galette des rois

We learned a lot about French holidays during Isabella’s time in a French Dual Language program back at our old elementary school in Brooklyn. One of my favorites is surely enjoying Galette des rois, a puff pastry cake with a creamy almond filling, served on January 6th to celebrate the Epiphany (the arrival of the Three Kings to visit Jesus). My friend who grew up in the south of France used to make a yeasty, candied fruit cake, which is more common in that region. I’ve never had that version, and will have to one day give that recipe a try. Continue reading »

light rough puff pastry

I know what you’re thinking. Me, too. I made some, um, let’s not call them resolutions—suggestions, yes, that sounds better. I made some suggestions to myself to let go of the decadence December brought to my eating habits. I also decided I needed to get much better about being physically active. I never had to think about that when I lived in a city. Ever since leaving Brooklyn two years ago, physical activity beyond the steps taken from apartment door to car door, is something I have to plan. But see, that’s where this recipe for Light Rough Puff Pastry comes in. Life is supposed to be lived in moderation, right? Continue reading »

favorite christmas breakfast recipes

T-minus two days until Christmas. While I’m fine with it not being a white one, since there’s lots of driving to be done, I would’ve loved a little cooler weather. We have baked ziti on the menu for Christmas Day, and I may need to run the air conditioner in order to turn on the oven. There’s still some baking to be done today, the kids presents left to wrap, and a last minute run to Whole Foods to pick up shrimp to make shrimp cocktail for tomorrow night. But on Christmas Day, I hope to curl up with a book, and decompress a bit before getting in the car to drive to New Jersey to celebrate our first Christmas with my guy’s family. With that in mind, I’m going to keep Christmas breakfast on the simple side. The great thing about most of my recipes, is that they come together pretty effortlessly. If I decide on waffles or scones, I can mix all the dry ingredients the night before, then just add the wet ingredients in the morning (note to self: remember to buy bacon at Whole Foods). And if I veer in a savory direction, eggs require little energy. Here’s a few more of my favorites recipes for a relaxing Christmas morning, in case you’re looking for a few ideas of what to make.

I’ll be sharing a special Christmas Eve Thankful Thursdays post tomorrow, so keep an eye out for it (and here’s the link if you want to subscribe to my emails). Merry Christmas to you all. May the day be filled with love and peace. Continue reading »

gingerbread hot cocoa

I know. Another gingerbready kind of recipe (and I’m sure that’s not even a real word, so forgive me, Ilina). It’s okay if you’re rolling your eyes; everyone else in my house is fed up with my obsession, too. The good news is that this recipe for gingerbread hot cocoa is the last of its kind that I’ll be sharing for 2015. Don’t worry—I already have a few gingerbread recipes in the bank for 2016!

It’s hard to believe today is December 21st. There was this quiet moment, just after Thanksgiving, where I felt like there would be time to savor this holiday season. I remember letting out a huge exhale (much as I just did while writing that sentence), and pressing the mental slow motion button. In hindsight, I’m especially thankful for that relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. Slowing down for those few days helped shore up energies for what has been a very busy December. We’ve clocked more than 1,500 miles this month to visit friends in Woodstock, Brooklyn, and North Carolina. And this weekend, we shall make one last visit to our house in upstate NY to unwind for a few days before welcoming a new year, and new possibilities. Continue reading »

gingerbread scones

I was well into my 20s before I’d tasted my first scone. That notion makes me chuckle a bit because they’re something my girls have grown up—a must at tea parties for everyone, including the stuffies. Now, mind you I was not deprived. My world just revolved around all the goodies you’d find at an Italian-American bakery or pastry shop. Cannoli, sfogliatelle, and rainbow cookies, oh my!

Gingerbread Scones| Continue reading »

maple orange butter

I like to say I’m opinionated, and not just judgey, but who are we kidding? I’m a New Yorker. Perhaps even worse (or is it best); I’m a Brooklyn gal, through and through. We judge, regardless of what we say, and sometimes without any sensibility to our conclusions. And so that is why my visit to Teaism in D.C. about a month ago was such a pleasant surprise. I grubbed a ride into the city with my guy, and was delivered door to door from suburbia to Dupont Circle. When he first suggested it as a good place to settle in with free WiFi to escape the noise of construction currently going on at our building, I shrugged my nose. You know that kind of shrug where it pushes your eyeglasses way above your eyebrows.

