Thursday, August 2, 2012

Princess Birthday Party

I'm still working on Mad's birthday party ideas.  I'm going to frame this little goodie and put it on the desert or candy bar table.   I got the idea for a blog called eighteen25... this is the link

The blog had really cute free printables but the one they had was for a one year old so I decided to make my own on power point. 

If you'd like to purchase the jpeg to print at home.. follow this link
Next.. I need to tackle the cake.  I found the cutest through Amanda Oakleaf Cakes but it is a bit pricey so am trying to figure out how to simplify so I can afford it.   Here is the link
Pinned Image
Be back soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Strawberry Picking.

Yesterday was so much fun!  Maddy and I went strawberry picking with my sister-in-law and my twin nieces (Maddy's almost 4 year old cousins).  She had a blast.  At 18 months she wasn't that keen on actually picking the strawberries.  At the beginning she actually ate more than I was putting into the basket.  Once she was full of those sweet little gems she started playing in the field, pushing through the greenery as she saw me doing looking for berries.  Too funny.  Her butt was completely dirt covered from her many stumbles and her face was covered in red berry juice....a dead giveaway that she was snacking on the goods.  Too cute.  The three girls were walking hand and hand down the path.  They were so cute.  I hope to spend more time with them this summer.   

Afterwards we went to the petting zoo they have there (At Boston Hill Farm in North Andover).  She LOVED the bunnies and was so excited to pet and feed them through the cage.  She even put her face right up to the cage to give them a kiss.  It was the cutest!!

All in all a great day!

Yesterday when we got home I made a no cook strawberry ice cream.  It came out pretty good.  I will try to remember to take a picture tonight and will post the recipe.  Really easy, quick and yummy!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Dinner house smells so good right now.  It is  my turn to make Sunday dinner this week.  My siblings and I take turns each Sunday hosting dinner.  It used to be something my mother did every Sunday before she passed.  Since them we have been alternating amongt ourselves to keep up the tradition not only for us and our father but for our children.  Sometimes that is the only day our kids get to see and play with each other.  I think it is so important for the cousins to stay close.  My cousins were a big part of my life growing up and I'd like to have that for my daughter as well.

I'm trying out a few new recipes today.  A brisket which I saw Michael Symon make on the Chew and home made baked beans which I found on  If they come out good (which it smells like they will), I will list the recipes and hopefully remember to take pictures.

The aroma has made my husband happy as a lark... is that the right saying?  What does it even mean?

...........speaking of recipes, here are two cookbooks I just ordered.  I can't wait to try out the recipes.  I love Anne Burrell!  I've made a few of her things from her tv show on food network and they've all been delicious!!!   I've been dying to get her cook book and can't wait for it to arrive.   Michael Symon is my new favorite.  Today is the first time I'm making one of his recipes but I've been watching him on The Chew (when I get a when Maddy is napping), and all of his recipes look scrumptious!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

The first time I made these cookies was for Christmas.  I'm not sure what took me so long to make them again as they were really good!  My husband loves them and eats them up in one bite.  They are super quick to make..but they do have to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling and baking them.  They are a must try!  I won't take as long to make them again.   The recipe is from this fabulous book I picked up one day in Border's Book Store, which is now closed.  It's called The Cookie and Biscuit Bible and has many fabulous recipes from cookies to scones and more.  It's a must buy.  You can find the book on Amazon... here is a link.

And here is the recipe.  The only change I would make is to shave 1 minute off of the cooking time as mine came out a bit brown on the bottom.

This makes 15-18 cookies depending on how you roll.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar (the recipe called for superfine caster sugar but I didn't have any so I used regular granular sugar which worked out just fine)
2 tablespoon butter, diced
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon orange juice
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degreen F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (I didn't have any so I used cooking spray which may have resulted in my too brown bottoms).

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the sugar.  Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles wet sand.  Mix together the beaten egg and orange juice and stir into the flour mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Put the confectioners' sugar in a bowl.  Shape walnut sized pieces of dough into balls and drop into the confectioners' sugar (do this one or two balls at a time as the dough is sticky and it could get messy).  Toss until thickly coated with the sugar (if the dough is not coated enough the sugar will melt off in the oven) then place on the baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes, until just set.  Trasfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Next, enjoy with a tall glass of milk or cup of tea.  Yum!

Don't have time to make these yourself?  Buy them from me and I will ship to anywhere in the USA.  See my etsy link below.

Even if you don't want to buy now, please view my shop and let me know what you think.  Right now these are the only edibles but there are other great things to view.


The other day I wanted something crispy to have with dinner.  I found a recipe in Martha Stewart Living magazine for Smoky Parsnip Crisps.   They looked yummy but I have never been a fan of parsnips, still I thought I'd give them a try.  I didn't use the smoked paprika called for in the recipe as I didn't have any and didn't feel like buying the spice for a something I wasn't sure I'd like. 

