Category Archives: cooking

cooking

Strawberry Mint & Coconut Popsicles

It’s so easy to make these delicious [and healthy] frozen treats!  The possible flavor combinations are endless, so expect lots more popsicle posts throughout the summer!

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To make Strawberry Mint & Coconut Popsicles … Toss strawberries [I used really ripe strawberries so they would be super sweet] and a few leaves of fresh mint into the blender and blend!  Stir in coconut flakes and a squeeze of lime, pour into posicle trays and freeze!  That’s it.  I told you it was easy.  [Note – if these aren’t naturally sweet enough for you, add a teaspoon of sugar or some agave.]

baby / tots cooking decor

One Scoop or Two?

Well, the hours quickly turned into days and now I am ready to blog again.  We had a fun filled Fourth of July weekend … shopping, a picnic in the park, trips to the playground, fireworks, more shopping, and more eating.  We climbed out onto our fire escape for a surprisingly excellent view of fireworks being set off on random Brooklyn rooftops and from the massive Macy’s display along the Hudson River.  All in all, it was one of those weekends we wished would never end [but then, I feel like that every weekend].

As I am writing this post, I can hear the ice cream truck making its way down the street.  I was never really an ice cream person, but during my pregnancy that all changed.  There was a time last summer that I actually went out searching the neighborhood for the ice cream man.  Unfortunately, the craving did not end after giving birth.  This weekend, we happened upon a gourmet ice cream truck serving up organic goodness with flavors like pistachio, green tea, and hazelnut – delicious!  I’ve been wanting to make some homemade ice cream … I can still remember sitting on the back porch with my grampa when I was a little girl; helping him crank and crank and crank for that sweet frosty payoff.  If only we knew then that we could just throw the ingredients into a bag and shake it for five minutes like the kid-friendly recipe I found on Kaboose.

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And since ice cream makers do all of the cranking for you now, it’s much easier to whip up cold and creamy delights like this Rocky Road [egg free!] recipe from AllRecipes.com.

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Want a healthier option? Try a fruity sorbet or granita!  I found a great recipe for Tripe Berry Sorbet [sweetened with agave] on The Wind Attack.  Or if you are really short on time [like me!], toss some frozen berries into the blender with mint or lime or lemon and some agave.  I just blended up some strawberries, mint, lemon, and agave and spooned the mixture into popsicle trays and stuck them in the freezer and will share the end result with you later on.  Hot summer day … cool summer treat.  Ahhhhhhhh…..

cooking

Spicy Turkey Meatballs

Sometimes I am amazed that I find the time to cook dinner almost every night.  I do most of my prep work in the afternoons while Ava is either napping or quietly playing on the floor.  And since I don’t have much time for anything that doesn’t involve the babers, I opt for quick and easy meals.  Yesterday, I put together this meatball dish and stored it in the fridge until I was ready to saute the meatballs and cook the pasta and put it on the table … just in time for Mike to walk through the door.

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To Make the Spicy Turkey Meatballs … Chop up some onions [any kind will do] and place into bowl with ground turkey.  Add a dash of salt, fresh ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, hot adobo seasoning [i use Goya], and an italian seasoning blend.  Mix by hand and roll into balls.  These store really well in the fridge and it allows them to set so they keep their shape better when you cook them.

To Make the Sauce … Simmer chopped onions and tomatoes, olive oil, dried basil and oregano [or italian seasoning] until veggies are tender.  Meanwhile, saute fresh green beans.  Mix together with salt and pepper to taste.

When you’re ready, heat olive oil up in pan and brown meatballs on all sides until cooked through.  Cook pasta, strain, and add to pan with meatballs.  Add sauce and fresh basil.  Stir, serve, and enjoy!

cooking

I Love a Picnic

I have picnic fever this week.  I know the old adage is to “starve a fever, feed a cold”, but I think this fever needs to be fed.  In fact, later this afternoon Ava and I will be heading over to Grand Ferry Park with an Almond Crusted Chicken Sandwich w/ Avocado Mayo and some Bean and Potato Picnic Salad.