I’d come to the conclusion that I wouldn’t like the place just based on the name. It didn’t sound appealing, even though I understood the play on words going on with it. Well, later that morning I enjoyed my size seven shoe with a side of some pretty awesome French Toast & Orange Butter. It sounds basic, I know. And for all intents and purposes, it was, but it was prepared so perfectly. Nice, crisp edges, golden brown, and that butter elevated the whole thing to spectacular. Now, if you’re an experienced cook, you already know making compound butters is incredibly easy. And if you’re new to this whole notion of mixing flavors into softened butter, then listen up—this is a trick you want to use for every brunch or breakfast you host. The wow factor tops the charts, and will ensure your place as a domestic diva.

Continue reading »

my best gingerbread recipes

I love gingerbread. I mean, really, really, love gingerbread. I think it’s the peppery, warm scent of cloves that hooks me in more than the ginger, and other spices. Like allspice, I think cloves deserve to play more of a starring role in recipes, than simply supporting. Anyway, I was going to hold off on sharing this until I had my gingerbread scone recipe ready to go, but since you only see gingerbread one month out of the year, who am I to hold you back from enjoying it for a few extra days.

Gingerbread Chocolate Doughnuts |
I’ve put together a Pinterest board with my best gingerbread recipes, so you have them in one convenient place. Soon you’ll have two new recipes to add to the collection: gingerbread scones (post coming later this week), and gingerbread hot cocoa (I know, crazy…as in crazy good!). The hot cocoa makes for a great homemade gift if you’re not up for baking but still want to put a homespun touch on your gifts. In the meantime, enjoy these gingerbread recipes. See you tomorrow with a super quick & easy recipe (plus video!) for a Maple Sugar Orange Butter that’ll wow guests at any holiday brunches you might be hosting this month (p.s. they go great with the gingerbread scones, too).

Mom's Gingerbread |

Ta ta, for now, folks!

Get my best gingerbread recipes here:


Handle With Care: How To Ship Cookies & Other Sweet Treats

If you’re planning on sending sweet treats to friends far away, now is the time to start thinking about how to ship cookies and baked goods so they get there in one piece. I had a trial run mid-November, when sending my Italian Rainbow Cookies to my Food Blogger Cookie Swap matches (more on that, and the recipe for the cookies next week). Even though it’s only been a year since I last shipped edible Christmas gifts, I forgot how fun it is shopping for packaging. My pick this year was cardboard boxes that look like books I found at Michael’s. You open them to find a secret compartment that I filled with cookies—delightful, sweet intrigue, indeed. Let’s break this down, since you’ll need to give some thought to each step when it comes to baking and shipping your homemade goods. Continue reading »

peppermint cake truffles {video}

Isabella went on a cooking spree a few weeks ago. I’m not sure what inspired it exactly, but she pulled my cookbook off the shelf, and asked “mom, is it okay if I make cupcakes?” I mean, who says no to cupcakes, especially cupcakes baked by their kiddo? She proceeded to make a dozen cupcakes, a batch of vanilla buttercream frosting, my homemade chocolate syrup, and chocolate egg creams for all of us. Continue reading »

Easy DIY Candy Cane Sprinkles {video}

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, thinking about where I was both mentally and emotionally this time last year. A calm had washed over me mid-November of 2014. I began to settle in comfortably with the idea that I could be happy alone. I would throw myself into motherhood, and once the girls went on to begin their next chapters, I’d retire in a flat somewhere in NYC or Paris; maybe even divide my time between both places. And here I am now, one year later, so much for which to be thankful.

I wanted to pop into today and share a show and tell sort of post. It’s a silly, quick, and maybe obvious tip, but I think it’s useful enough to share with you all. I was making cake truffles last week (more on those later in the week!), and had one of those lightbulb moments. I went to the store in search of candy canes to crush and use as a garnish. My eyes caught sight of the minis, and they felt like the perfect size for what I needed. It was only when I got home that I realized they’re perfect for two reasons: you can crush them right in the wrapper, keeping the mess self-contained, and that same little package makes portion control a no brainer. Plus, they’re portable. Pack one in your purse, and you’re one step closer to enjoying a minty hot cocoa on the go. I’ll be using these candy cane sprinkles a lot this month!