Apple Crumble Bites

We are knee deep in Apple (and hurricane) season here in the northeast and last weekend we took a family fun trek to CN Smith farm. Normally this farm is a fabulous idea with small kids. Easy parking, some animals, lots of apples and donuts (not to mention a kitch halloween display). I don’t know if they were featured on something recently but it was a zoo and prices were a bit crazy ($23 per peck). We had fun but wow, we might be expanding our PYO repertoire next year.

With a peck of apples we of course ate them but my kids aren’t the pick up an apple and just eat it type. Apparently I’m the only one in the house that does that. So this week, realizing the apples were starting to become more decorative that a standby snack, I decided to transform them, into baby muffins.

It’s easy, both kids can eat a ton of them and it used a couple apples…I’ve got plans for the others.

This is what you’ll need;

2 cups flour

1 tea baking soda

1/2 tea baking powder

1/2 tea salt

1 stick butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 tea vanilla

1/4 cup applesauce

3 large apples, diced

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tea flour

1/2 tea cinnamon 

1 tbsp butter

In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Line muffin tins or grease.

In a large bowl, add softened butter, sugar and eggs. Cream until well blended then add vanilla and applesauce. Mix well. Fold in diced apples.

Add flour mixture in thirds, making sure flour is mixed well before adding next bit.

In the now empty flour bowl add brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter. Mix with your fingers until butter breaks down into a coarse pea size consistency.

Fill muffin cups 1/3 full and top with brown sugar mixture. 

Bake for 8-11 minutes for mini muffins and 13-18 minutes for larger muffins.


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Eggplant Bites

We are finally getting used to our back to school schedules, which means cooking dinner again instead of ordering pizza! (Am I the only one that shouts yay at this?) I took quite a bit of the summer off from blogging to work on other projects and can happily say most of those went well.

To get back into the swing of things I thought I would try my hand at making a vegetable that doesn’t go down very well over here (eggplant) a kid friendly makeover.

This is an easy recipe that is pan to table in minutes (perfect for those hungry school kids!) My toddler thought these were the best thing ever, my kindergartener saw right through these (but ate some anyway) “mom these are not chicken nuggets!”

This is what you’ll need;

1 medium eggplant, cut into “nugget sized bites”

1 cup milk

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 tea pepper

1 tea salt

1 1/2 cup panko 

1/2 cup vegetable oil

in 3 small bowls add

  • flour with salt and pepper
  • milk
  • panko

Add the eggplant bites to the flour to coat.

In a sauté pan, add oil and heat to medium high. When oil is hot enough (you can test by dipping a utensil in the oil, bubbles should surround the utensil) you can start the rest of the process, rapid fire.

I always reserve a plate with a paper towel to remove excess oil.

Take flour dusted eggplant and quickly dip into milk and then coat with panko. Then place in hot oil. Dont add too many or they won’t fry well. Flip after 1 minute. Remove (2 minutes cooking time total) and add to paper towel plate. Serve immediately. My kindergartener ate these with ketchup. The rest of us ate them with tortellini and homemade pasta sauce. 


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Buffalo Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

I know what you’re thinking…what????? … I know, it’s a little crazy but bear with me. I love spaghetti squash. I could eat it once a week. To get my family on board with that idea I’ve been trying variations of their favorites using the squash. Since my husband loves anything and everything buffalo chicken style I thought I would give it a go.

Except I didn’t have chicken (whoops) but I did have pulled pork and it’s the other white meat right?

I’m going to admit off the bat that this was not my favorite spaghetti squash meal but I caveat that with I don’t really like buffalo style stuff so, if you like that, you’ll like this.

This meal is really easy to pull together and you can alter the spice level to what your family prefers. I took a horrendous picture (sorry mom) that even looks bad edited (I’m not selling this dish on this post am I?) here goes, if you make it, I’d love to hear from you!!

This is what you’ll need;

1 medium sized spaghetti squash

4 oz cream cheese

1/3 cup hot sauce

1/3 cup ranch dressing

1 cup pulled pork

1 celery stalk diced

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup scallions diced

1/2 tea salt

1/2 tea pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F

Slice squash lengthwise and remove seeds and middle bit.

brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, flesh side.

Turn flesh side down on a cookie sheet and place in preheated oven for 40 minutes. You should be able to pierce squash with a knife and fluff the inside up easily.

While squash is cooking melt hot sauce and cream cheese over medium heat until cream cheese is melted. Turn heat to low and add ranch, celery and pulled pork. Stir until mixed.