The result was fabulous.  I absolutely loved these!!!!  And so did everyone else including my 17 month old.  Here is the recipe adapted from the MSL magazine.

This serves 4 as a side dish.
1 pound bag of parsnips, peeled
Canola oil for deep frying (I had an almost full bottle which is what I used)
Kosher salt, for sprinkling

Use a vegetable peeler to peel long thing strips from the parsnips until there is almost nothing left to peel.  Toss the strips by hand to separate.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels...oh and here is a tip.  I didn't try this but I heard if you crumple the papertowels before to put on the baking sheet, they allow more of the oil to drain off of the food instead of remaining/sitting in it.
Heat the oil in a dutch oven until it reaches 365 degrees F.   Add parsnip strips to the oil in small batches (I did a handful at a time), and turn gently with a spider (a wire skimmer) until pale golden in color (about 45 seconds).  Take the strips out with the spider and put on the paper towel lined baking sheet to absorb excess oil... sprinkle with salt to season.  Before you do the next batch make sure you allow the oil to come back to 365 degrees F.   Then enjoy!  These are soooo good.  The frying takes the bite out of the parsnips which is usually what I don't like about them.  They had a nice subtle sweetness to them.  So good you must try.   Let me know what you think.

 If you don't know what a spider is or don't have one.. here is the one I use.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Today Maddy is actually taking a nap; hooray! She usually doesn’t on days we go to Gymboree but today must be my lucky day! I decided to check on-line for Sleeping Beauty clip art as I have been looking for pictures to use to make garland from for her birthday. I found a website that gave me just what I need …here is the link

I was able to copy and paste into word for playing around with later (once I go buy ink for the printer). Anyway I was also able to cut and paste the image into power point to make this super cute invite. It’s not done as I may need to tweak the date and time…since it is quite a ways away but I think this is the general idea of what I’m going to go with.
Cute right? I need to tweak the alignment too but I think they came out cute and can’t wait to finalize and have printed. I hope she still like Aurora in a few months.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A new look!

AuroraWell as you can see I changed the color theme of the blog.   How did it happen.  Well I started to think what theme do I want for my daughter's second birthday (yes I know it is 7 months away but I'm a bit of a freak)?  The answer is two part:  for one I want to use the Disney princess Aurora because it is her favorite and second, I like pink.  As I started to research I decided I REALLY like pink and thought I'd give the blog a face lift.  What do you think?  If you like pink check me out and follow me on pintrest is what I want to wear that day!

Mommy's Aurora Outfit are some ideas for decorations

Super cute cupcake toppers... for other ideas check out my pintrest board link listed above.  More planning ideas to come as we get closer to the date.   There is time I know!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Potato Tacos

We just had the best dinner.  So yummy you have to try this one.  The original recipe is from Fitness magazine....although my portion size is a bit bigger than theirs and I didn't use low fat sour cream or cheese.  This should be able to feed two for dinner.

4 potatoes cut into 8 wedges each (I used all purpose potatoes)
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a 20 oz package of ground turkey (I used 97% lean)
1/3 cup water
taco seasoning (1/2 the packet)
salt & pepper

For the Topping to be assembled in this order:
shredded cheese
sour cream
diced tomato
....and avocado if you like.  I didn't have any but will add next time. 

Preheat your oven at 425.  Placed the wedges potatoes (skin on so be sure to scrub the skin first) on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for about 25 minutes ...until they are fork tender and golden brown in color).  Meanwhile, saute the ground turkey in 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Once all the meat is browed, drain out the juices.  Then put the turkey back in the pan and add 1/3 cup of water and half the taco seasoning packet.  Cook until the water has evaporated.   Now it is time to assemple.
Divide the potatoes about two dishes.  Top with the ground turkey, then add the shredded cheese, a dallop of sour cream, diced tomatoes, lettuce and scallions....Voila,  you are ready to eat a delicious dinner!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Project De-Clutter

Here is the picture of my new de-cluttered beverage named by me last night when I told my husband to remove his lap top from my beverage station.  He was amused. 
This small little counter space used to house our dog's food, biscuits, water cup, medicines as well as recyling piles and anything else I could jam on there.  It was always a mess!  All those things now have a new home this is dedicated to the espresso machine and electric tea kettle.  It also holds flour, sugar, tea and espresso coffee pods as well as a cookie jar :).  I love it.  When a counter top is organized and de-cluttered it has such a calming effect on me.. Ok yes I may be a bit over the top about this but piles of junk drive me nuts!   On to the next project.   

