. 

As you can see from the image above,  the link to Recipe Index is found on the right hand side of each page.  There is also a link "Recipe Index" in the navigation bar found at the top of each page.

Let me know what you think!

August 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownies | Chewy, Chocolate Fudge & Peanut Butter Brownie Recipe

Peanut Butter Brownies

Chocolate and Peanut Butter might be one of the world's best combinations.  I know for some 'foodie types' that chocolate and raspberry, or chocolate and orange might be more sophisticated combinations, but for me it doesn't get better than PB & chocolate.

Peanut Butter Brownies are an obvious no-brainer.  You can start with a standard boxed brownie mix, or make homemade brownies (like my truffle brownies), either way the addition of a peanut butter swirl is crazy good. 

I've mentioned before that Mike is a purist of sorts when it comes to desserts - he prefers classic chocolate chip cookies vs. anything with oatmeal, raisins or PB, simple chocolate cake with butter cream frosting, and plain, 'chewy' (as he'd say...) brownies.  So, I added the peanut butter swirl to half of the pan.  You can do this if you are unsure if you'll like it... but I'm telling you, you will!

Peanut Butter Brownies Recipe

Brownie Box Mix, prepared as directed (before it bakes)
Homemade Brownies (get my recipe here!)
6 tablespoons of chunky peanut butter

After pouring the batter into the prepared baking pan, dollop 6 tablespoons of peanut butter evenly over the brownie batter.  With a knife, swirl the peanut butter into the chocolate batter, drawing your knife up and down the length of the pan.  Bake as directed.

I always bake my brownies a few minutes short of instructed baking time to get a nice, gooey, "chewy" brownie.

Notice Mike's taken care of the plain side already.  I love this Gold Touch Non-stick Baking Pan from William Sonoma ($26).  It is my official 'brownie pan'.

Baby Gifts | Soft, Embroidered Nursery Bedding, Baby Bath & Onsies

We've been working on the nursery for the past couple of weeks... (photos coming soon!) trying to get everything ready for the little *girl* we're expecting in December.  There is so, so much out there for babies.  Of course, my Pinterest account (hey- you should follow me!) has been flooded with "Baby" favorites. 

Mike and I about fell over when we saw the list of things we'll "need" for the baby.  I'm not a huge "stuff" person.  In fact, I start to panic when I think about my little house filling with tacky, brightly colored baby gear and equipment.  There is a lot of good, and there is a lot of ugly... 

Speaking of the good, I just love when I come across sweet little baby things that make me swoon.  I did just that when I stumbled upon the Baby collection from Coyuchi.  You might recall how I also swooned over their striped wool blankets (that will soon adorn my bed...).

I love the vintage embroidered tea-towel look they have to them.  Vintage without being 'vintage'.  Aren't they so sweet?  And so, so soft.

What little baby doesn't need baby bird hooded bath towels?

August 23, 2011

Back to School : To Do Lists

I've mentioned before that I'm not a naturally-born organized person.  I have to make an exaggerated effort to be efficiently productive.  The answer to my scattered-brain default mode?  Lists!

Without my lists, I would spend my day distracted and Pinterest Pinning (are you following me?) all day long!  Not that that wouldn't be fun...

The lists (especially when they are as pretty as these...) keep me on task and productive.  I wish I would've known the magic of making a little list when I was in school. 

Do your kids a favor and get them started with a good List making habit this school year.  They'll think it is a gift for them... but it is really a gift for you. 

I love these To-Do lists... the great design makes checking them off even more fun!


It is Back to School Season!  I've put together a Back to School Guide that will make the beginning of the school year more fun (and manageable!).  These make ahead dinners, easy breakfast recipes and simple desserts will get an A+ from your kids... and will pass the parent taste test, too!