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To make the sandwich … After coating chicken breasts with egg yolk, dip into a mixture of panko bread crumbs and crushed almonds.  Place into a hot skillet that has been drizzled with olive oil and cook on each side for about 7-10 minutes.  While it’s cooking, mash up half an avocado into 2 tbs of mayonnaise and a squirt of lemon juice.  Place chicken on croissant and add sliced red onion, fresh basil leaves, sliced avocado and the avocado mayo.  YUM.

To make the salad … Cut 4-6 red potatoes into bite sized chunks and boil for about 10 minutes [until tender].  Strain potatoes and place into bowl of ice water [to stop the cooking and help potatoes hold their shape] for about 30 seconds.  Remove potatoes and place on paper towels to absorb excess water and then put them in your salad bowl.  While potatoes are boiling, snap off the ends of some fresh greens beans and boil for about four minutes, then place them into ice water and leave them sit for a few [this will keep the color and texture crisp] before drying and adding to salad bowl.  Rinse and strain can of white beans and add to bowl.  Now, chop up some red onion or scallions, fresh flat leaf parsley and/or cilantro and toss that in with 1 tbs of garlic paste [optional].  Stir in 2-3 tbs of mayo, a squirt of dijon mustard, some lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  OR just drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  This salad can be served warm or cold!

Whether you are planning a picnic or not, these recipes are perfect for a warm summer’s day…

Chicken, Brie, & Pear Sandwich w/ Balsamic Onions

Click on Image for Recipe from Greedy Gourmet

chickenpear

Spinach & Strawberry Salad w/ Walnuts & Goat Cheese

Click on Image for Recipe from The Cosmic Cowgirl

strawberrysalad

Maple Snickerdoodles

Click on Image for Recipe from Little Spoon Eats

snickerdoodles

cooking creativity decor life

I’m Going on a Picnic and I’m Going to Take…

It is officially summertime!  Unfortunately, it rained most of the day here, but we didn’t let that put a damper on Mike’s first Father’s Day.  We hopped into the Jeep, and took off on one of our exploration trips, this time cruising through Long Island  – Babylon, Bayshore, Massapequa, etc.  All cute little shore towns with beaches, parks, ponds, and lakes that made us wish the weather were more cooperative so we could pull over and dine alfresco – picnic style.

I L O V E picnics.  There is a certain charm to sitting down on a blanket, enjoying the food, the company, and the surroundings.  I keep a throw blanket in Ava’s stroller and a ‘picnic kit’ in the car for impromptu moments.  And don’t let the weather spoil your plans … an indoor picnic can be just as fun.  Toss a blanket on the living room floor and picnic with the kids or wait until they are asleep and set the mood with a few candles and a bottle of wine for a romantic dinner and movie night.   On Wednesday, I will be spotlighting some great picnic recipes, but first here are a few essentials for your own ‘picnic kit’.

This cute handmade bag from Banana Barrel, unzips to reveal a colorful padded quilt – just fold it up and go!

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Add a touch of luxury to your next picnic with this gorgeous hand woven wool and mohair blanket by 40th Parallel … made with loving care on an eighty year old Draper Northrop Loom in Lancaster, PA.  [Click on image for their Etsy Store.]

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Instead of the usual paper and plastic, try these disposable bamboo plates and utensils from bambu.  They also have a great selection of everyday wares.

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This bright waterproof handwoven basket actually helps fight poverty!  It is a Fair Trade product, produced by Traidcraft … available at Oxfam.

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Or throw all of your picnic needs into this hand woven tote, made in Morocco by a Fair Trade artisan cooperative.  Available from World of Good.

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There, now you have the basics to have a good time … wherever your blanket lands!

cooking

What Can I Make for Dinner?