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Arugula Salad with Balsamic Onions and Feta Cheese Toasts

Here is the salad we had with our soup.  The onions make it really tasty!  Usually I use goat cheese on the bread but I had feta in the house so that is what I used last night.   The below measurements are not exact as I threw this together last night.  If you need precise measurements let me know and I will keep track the next time I make this.
½ of a medium onion (I usually use red onions for this but didn’t have any in the house so I used a Vidalia), sliced into round or half moons
handful of pine nuts
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
french bread
feta cheese
Rinse the arugula and let dry.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Slice the onions a place on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and balsamic vinegar (about 1-2 tablespoons).  Stir together and then bake for about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, slice the bread into approx. ¼” slices, put on a baking sheet  and brush or drizzle both sides with olive oil (if you brush each piece with olive oil you get a more consistent flavor and golden brown color after baking than drizzling) and sprinkle with salt.  If you want to add the cheese, do so now.  I put the feta on just a few slices and left some slices without cheese to dip in the soup.   After the onions have been cooking for 20 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and add the pine nuts. Stir the mixture and put  back in the oven and put the pan with the bread in at the same time.  Cook for 10 minutes.  At this point the onions should be done.  Check them about half way through this 10 minutes to ensure they are not burning…if they are you can take them out sooner.  At this point flip the bread over and cook for approximately another 10 minutes (they should be golden brown, if they are getting dark it is time to take them out).
To assemble:  Place the arugula on a platter.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt (and pepper if you like).  If the pan with the onion mixture looks dry add another tablespoon or two of olive oil and one of the balsamic vinegar.  Toss and arrange on top of the arugula, drizzling all the “dressing” on the greens.  Place the toasted feta bread around the platter and enjoy!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

We had this soup for dinner last night.  It was yummy and not made with much butter so a healthy dinner.  We had it with a salad and some toasted bread slices (I’ll post that recipe later).  My husband loved the flavor and even our daughter had some.  It’s a simple recipe:
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 ½ broccoli crowns (I say 2 ½ because I used florets from one crown to make a rice dish for my daughter), trimmed and cut into 1 ½” pieces (give or take… this doesn’t have to be that precise because it will all get blended later)
5 cups low sodium chicken broth (I only had 4 cups so I used 1 cup of vegetable broth)
1 cup of water
8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
Kosher salt and pepper
In a large pot melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Cook stirring occasionally until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli and cook until slightly softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add broth and water, cover and bring to boil over high heat.  Once the liquid has come to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 20 minutes. 
Turn off the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender.  If you don’t have one you can do this is a blender or food processor in batches… be careful as the hot liquid can expand and splash out (do not fill you blender to the top with hot soup!!!).  Puree until your desired consistency.  Once the soup is pureed and back in the pot if you used a blender or food processor, turn the heat back on medium and add the grated cheese.  Stir until melted, then season with additional salt and pepper as needed.   I made this early in the day so once I pureed it I left it in the pot until it was closer to dinner time.   Then I reheated the soup and once warm added the cheese.
This made about 4 largish servings but you could probably get 6 smaller ones out of it. 
Serve with your favorite crackers or toasted bread as shown in the pic.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas

Just put the little one to bed.  We had a good day today but boy was it HOT!  Tonight my hubby and I are going to have a little treat.  Frozen chocolate covered bananas.  Yum! I saw this recipe in an old issue of Martha Stewart Food Magazine at my mother in laws a while ago and have been meaning to try it.   After dinner I cut bananas crosswise into approximately 1” pieces (some are 1 ½”).  I inserted toothpicks and then put them in the freezer (on a plate covered with parchment paper).  It’s been about an hour so far.  You are supposed to leave them in there for two hours so by the time I finish this and take a shower it will be time to coat them with chocolate.   I don’t have measurements or pictures as I haven’t made them yet so I will update with those later but I will probably start with about ½ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  You put them in a microwave safe bowl and microwave at 10 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.  Once all the chocolate is melted grab the bananas from the freezer and dip them in the chocolate holding them by the toothpicks you’ve inserted.  The chocolate should set quickly due to the frozen bananas but since tonight is such a hot night I may have to put them back in the freezer for a bit to set.  Then, enjoy! the magazine they coated these with sprinkles.  You can coat them with whatever you want (nuts, sprinkles etc.).  Once you dip the frozen banana in chocolate you then immediately dip it in whatever topping you want.  I’m not adding any tonight but if I were feeling ambitious I’d go for chopped walnuts or almonds. 
…and I wonder why I can’t lose much weight J

**NOTE – this worked as above but if you want the end result to be prettier you should use 1 cup of chocolate chips.  The half cup was plenty but got scarce at the end so I couldn’t completely coat the last few bananas.  They still tasted good though and so refreshing on a hot night like last night.

Here is what they looked like