Fluff up squash and add mixture to squash. Top with cheddar if you want (we did). 

Cook for 15 minutes and serve hot.


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Pretty in Pink: Rethinking Elle Woods


I know this isn’t about cooking, but as a woman (who admittedly liked Legally Blonde AND considers myself a feminist) I think looking at feminist literature, however it comes to you, is important. I hope you enjoy this off-topic blog post!

Originally posted on :

The opening sequence of Legally Blonde is all pink products and blond hair. We cut between scenes of college and sorority life – a girl being catcalled by frat guys as she bikes past their house, girls in pink workout gear on treadmills, those Tiffany’s heart bracelets everywhere – and Reese Witherspoon’s silky hair and perfectly manicured hands surrounded by beauty-products and markers of traditionally recognizable, material femininity: Herbal Essences “True Color” Blonde hair-dye; nail polishes; dried roses on a stack of Cosmopolitans; a Homecoming Queen banner; a lovingly decorated “President” sorority paddle. Everything that could be pink is pink, from the bedspread, to the glitter pens used to write on a pink card in a pink envelope, to the doggy-sweater for Bruiser, Elle Wood’s chic Chihuahua.

Just four minutes into the movie, a salesgirl sizes Elle up the way many viewers – my thirteen year-old self included –…

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Baking Soda Substitute

Sounds boring right? It may be, but, I haven’t been grocery shopping in awhile (I’m talking almost a month) and my house is bare. I mean I have a 5 year old and I’m out of ketchup bare. It’s bad. I keep telling myself “I’ll go tomorrow” but to be honest, I have left a full shopping cart twice due to a full meltdown by children (who have chosen to alternate said meltdowns) and I just can’t go grocery shopping with them. It’s sanity 0, kids 1…maybe 5.

So when I realized I was having a playdate but *gasp* had no delicious treats, I realized I had to figure something out.  (How Stepford right?)

So I pulled together a whole mess of ingredients that I thought would go together for mini muffins, started mixing everything together and realized…I had no baking powder. None. The tub was in the cabinet, but it was just there to mock me.

I looked up substitutes on pinterest AND google, but unfortunately they varied so much that I realized I was on my own. So, with high school level science, I decided to give myself a baking challenge. You know what? I aced chemistry in HS and BOOM, I still got it!

This is what you’ll need;

baking sodawhite vinegar

subtle, right? That’s it. Baking soda and white vinegar. My recipe called for 3 tsp of baking powder. To substitute, you need to add 3/4 tsp of baking soda to the dry ingredients and 1 1/2 tsp of white vinegar to the wet ingredients. The vinegar “activates” the soda to give it the same pop that baking powder.

That’s it! How cool right? My chemistry teacher Dr. Hershfield would have been super proud…I wonder if he’s still teaching…

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Vanilla cake with salted burnt honey sauce

Originally posted on the hungry mum:

Vanilla cake with salted burnt honey sauce

Get your tasting spoons ready, bakers: the sauce in this cake is something you will be unable to resist.

Donna Hay created the salted burnt honey sauce in a recent edition of her eponymous magazine. Do not underestimate the bewitching properties of this sauce: four ingredients is all it takes to lift a lovely cake into superstar mode.

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Champagne Cake? Oh My!

I just HAD to reblog this. If you know anything about me, then you’ll know my affinity for all things bubbly. It doesn’t hurt that it makes child rearing a lot more fun (in moderation…)

Enjoy reading and making this!!!

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Blueberriest Muffins

Tomorrow, my baby turns 5. “She’s not a baby!” I hear you exclaim. Let me explain. To me, she will always be the gorgeous 4 lb chica who came just a bit early and surprised us with her sassiness, persistence, brilliance and beauty from day 0. I will never forget my fear of having her, my joy of realizing that my long difficult pregnancy journey led to such a great kid. She’s amazing. A little tough to take at times, but an amazing human being.  

With that said, we have a birthday tradition of breakfast in bed which started when she turned two. She LOVES that she gets to eat WHATEVER she wants, in her bed, surrounded by her stuffed animals watching a show. Childhood perfection. One of the things she wants on her tray is the “blueberriest muffins ever”. Challenge accepted. So today, I had her make the muffins, almost by herself. She did fabulously and they turned out great. I’m sure I’ve posted about blueberry muffins before, but these are for sure the “blueberriest.”

This is what you’ll need;

3 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar 

3 tea baking powder

1 tea baking soda

1 tea salt

2 cups buttermilk

2 large eggs

1 tbsp lemon zest

1 stick melted butter

2 pints freshly washed blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.