Shrimp Scampi | Lemon Garlic Linguine with Sautéed Shrimp | Quick Pasta Dinner

My go-to quick dinner is often times Shrimp Scampi with Linguine.  I'll fix it on a Sunday night after we get home from traveling over the weekend, or a quick dinner for one if Mike is out of town.  It is one of my favorites to fix for company - it somehow seems elegant, but costs very little to make ($15 for four people) and takes 10-15 minutes.  Boil some water, saute garlic and shrimp, serve a salad and some crusty bread... done!

Like most great Italian 'recipes' the recipe is not really a recipe, but a list of ingredients.  If you don't have any white wine around (and don't feel like opening an entire bottle for a Tuesday night dinner... by yourself - hey, maybe you do!) you can leave it out.  No butter?  Just use olive oil and maybe a little extra garlic for more flavor.  Want to throw in some spinach to add some nutrients?  Go ahead.  This is an ever evolving recipe for me.  On any given night, I'll add tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, pancetta, basil, olives or some heavy cream.  Go crazy. 

For dinner last night, I reverted back to the classic version.  It is nice to go crazy sometimes, but can be just as nice to keep it simple. 

Here's the basic recipe to get you started. 

Shrimp Scampi
Lemon Garlic Linguine with Shrimp Scampi
serves 4

New! Printable Recipes, here.

1 pound of linguine
sea salt

1 pound of shrimp
1/4 cup of olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of white wine
3 tablespoons of butter
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons of parsley
1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

Begin by bringing a large pot of water to boil.

Prepare all of your ingredients before you add the pasta to the water - the sauteing will go very fast.  Peel and devein the shrimp.  Mince the garlic and parsley.  Juice the lemon.

Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt to the boiling water, then add pasta.  Stir the pasta as it cooks to make sure it doesn't stick together.   It will cook for about 5 minutes.  When you drain the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in a separate bowl/cup to use if the sauce needs thinning. 

Meanwhile, In a large saute pan heated on medium, add olive oil and garlic.  Saute for just 30 seconds until the garlic begins to bubble.  Add white wine, raise the temperature to high and let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until it slightly reduces.  Add butter.  Add shrimp.  Cook the shrimp for just a minute, then turn them to cook for 1 more minute*.  *If you are using very large shrimp it may take a little longer.

Lower the heat to a low simmer.  Add lemon juice, parsley, salt pepper and cooked pasta.  Toss together and serve. 

August 22, 2011

Bedroom Linens | Cozy Wool Blankets, Classic Striped Bedding | Our Bedroom

Cozy Striped Wool Blankets
I've had the bedding Mike and I use in our bedroom since before we were married, wait... before we were even engaged. In fact, I think I bought it when we first started dating.  Two houses and four years ago. The main element is a light and airy white and tan awning striped duvet cover.  I still like it.

However, it is more of a summery (as in, perfect for the summer season...) duvet.  I'd like to warm up our bedroom for the Fall and Winter months.  I'm dreaming of cozy wool blankets, and flax linen accents.  Enter, Coyuchi...

I about fell over when I saw the above wool striped blankets.  Everything on the site is warm, natural, and so, so cozy...

August 18, 2011

Cherry Cupcakes with Cherry Almond Buttercream Icing | Cupcake Recipes

Cherry Cupcakes with Cherry Almond Buttercream Icing

As I was working at my computer yesterday, I had a sudden flashback to our trip to DC in the Spring - Cherry Cupcakes.  I don't know where it came from, or how I got the intense urge to recreate it instantly (did I mention I'm pregnant?!), but promptly at 4 o'clock yesterday I slammed my computer shut and headed to the store for the ingredients.  I had everything I needed except cherries, cherry extract and butter.

Unfortunately my grocery store didn't have any cherry extract... as I tried to calm the quickly rising panic, I thought - it will be fine, real cherries will be enough cherry flavor, won't they?  Maybe they'll be even better?  After nicely asking (ok, borderline harassing...) all of the grocery staff members if they were sure they didn't have cherry extract (I even asked the in-store bakery...), I surrendered and figured the real thing would have to do.   I know, I could have gone to another store, but the next closest grocery store is 10 minutes away... too much time to waste between me and the finished product.

