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Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 3, 2012

It is raining out. And I am sick with a yucky cold. And my heart is heavy.  All signs point to cookies. And some Camomile tea too. 

I started with the Quaker Oats recipe, then added one of my favorite combos, cranberries and white chocolate.  Mmm…feel free to substitute your favorite combo of nuts or raisins. 


Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups of Quaker Oats (Quick)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350° F. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla extract; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Slowly stir in oats. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on sheet, remove to wire rack.

BAR COOKIES: Bake 30 to 35 minutes on ungreased 13 x 9-inch metal pan.

Hugs from a cute toddler make everything better!! I love that my kids are drinking tea as much as me (diluted with milk and caffeine free of course). 

Risotto with Scallops and Asparagus

April 30, 2012

My brother Chris loved food. He loved cooking, sharing great recipes, and perfecting every technique. 

So when we learned that my brother had passed away from MS, there was nothing else I could think of to do then to go cook a meal for everyone.  Our best recent memories of him were of just hanging out, cooking, drinking wine, listening to him complain about how my mom’s knives weren’t sharp enough. Of course that was what we should do while we grieved him.  What could we make to honor this sad day?


Risotto, such comfort food, with some asparagus in season and some bay scallops since he loved seafood.  

And of course, we would need plenty of this:

The one pot meal was perfect for our lack of energy at clean up, and the time spent stirring and talking was very therapeutic. We all finished dinner with heavy hearts but full stomaches.  My brother would have loved the whole process.



Risotto with Scallops and Asparagus

1 medium onion, diced
2 T. butter
2 T. of olive oil
1.5 cups of arborio rice 
1 cup dry white wine 
4 cups simmering chicken stock
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into thirds
1 lb. bay scallops
3 T. chopped Pimentos (my mom added that “for color”)
S & P 

Sautee chopped onions in butter and olive oil. Once translucent, add the arborio rice and coat well in the butter/oil mixture (this helps make it creamy), cook for 2 minutes.  Add the wine, and stir until absorbed.  Add the chicken stock, one cup at a time, stirring constantly until it is absorbed. As you add last cup of chicken stock, toss in parmesan cheese and asparagus, and stir until liquid is absorbed.  Add scallops and stir until cooked through, 3-5 minutes.  Add more parmesan shavings on top to serve.


Here is to my brother for sharing his love food so enthusiastically, especially when it is cooked with sharp knives.


Anniversary Dinner

February 18, 2012


This Valentine’s Day, my husband took me to the same restaurant he took me to on our first Valentine’s Day ten years ago. For some reason this number of years makes me feel old and young at the same time.

It was surprising how this evening became a measure of us.  That perspective shift of seeing through your older eyes what you saw when you were young, and how some of those things weren’t out there but inside yourself. Like standing on your college campus, reading a childhood book, or seeing an old friend. The place was like a time capsule of our former selves.

Ten years ago, with our cubical job/company softball team/few years out of college eyes, the restaurant had seemed fancy. The menu, the wine, the atmosphere felt like we were participating in a grown up life that was just a bit ahead of our twenty-something lives. Now, after three kids, many travels, and well, a job where you take people out to dinner, we are there. The food wasn’t outrageously expensive, as it had seemed then, there weren’t uber chic surroundings, merely sophisticated ones, and, because an early wake up was sure to greet us the next day, we only had one bottle of wine instead of two (that explains a lot doesn’t it?)

But somehow, even though a place can change, food is unique in it’s ability to make a memory that is indelible. When I took one bite of the Filet, with a nice sip of Bordeaux, I was transported back to that Valentine’s Day, ten years ago, when I fell in love with my husband, and with good food.



A cheese plate with a French Sheep’s milk cheese, a blue and goat cheese, with honey and raisins. This is a good example of the measure of 10 years. This seemed fancy. Now, this is a regular pre-meal nosh at home.

Oeuf en Cocotte with Truffles, Pommes Purée, Marinated Chanterelles & Brioche – love the French towel it is served on!



Chermoula Braised Short Rib with Pommes Purée, Rainbow Carrots & Pickled Radish



Filet Au Poivre with Cognac Cream, Grilled Scallions, Green Peppercorns & Pommes Au Gratin 



This was a tough choice because we make Filet Au Poivre a lot at home, in fact that is what we had for Christmas Dinner. But it was good and the addition of the cognac in the cream sauce and the green peppercorns were inspiring.

We are off for a week of skiing for school vacation week where I will be making more meals out of the Ski House Cookbook – I will let you know which one’s we love! I can’t wait to come back and buy lots of veggies and fish and have healthy meals and spring clean our house!


Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

February 2, 2012



I discovered these when friends of the family used to make them all the time.  I recreated the recipe because I started to crave them! And once I had kids I realized they are a great way to use up ripe bananas.  This is also a great recipe to make with kids too (mashing bananas & snacking on chocolate chips keeps them very occupied). 

I make them different every time too, sometimes just with chocolate chips, sometimes half chocolate, half white chocolate chips, and feel free to add walnuts too. They make your house smell sooo good too, you’ll be smiling when you see the bananas turn brown because you know that these beauties are right around the corner.  And I always make them mini (built-in portion control) but you can make them big.  

These travel so well I always try to make them before a trip or a visit. Enjoy! 


Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

 1 stick Butter

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 c. flour

1 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

3 ripe bananas

1 t. vanilla

1 c. chocolate chips (white or black)

1/4. c. chopped walnuts, optional

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter & sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Sift together in separate bowl the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Slowly add flour mixture to butter mix.  In a seperate bowl, mash bananas with a fork.  Mix with 1 t. vanilla.  Add to flour and butter mixture.  Add chocolate chips and nuts, if using, and slowly mix with a spoon.  

Spray 2 mini muffin tins with cooking spray.  Pour each 3/4 full.  Cook for 15-18 min.  
(If using large muffin tin, cook for 20-22 min). 


Saturday Night Dinner

January 28, 2012



I love cooking Saturday night dinner. I love the ritual, the chopping and stirring and listening to music with a glass of wine, talking to my husband while our children fight play. The time pressures which pulse us along through the week are gone, and the rhythm of relaxation can finally take over.  In our new house, the best view of the fireplace roaring is actually at the stove. 

What could be better on a snowy night? 

And since November, we’ve had a return of the half cow (see earlier post called Drunken Cow).  Our freezer in our garage is filled with a lovely animal that was chewing on Vermont grass as recently as 6 weeks ago. This makes planning and cooking a Saturday night dinner even easier.  Here’s what I made last Saturday:



I love, love, love roasting vegetables.   Winter vegetables keep forever in your fridge!  I always have these 3 on hand, but I also use sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, and rutabaga.  You can’t go wrong – just try to cut them all evenly so they cook evenly.



Mix them with this trio….





Toss them together in a bowl….



And they become a caramelized, sweet and tangy and salty glory.



Maple Dijion Roasted Root Vegetables

4 Carrots
4 Parsnips
1 pound Brussel Sprouts

4 T. Maple Syrup  —-(quick tip: 4 T = 1/4 cup)
4 T. Dijion Mustard
4 T. Olive Oil
1 t. S &  1/2 t. P 

Preheat oven to 425. Cut all vegetables into roughly the size of 
french fries. Cut Brussel sprouts in half.  Toss all ingredients in a bowl
then lay on a roasting pan. Cook for 25-30 min, turning them over half way 
through cooking. 


And here is the star of the meal….a lovely strip steak from the half cow.  The cryovacking makes it so easy to pull out and soak in hot water for quick defrosting.  


I just put salt, pepper, Olive Oil, and minced onions all over this steak, and seared it, 3 min. per side, then popped it in the still hot 425 degree oven from the vegetables for 8 minutes.   My husband uses Adolph’s Tenderizer instead of salt on his steak when he grills it, and that is delicious too!

Oven Roasted Steak:

1 T Olive Oil
1 T Minced Onion
1 t S& 1/2 t P
1 Strip Steak 

Heat oven-safe pan on high heat.  Sear steak on each side, 3-4 min depending on thickness.  Place in a preheated oven at 425 for 8 min.  Serve with pat of butter or blue cheese crumbled on top.  We sauteed some onions and spread this secret weapon on everything:


This sauce is so good, it is just reduced balsalmic vinegar.  It was the perfect compliment to the steak, blue cheese, onions, and veggies. 

I served it with 90 second rice because that’s how we roll. My husband loves sauteed onions, so we added that too, making for a very messy plate.
Even my kids devoured this meal…


Poached Pears

January 17, 2012



I have always wanted to make poached pears, and I finally did!  The recipe share I belong to issued the theme to make something you have never made before for this month’s dinner, and I was so glad. Is there a better dessert on a cold winter night? 

It seems like what Alice Waters or Julia and James Beard would eat at the end of a meal. Not only did it make my house smell amazing (think mulled apple cider – my kids kept asking, mmm, what’s for dinner?) but the look of the fruit is like a ruby or stained glass – they are so beautiful.  Cooking them whole with the stems on made me feel like a very chic chef.  I scooped out the middle with a melon baller, though I would do this a little more carefully on my next try to get out all of the seed cavity.



Don’t they look like jewels in the beautiful red wine?

If the cinnamon and wine aren’t enough, try Cinnamon Whip Cream to go on top.  Mmm…they keep for several days, and last night I ate leftovers with blue cheese melted in the middle.  I was lucky enough to have very high quality blue cheese, and the combination might even be more decadent then the cinnamon whip cream, I’m not totally sure.  This preparation is also pretty quick – it takes about 10 min. on each side and about 10 to prep, a total time of 30 min.

Red Wine Poached Pears 

Use a fruit-forward red wine, like a California or Australian Zinfindel or Syrah/Shiraz. I used 90 Plus Shiraz and it was great, a great value at $10 and I think it was 88 pts. on Wine Spectator. 


  • 4-6 Peeled, Cored and Sliced Pears (recommend Bosc or Anjou)
  • 1 1/2 cups of red wine (recommend Zinfandel, Shiraz or Merlot)
  • 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice (can also add lemon zest if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon


Combine all ingredients, except pears, and bring to a boil. Once the wine mixture is boiling, turn heat down to a simmer and add the pears. Simmer pears for 10-12 minutes and then turn pears and simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes – until they are tender and are easily poked through with a fork. Remove pears and let them cool. Boil wine sauce until the liquid has been reduced by half. Pour sauce over pears and serve with either Whipped Cream, Blue Cheese, creme fraiche, or marscapone.

Cinnamon Whip Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients so it looks like this:  

Then whip them with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form.  Chill until use.