Gooey Vanilla Bean Tea Cakes

Gooey Vanilla Bean Tea Cakes

I don’t know about you, but I love a good gooey dessert. Especially a good gooey cookie or a good gooey butter cake.

And these tea cakes are the best of both of those!

Soft and slightly underbaked, richly vanilla, with a sweet tangy glaze.

Yum.

Continue Reading

Grilled Mediterranean Flatbread with Pesto and Feta

Mediterranean Grilled Flatbread

Sarah and I have been meaning to grill together for ages. Inevitably, we gather all of the ingredients and our courage to cook with charcoal, and then it pours rain.

But this week we were determined, rain or shine, to grill some veggies and some flatbreads! Naturally, on the big morning, the rain clouds rolled in. But for once, we decided not to be deterred.

And I am so glad we stuck to our guns! This flatbread “pizza” was simple and tasty. Bright, fresh summer veggies were so easy to throw on the grill, and we even made a quickie no-rise flatbread dough and threw that on the grill as well!

With a little bit of chopping and stirring, and a few quick minutes on the grill, we turned out an absolutely delicious lunch!

Continue Reading

Double Pretzel Brownies

Double Pretzel Brownies

Do you remember when pretzel m&ms came out? They were comically marketed as the perfect solution to crazy pregnancy cravings: sweet and salty all in one bite!

As if sweet and salty isn’t something I love every day of the year. The flavor combination has become much more mainstream in recent years. And as for me, my palate has become more developed (thank you, food blogging), which means I now sometimes actually find desserts too sweet, and find myself wishing for some spice, some salt, some crunch for balance.

Light bulb! Pretzels brownies.

Continue Reading

Homemade Gnocchi with Summer Squash and Basil

Homemade Gnocchi with Summer Squash, Basil, and Feta

I’m having a problem. Maybe I can blame this on motherhood (is mommy-brain a real thing?), or maybe old age (eek! turning 30 in 3 weeks!), maybe on the plethora of technologies ever at my fingertips…

I can’t ever remember where anything is anymore. That used to be my superpower. I always knew where everything was! I could always remember where I saw something first, where I left it, where Dave left it, how to find it again.

But now? I keep finding recipes in magazines and cookbooks and dog-earing them to make later, and then never seeing them again.

To be honest, I am really not sure how this recipe escaped that fate. It’s such an odd choice for my family, as Dave hates both gnocchi and cooked squash. Gnocchi is the opposite of a quick and easy meal, so it’s really not what I need in my life right now. And yet, from the instant I saw it, I was smitten.

Dave walked in the door exclaiming how good dinner smelled (good start), enthused about eating it (even better), and ended the meal with a clean plate, saying the flavors and textures were perfect and we should eat this again soon.

Guess it was fate that I remembered this recipe!

Continue Reading

Rainbow Swirl Sugar Cookies

Rainbow Swirl Sugar Cookies

When I was a kid, the local grocery store was famous for their rainbow sugar cookies. Everyone I knew loved them.

Everyone except me. I thought they tasted funny. These cookies were probably the only dessert I would actually decline as a kid. They just didn’t wow me. The bright colors didn’t fool me (I had also figured out that sprinkles didn’t actually make ice cream taste more delicious…go figure), and I just wasn’t going for them.

For years, I eschewed food coloring. (This may also have had something to do with the fact that I was afraid of pink foods actually tasting like strawberries…either way, no good.)

But now my oldest is nearly 3 (!!), and I have realized that for him, color does make something more awesome. He literally likes to go around naming all his favorite colors of Legos, crayons, Play-Doh (news flash, it’s every color in the rainbow), sometimes spending more time talking about the colors than actually playing with his toys. Sprinkles are beautiful and food coloring is delicious.

Of course, I still have a rule that food should be primarily yummy and secondarily pretty, but when I spotted a recipe for rainbow swirled cookies on The PinterTest Kitchen, my Secret Recipe Club blog for August, I knew immediately that Jake would love them! Food crafts for kids!

Continue Reading

Buttermilk Syrup

Buttermilk Syrup

Our family has started a weekend breakfast tradition.

It’s fairly surprising, actually, given my husband’s general apathy toward keeping traditions AND his venomous hatred for the morning…but on Saturdays, bright and early, when I holler up the stairs that pancakes or French toast are ready, he immediately appears and we have a special family breakfast!

Jake likes to help me cook. And set the table. And fetch Daddy. He’s a wonderful kitchen helper!

The only trouble with this delicious tradition is that I don’t actually care for maple syrup on my pancakes. For a while, this really made me resistant to Saturday morning breakfast tradition, until I realized that I had a grand opportunity to try all kinds of delicious syrups and spreads. What a great excuse to eat sugar for breakfast!

This buttermilk syrup is absolutely amazing. Don’t let the weird name (or the fact that it essentially looks like melted butter) throw you off: it is actually the simplest, most delicious liquid caramel you will ever make. The flavor is light and the syrup is thick and creamy. Pour it over your French toast with some butter and dig in! I dare you not to run your finger around the plate to lick up the excess when breakfast is over.

Continue Reading

Stovetop Elotes (Mexican Street Corn)

Stovetop Elotes

A few weeks ago, a friend told me about this amazing way to eat corn on the cob.

At first, I was only half listening…unlike most people, I don’t get too excited when ears of corn start to overflow from farmer’s stands or grocery store aisles. It’s just corn.

But, as she told me about this corn, my ears perked up. You put mayonnaise on corn? What? (You know how I always like things that sound too weird to be true…)

I got just curious enough to buy a few ears and let them sit in the fridge for a week. But my grill is not currently at my house. And it’s always raining anyway. And mayonnaise on corn can’t be doing anyone any nutritional favors.

Finally, mostly in an effort not to waste the corn I had already bought, I decided to “grill” my corn on a cast-iron pan on the stovetop. As I licked the spoon after stirring together what turned out to be the. most. delicious! sauce in the whole entire world, I knew I would never be satisfied with corn any other way.

Make this corn. There are no more excuses. You must make elotes.

Continue Reading

Vegan Dark Chocolate Sorbet

Vegan Dark Chocolate Sorbet

A few months before Caitlin was born, Dave and I spent a weekend in Staunton, VA. We arrived on a cold Friday night and when we woke up on Saturday morning, it was a wintery wonderland. By noon, there was over a foot of fresh snow on the ground, and the temperature was about 9┬░Fahrenheit.

And there we were, staying in a B&B (which meant there was no food after 10am), me in my third trimester…and I had forgotten to bring boots with me. After a very ridiculous attempt to drive to the main drag of Historic Staunton (a drive which, thankfully, did not end with us trapped in a snowbank), we concluded that we would have to hoof it and hope that some brave souls had opened their restaurants despite the treacherous weather.

Lo and behold! We found a gelato shop, The Split Banana. Who eats ice cream when it’s so cold and icy and windy that their eyelashes are practically stuck together? Us. That’s who.

It was during this frozen weekend that I discovered the best ice cream ever: it was unbelievably creamy, and smooth, and bittersweet, and chocolatey, and vegan, and perfect. According to the poor guy working the counter scooping ice cream, their chocolate sorbet was made entirely from unsweetened chocolate and sugar! I can do that!

Although it was kind of silly to be eating ice cream when we had practically turned into ice-pops ourselves, it was so worth every delicious spoonful. (Plus, I’m pretty sure we shivered off the calories.)

Continue Reading