August 17, 2011

French Dip Sandwiches with French Onion Soup | Recipe

French Dip Sandwiches are one of Mike's favorite meals.  Something about dipping the almost rare beef into a steaming hot bowl of cheese covered soup that says comfort food.  As I mentioned before, French Onion Soup is a very simple and quick soup to make - great for a weeknight dinner or elegant dinner party.

French Dip Sandwiches

1 baguette
1 pound of roasted beef, sliced

French Onion Soup | Recipe | Soup

Mike never gets super excited when he asks what's for dinner and I reply, "Soup and Sandwiches."  Somehow this combo became known as lady's luncheon fare.  However, if I say "French Dips & French Onion Soup" it is a different story... he's thrilled.  Maybe it is the presence of beef, or a soup loaded with onions and topped with cheese that says 'manly meal?'

French Onion Soup couldn't be easier to make.  The only prep work is slicing some onions and pouring in various liquids.  It is a great quick dinner during the week, but also makes a very elegant first course for a dinner party.  This soup freezes nicely.  I like to freeze it in individual bowls, then reheat it with French Dip Sandwiches for a very quick dinner. 

French Onion Soup
serves 4-6

6 cups (3-4 onions) of yellow onions (vidalia, if available), halved and sliced
6 tablespoons of butter

August 11, 2011

Sticky Popcorn Cake with M&M's | Back to School

It is Back to School Season!  I've put together a Back to School Guide that will make the beginning of the school year more fun (and manageable!).  These make ahead dinners, easy breakfast recipes and simple desserts will get an A+ from your kids... and will pass the parent taste test, too!


Sticky Popcorn was another one of those recipes we were convinced my had Mom invented (like Pizza Bread).  It was melted marshmallows and popcorn stirred together to create and an ooey, gooey treat.  We would make it on Friday nights while we watch movies like Harry and the Hendersons or Adventures in Babysitting.  To top it all off, she would add food coloring to the melted marshmallows to tint the 'sticky' of the popcorn to pink, blue, purple, or green.  We thought that it was amazing.

Puff Pastry Cinnamon Roll-Ups | Back to School | Easy Breakfast Ideas

It is Back to School Season!  I've put together a Back to School Guide that will make the beginning of the school year more fun (and manageable!).  These make ahead dinners, easy breakfast recipes and simple desserts will get an A+ from your kids... and will pass the parent taste test, too!


Breakfast is tricky for all of us, right?  Or maybe you're super Mom/Wife and are flipping pancakes and making egg white omlets at 7 AM every morning.  Good for you.  More realistic breakfasts (for the rest of us) usually consists of cereal or something that comes out of a toaster.  

If you're using my Back-to-School Guide, your family has been enjoying a healthy and fulfilling Breakfast Strata all week for breakfast... but now it is Friday.  You want to make a little something special for your kids to take for breakfast... but you only have 10 minutes.  If you have puff pastry in the freezer*, you're in luck.  These cinnamon roll-ups are a similar technique to my pecan cinnamon rolls, but you can make them in no time.

Meatball Sub Sandwiches | Back to School | Dinner to Lunch Ideas

It is Back to School Season!  I've put together a Back to School Guide that will make the beginning of the school year more fun (and manageable!).  These make ahead dinners, easy breakfast recipes and simple desserts will get an A+ from your kids... and will pass the parent taste test, too!


As I've mentioned before, I'm not a very delicate eater.  When I was growing up my favorite sandwich was a meatball sub - an entire footlong meatball sub.  I can only imagine what a 90 pound 12-year-old looked like polishing off a meatball sandwich and a couple of bags of chips.  Those were the days!

Meatball subs were always my favorite lunch to take to school.  In those days, we had a big bag of frozen meatballs from Sam's Club and I would throw a couple on a sandwich and call it good.  That was before I discovered how easy it is to make homemade meatballs.