In a medium bowl mix buttermilk, eggs, zest and cooled melted butter. 

Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir until there are no lumps. Fold in blueberries.

I made a mix of mini and regular sized muffins. I sprayed the mini tin and used cupcake liners for the larger muffins.

Bake mini muffins for 8-10 minutes and large muffins for about 15-20 minutes or a tester comes out clean.

I let Z take the picture of her creation. 

Happy Birthday Z! 

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Tortellini Primavera

Per my last post, I’ve been doing some “soul searching”. So far, I’m not on the other side. It’s hard wrapping your head around change and then jumping in feet first. It’s also hard breaking away from a traditional lifestyle, or what we’re trained to think we should be doing when. My husband and I have somehow stumbled across a traditional existence.  But neither of us are feeling very comfortable in that existence. So what next? Really? Who knows. For now, Z and I cook, and take it day by day. Life has gotten crazy and busy! 

Speaking of cooking (and the obvious reason for this blog), Z and I came up with a delicious and fast dinner. She was very excited about it as it’s the first time I let her chop things up using a real knife. I live on the wild side (and was super cautious).

We had a ton of veggies in the fridge and in an attempt to get B to eat more than raisins and pasta at dinner, I thought this would be a great way to go. Zara will eat tortellini for every meal if she could so it’s a pretty safe go-to at our house. So it seemed like a brilliant idea to add beautiful vegetables to the tortellini with a light sauce to go over top.

This is what you’ll need:

1 bag frozen cheese tortellini

1 leek, washed, trimmed and sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper diced thinly

1 red onion, sliced thinly

2 carrots, washed, peeled and sliced thinly 

1/2 cup whole sugar snap peas

1/4 cup button mushrooms, sliced

4 garlic cloves, sliced thin

2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

2 lemons, zested and juiced

4 tbsp butter

salt and pepper to taste

Start boiling a pot of water for your tortellini. Cook per bag instructions.

Sauté all vegetables in 1 tbsp of butter until softened. First cook onion and carrots for 5 minutes. Next add mushrooms, pepper and leek. Next add lemon and butter. Toss in cooked tortellini and add dill, peas and butter. When butter is melted season with salt and pepper to taste.

There you go! Easy, kid friendly weeknight meal!


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Sometimes It’s Personal

I get sidetracked often (as you can tell by the frequency and then dropoff of my posts). When I started this blog, it was meant to be a space where I could talk about how Zara and I were cooking together (instead of killing each other haha) the daily grind, a good (or bad) recipe experience, eatery, blog post whatever as it related to cooking or child rearing (read: alcoholic beverage), even the occasional recipe review or edible science project or craft. That was fun. It started as a way for Z and I to connect after I quit my full time job to be a full time mommy. A way for me to  meet other like minded foodies or mommies who may share a similar passion for cooking, or eating, or drinking or, well the list is endless really. And it was FUN to blog. I looked forward to it! My pictures were definitely awful but they got better. But then, maybe the inevitable happened. I got complacent. I felt like I had to blog, and the recipes had to be different, and great and it became a chore to post. So I didn’t do it as often. I lost my patience more with Z. I lost a bit of myself. I stopped doing things that fulfilled me, to do things that excited her. I thought I was doing it to be a good mom. And then I went through a baby craze. and it wasn’t pretty. But I did have another baby, and I started to realize that I really didn’t remember who I was anymore. Am I a mother? Yes. But I wasn’t always that way.  There were questions that used to keep me up at night, songs I used to sing at the top of my lungs to, often while having crazy dance parties with Z. I used to like myself. I used to not be afraid of what people thought of me. Of how I dressed or what crazy academically inclined ridiculousness would spout from my mouth. 

Yesterday Zara asked what I did for my job. I turned the question on its head. I didn’t like her response. I’m realizing that part of being a good mother is to NOT lose myself. To let her know I’m not just a product of them. To actively teach her through my passions, and to find them again. I love this blog, I love cooking with my kids, I even like staying home with my kids. But that’s not all of me. 

Yes, this is a personal post, yes, some of you may be turned off by this. But I think on identifying this in myself, I make myself available to others who are like me. We were raised to be smart women, who contribute, who climb corporate or other ladders, who stand up for themselves and their beliefs. I know I have dissolved into pinterest mania. Into identity crisis bullshit mode. into terror. Into too scared to make a change mode. 

Roar. It’s time to make a difference AND a change.

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