Now that I have a seventh month old crawling around the house dinners don’t just have to be delicious, they also need to be fast and easy.  I try to get most of my prep work finished during Ava’s afternoon nap.  [Yesterday, for example, I chopped up tomatoes, garlic, basil, cilantro, and scallions for a salsa to pile onto our tacos later that night.]  Several times a week I find myself staring into the refrigerator trying to figure out what I can make out of what we have left.  Sometimes it can be a challenge, but it’s also a great way to come up with new and interesting recipes.  Here are four things that help me in my quest to put tasty, healthy, and quick dinners on the table:

1.  Fresh Produce. Having fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits on hand is one of the simplest ways to add flavor to your dishes.  Nothing beats the taste of straight from nature goodness.

2.  The Freezer. Sometimes I make a little extra just so I can freeze leftovers to use when I am really in a pinch.  I also freeze sauces, soups, and varieties of chopped up veggies so I always have what I need.

3.  Pantry Staples. There are certain things I always need to have in my pantry … vegetable stock, black beans, white beans, green chilies, tortilla shells, panko bread crumbs, dried herbs and a variety of spices, olive oil, vinegar, and brown rice.  Each person needs different staples … think about what you use most often and make sure it’s always stocked.  The last thing you need is to go for one of your ‘Old Faithful’ recipes only to find you are out of one of the key ingredients.

4.  Inspiration. Seeing food, reading about food, and of course smelling and tasting it … but when I can’t get to the market or need a little nudge in the right direction, there are a few sites I go where I know something will inspire me.  One of those sites is Smitten Kitchen.  The images are mouthwatering, the recipes are inventive, and the writing is entertaining.  And you don’t just get a photo of the finished product … you get to see the whole cooking process [love that!].  Visit the site for these recipes and more!

Romaine Pesto & Egg-Stuffed Tomatoes

Click on image for recipe

tomatoromaine

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Click on image for recipe

blueberrycrumb1

cooking creativity decor fashion life

Renegade Craft Fair Finds

It was a beautiful weekend here in Brooklyn … great weather, good friends, lazy brunches, farmers markets, strolling around, and little bit of shopping.  On Saturday, we headed over to McCarren Park for the Renegade Craft Fair.  This was my second year going … last year was a nightmare.  It was one of the hottest days of the year, I was pregnant, felt like I was going to faint, and only made it a quarter of the way through the booths.  This year we made it all the way through with baby in tow and while I did come across lots of great finds, I must admit I was a bit disappointed in the creative originality of many of the crafters.  I kept seeing lots of the same thing … tons of pastels, t-shirts and totes with prints or paintings of wildlife [deer seemed the most prevalent with squirrels coming in second], embroidered onesies [with either a squid, octopus, or robot], onesies with ironic phrases, and lots of mustache art.  Whether it was cute and trendy or not, I wanted more of a selection.  That said, I did make it home with a purse full of business cards and here are a few that stood out for me …

Coconut Mango, Agave Lime, Ginger Lemongrass … they sound good enough to eat, but unless you have a really dirty mouth I wouldn’t recommend it.  Rinse Bath & Body Co. even makes a soap using chocolate.  Their soaps are handmade and they have 100% natural and vegan product lines.

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I love these ‘oh so pretty’ ceramic [Moon Glow and Secret Garden] dishes by MayLuk.  I want to serve a spring salad on them and dine outdoors with friends and candles and a nice light white wine.

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These bracelets and rings by Nervous System are sooooo awesome!  They make stunning jewelry modeled after coral, branches, algae, dendrites, etc. and it’s affordable.  I think I’ve found my new favorite thing.

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CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR MORE RENEGADE CRAFT FAIR PICKS!!!!

cooking life

What Can You Eat if You Can’t Eat Wheat?

Today’s topic was inspired by a family friend who just found out that she has to go on a wheat free diet [much to her dismay].  I thought about all of the foods I eat each week that contain wheat and understood her frustration.  Angie, this post is for you.