Chicken Pot Pie with Roasted Vegetables and Puff Pastry | Back to School


I think chicken pot pie got a bad wrap after years of frozen versions made it to the table.  This version, made with roasted vegetables and chicken topped with flaky puff pastry* is not anything like the old TV dinner... it is actually a treat.  This recipe take just 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish AND it is relatively healthy.  I serve it with a really fresh and crunchy salad to complete the meal.

August 10, 2011

Pizza Bread | Back to School | Veggie Soup with Pizza Bread

As I've mentioned before, my Mom is a great baker.  She makes homemade breads, cinnamon rolls and yeast dinner rolls.  One of her specialties when we were younger was Pizza Bread.  She would bring it to Superbowl Parties and make it for family get-togethers bringing along a marinara dipping sauce.  Always a big hit. 

She made it from homemade bread dough, but I decided to take a shortcut and make it from store-bought pizza dough.  It worked great.  It takes no time at all to put together and can bake while you make the vegetable soup that I served with it... making it a kid-friendly meal that actually has nutritious value.  
Pizza Bread

Veggie Soup | Back to School Recipes | Italian Vegetable Soup

Veggies can be hard to incorporate into your kids' diet - who am I kidding?  They are hard to incorporate in my own diet.  Mike is more of a Meat-and-Potatoes kind of guy, and I'm a Pasta-for-Every-Meal kind of gal, so we are often finding ourselves vegetable starved.  This healthy vegetable soup is just what we need to get us back into the nutrient rich world.

Vegetable soup can be a hard sell on kids.  I can't remember ever being excited when my Mom said we were having vegetable soup for dinner.  It was just one of those menu items that was 'fine' but not something that I would have requested.  It is not like anyone would pick vegetable soup for their birthday dinner. 

Uprinting Giveaway Winner | Maris of "In Good Taste"

 Giveaway | Customized Labels for your Kitchen | Home | Office

Congratulations to Maris of In Good Taste - you are the winner of the Custom Label Giveaway!

August 09, 2011

White House Black Market & Lucky Magazine | Press

Have you seen the September edition of Lucky Magazine?  If you have, you may have noticed a familiar face...

Two other bloggers (Dallas Shaw & Christine Cameron) and I partnered with White House | Black Market and Lucky Magazine for a special promotional piece that is in Lucky's September issue. 

The piece features WHBM's Fall line of black pants in all shapes and sizes.  I was in love with the Slim Ankle Pant that I "modeled." They reminded me of the classic cropped ankle pants that Mary Tyler Moore wore in the Dick Van Dyke Show - so very chic. 

I use the word "modeled" in loosely, because my then 15-week-pregnant body felt anything but model-worthy... but, they did a great job of making me look like I still had a waistline!  Wait... have I not a announced that yet?  More baby news to come... nursery design, boy or girl?, planning and preparing!  But for now...  back to the magazine.

Black & White Cookies
Remember when I made the Black & White Cookies to send to the Lucky & WHBM crew?  Well they have a little treat for you...

As part of their Fall campaign, Lucky Magazine and White House Black Market are hosting a contest for $1,000 shopping spree.  To enter, click here!

Christine Cameron | My Style Pill... visit her blog here!

Dallas Shaw | Dilly Dallas | visit her blog here!

Here are some Behind-the-Scenes photos of the shoot...

The hair and makeup crew had their work cut out for them.  I had come straight from Martha's Vineyard for our family vacation... sun kissed burned, dry skin.

Much needed manicure...

Touching up my feet... I had taken a stumble at Starbucks earlier that week and there was a scrape on my foot.  But don't you really like those pants?

Still having issues with the foot makeup...

Trying to suck in my 15-week-pregnant bloating...

Holding my breath - hairspray!

Thanks to everyone that helped with this project - it was great fun!

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