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May 31, 2013

Wow, has the last month flown by! Having a baby is like going into a time warp, where what was previously ‘a day’ or ’24 hours’ is now equal to ‘feed little people, sleep and maybe shower’. So that means my month hiatus from a blog post is more like a few days in regular time.

In the last month, so many great friends and family have stopped by with delicious meals and treats, I wanted to share some favorites! Also, while I have been nursing I have watched some great cooking shows, so I wanted to share some of the ideas that I can’t wait to try.

1. Have you ever seen French Cooking at Home with Laura Calder?  She is super smart/well-traveled albeit quirky, and she just inspires me to shop for amazing ingredients like tarragon vinegar from Nice and sea salt from the Ivory Coast. I love hearing her stories about France and it is filling in for my inability to travel for the next 15 years nicely.

2. My friend dropped off some yummy chocolate chip cookies with her fantastic meatloaf meal, and I actually texted her for the recipe.  They were dark chocolate and not too sweet, kind of salty, and definitely tasted homemade.  (Those roses are from my husband from the hospital after having Andrew, love him!)

When I saw my friend she told me they were the all natural prepackaged cookies at our local store. Here is the package, go get yourself some! There are such a great chocolate fix.

3. We are lucky enough in Portsmouth to have some great small grocery stores with delicious pre-made food.  I have been living off of Fresh Market’s Curry Chicken Salad and Pesto Chicken Salad. They are both so easy to make I plan to make a big batch at home soon. To make them, just bake 3 chicken breasts at 350 for 30 min, or grab a rotisserie chicken, cube the chicken and toss with mayo. For the Curry Chicken Salad, mix in curry powder + cashews + grapes. For Pesto Chicken Salad,  pesto + walnuts or pine nuts. (You can use store bought pesto in a pinch too). Season well with salt and pepper.  This to me is summer heaven in Bibb lettuce and a Pita, or really thick wheat bread. Or Cibatta. Ok, I’ll stop.

4. This side salad a friend brought over is also on the must re-create at home list. What I love about it are the size of the cucumber and celery pieces, it makes the salad feel so hearty and the dressing is amazing.  Why have I never thought to cut celery so big and include it in a salad? It is in a red-wine vinegar dressing with TONS of dill but not a lot of oil, so it is very light. I am really inspired to toss summer veggies in lots of herbs and vinegar.

I ate this for lunch for 2 days, one day adding tortellini and extra feta:

5. I hope you are blessed with a pizza place nearby that has good greek salads, with the really yummy dressing, soft fresh pita and great salty feta. Because I am.  Nick and Charlies, and if your local, please order from them (you can find their website here) because I really really love them and want them to stay in business.

6. While we are at it, if you haven’t tried Peeper Ale, it is a Portland,ME local brew and we (as in my husband, my extended family, and my friends. A hearty collective) love it.  I am heading to Casco Bay, ME tomorrow and I am having one in advance tonight with the above greek salad.

7. My sister and her husband brought over bags of Steak Burritos and Breakfast Burritos after Andrew was born.  It was such  a great make ahead meal, and they freeze very easily too.  Thinking I will dedicate a Sunday this summer to making a bunch since it is so easy on busy mornings and evenings to toss these in the microwave.  Sharing this idea with you all in the quest for the easiest make ahead meals ever.

8. I love fish, and it feels like a treat because it is not often I can shop for it and cook it on the same day.  Next time I have the chance, I am making this: Ina Garten’s Salmon Sandwiches with bacon and guacamole on Cibata rolls.  I am dying to try these!

Going to snuggle with the littles for family movie night. Have a fabulous weekend!

Easter Brunch

April 5, 2013

Could Easter get any cuter?


Combine baby animals + springtime colors and flowers + little kids.

I love Easter.  It is the perfect combo, falling squarely between Thanksgiving ‘relax, it’s all about the food’ and Christmas ‘experience kids’ high-octane delight’. Throw in “Heaven is now open” in the mix for those who celebrate that little tidbit, and there are so many reasons to party, i.e. drink Mimosas.

For the last few years, I have been trying to make something for holiday brunch the day before so I can really enjoy the morning excitement.  Quiche and some pastry has been my usual duo, with some fresh fruit and ‘shrubs’, which is a drink my mom made for holiday brunch.  It is seltzer + juice with a scoop of sherbet and it really tastes like a holiday to me now.

The quiche I made this year was so good, and I used just what I had on hand, though the asparagus fresh and in season really led the inspiration.  It is so easy, just use:

plus the stars of the show, a store cooked pie crust (pre-cooked for 8-10 min, this one has some sauteed onions in it) and Swiss cheese:


Asparagus, Tomato, and Feta Quiche (printer version here.)


1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup onions

8 asparagus spears, ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cherry tomatoes, halved

5 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese (Jarlsburg or Gruyere)

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 9-inch pie crust


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pie dough and cook for 8-10 min.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and asparagus spears for a few minutes until soft. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Stir in the feta, Swiss, and mozzarella cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place asparagus pieces and onions on the bottom of the crust. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the vegetables and into the crust. Bake the quiche for 45 minutes or until quiche is set and slightly golden brown. Let quiche stand for 15 minutes before serving.

 Ina Garten’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake. (Find the printer version here.)

This cake was soooo good, and it was so much fun to make with my little Lucy, she loves baking anything, and she was actually a big help! (Sophie sprayed and floured the pan for me, then went out to play with her friend. RJ was skiing.)  I have bought her box mix of this cake before, but I felt like making it from scratch equaled the same amount of work (in case you are likewise tempted to shortcut with her $10 box mix).

My kitchen after cooking with kids (it is so worth it, and I made sure I had lots of time so I would stay patient):

The only ingredient that I had to track down was cake flour, but it gives it a bakery quality.

I may or may not have eaten this cake for breakfast every day this week.

The Egg Hunt with the cousins was so much fun!

Our annual Easter photo – it might be the only one we get each year when we are all cleaned up. And yes I am almost 36 weeks pregnant in this photo. Happy Spring!!!!!!

(Also, check out what to do with your leftover ham bone here.)

Breakfast Outside

July 27, 2012

Before my husband left for work last week, he asked me if I had seen the article in the Boston Globe.

I went online, and what I read really hit home.  It was an anthropological study of 32 families in L.A. The researchers were trying to create a snapshot of family life in our current day.  What they found was that American’s rarely eat together as a family, are buying tons of stuff they don’t need, and are hardly ever going in their backyards. You can read it here.

It was eye opening, and it really hit on all the reasons why I have this food blog.  Homemade food is the heart of something intrinsically valuable.  It feeds the soul, it celebrates everyday life, and it upgrades the quality of life for my family.

It was a gorgeous summer day. I decided we were eating breakfast outside.

I made French Toast with Blueberries and Whip Cream.


It was super easy, and I used the best bread, Jessica’s Brick Oven French Toast Bread:


It already had swirls of cinnamon in it and and amazing thick, chewey texture. (You all know how much I appreciate good bread!)


French Toast:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 6 thick slices of bread
  • Butter
  • Maple syrup

And by Maple Syrup, I mean REAL maple syrup.  I am super passionate about Grade A syrup if you can find it.  And it is not cheap, but like good wine or olive oil, it makes an amazing difference.


I got mine at a local farm stand.  Yes, that price tag is correct!  But totally worth it.



We started off the day on such a happy, yummy note.  So glad that article pushed me outdoors.  Dining al fresco at any meal makes life lovely.

Did I mention I was in my pajamas?