Many people confuse a wheat free diet with gluten free. Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, but not in grains like corn, wild rice, and buckwheat [to name a few].  Wheat free products can contain gluten and gluten free products can contain wheat and figuring what you can eat and what you cannot can be tricky.  Wheat starch [with the gluten removed] is used in some products and some makers of gluten free goods use wheat in their manufacturing facilities.  Wheat, gluten, wheat, gluten AAARRRHHH… stay with me, you can do this!  Be sure to read your labels carefully and do your research.

While wheat is most commonly found in foods such as bread and pasta as well as some soups and sauces that contain wheat flour, there are alternatives.  Here is a Wheat Free Pizza Crust Recipe using rice and tapioca flour from WheatFree.org [they have tons of info and recipes on their site!].

Click on image for recipe

wheat-gluten-free-pizza-crust

Not a cook?  No worries.  I found this great site, aptly named The Really Great Food Company,  to order Gluten, Wheat, Soy, and Casein Free doughs, mixes, condiments, pastas, etc. online [and the prices are reasonable too!].

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Another great site for recipes is Healthy Green Kitchen.  Just search “wheat free” on their site and loads of delicious goodies, like these Wheat Free Dark Chocolate Cupcakes pop up!

Click image for recipe

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And there are plenty of helpful Wheat Free Cookbooks out there, like this one by Carol Fenster, Ph.D. [available at Amazon.com]

Click image for more details

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So if your doctor or body tells you it’s time to stop eating wheat, don’t despair.  It will take some getting used to and you will probably find it difficult to dine out, but there are plenty of great resources out there to guide you in the right direction.  The best news?  The pizzas, pastas, breads, and sweets you thought were gone forever are still on the menu!



cooking life

Eat Local, Eat Fresh, Eat Well

Almost every weekend, we hop in the car and go for a drive to explore some new part of the five New York boroughs or upstate or along the Jersey Shore.  This past weekend, I couldn’t help but notice that it’s prime season for farmers’ markets.  Fresh from the farm veggies and fruits, homemade jams and sauces, colorful flats of flowers, and even a few crafts.  One of my favorite markets in upstate New York is the Saugerties Farmers Market, which opens this Saturday!

aparggrapes

read more »

cooking

Have Your [Cup]cake and Eat It Too

Since today is a holiday and I have things to do, I’m only going to talk about one think I like … one thing I really like.  CUPCAKES!!!!  Sweet, moist, yummy in my tummy cupcakes.  Last time I was visiting my family back in Ohio, my gramma showed up with an entire box full of cupcakes.  I think I ate one at every meal [or maybe it was one for every meal].  Thanks for all of the extra sit-ups, gramma.  Thanks alot.

Now you can have the deliciousness without all of the guilt … Organic Cupcakes [that taste anything but bland].  These delectable beauties come from cupcake yum. yum, who even have their own cupcake blog! [And they are from my home state!]

Chocolate Raspberry – Thick brownie cake w/ raspberry glaze and chocolate mousse

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The Buckeye! – Dark chocolate cake, creamy peanut butter buttercream, & chocolate ganache

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Cupcake yum. yum uses all natural ingredients [ie – local, organic, fair trade, etc] and none of the “bad stuff’ [ie – oils, dyes, preservatives, etc.] and has some really original flavors to choose from.  They also do cakes.  I am definitely putting them on my wedding cake list.  5 screams from Furious Shirley [out of 5, so that’s goooood]

Another popular cupcake spot is here in New York – BabyCakes NYC. They specialize in vegan and gluten free sweets and sweeten most of their products with agave nectar.  They have a blog too [apparently baking blogs are all the rage] and just put out a cookbook!  They bake cookies, cupcakes, breads, brownies, etc.  I need some [soy] milk.  Catch you tomorrow.  Happy Memorial Day.

Clink on image for more info on the cookbook!

babycakes cookbook

FYI – I’m taking Tuesday off this week.  Recouperating from a fun-filled, but oh so busy weekend!!  Will be back for Wednesday’s “I’m Hungry” posts!

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