make ahead

my best pumpkin pie {video}

Last week my house was heavy with the scent of warm pumpkin pie. I know, I know. Who makes pumpkin pie a week before Thanksgiving? Me, that’s who. When my pie craving hit, I scoured the cupboards, convinced I had evaporated milk, but alas, there was none. I was going out to the store to get eggs and butter, and could’ve picked some up, but decided a pumpkin pie recipe sans the canned stuff might be more useful to all of you (spoiler alert: it was the best pumpkin pie, ever). We’ve all been there, at some point, a craving that seemingly can’t be fulfilled because of one missing ingredient, right? One day I might try making my own evaporated milk…(I can see Mikey doing an eye roll from above). For now, I decided to give it a try with heavy cream. I scaled back the amount of liquid, since my research told me it would be way too much cream if I just subbed in an equal amount for the missing evaporated milk. Continue reading »

{DIY} how to make brown sugar

It’s bound to happen, even if you’re a planner. You reach for the brown sugar, and boom—all out. No sweat; I’ve got you covered on this one. It’s so easy to make your own brown sugar at home that I rarely even buy it anymore. All you need is molasses and cane sugar to make it yourself. Of course, this means you need to have molasses on hand. Once you fall in love with molasses, the way I did a few years ago, that won’t be a problem. Here’s a quick video I made to show you just how easy it is to make brown sugar in the comfort of your own kitchen. And in case you need some inspiration to use up the rest of that molasses, I’m sharing links to a few of my favorite recipes. Continue reading »

buckwheat banana bread

“I wonder if the neighbors think the guy in 720 and I are having some tawdry affair, as we wander to and fro each other’s apartments in the early morning hours. He brings me coffee at 5:30am, and I stroll over when I’m done for a refill. The fact that I tiptoe down the hall in my nighty, covered up with a sweater, must make it even more intriguing.”

I shared this thought with my friends on Facebook last week. It illicited a few chuckles, and talks of writing a screenplay. I’m sitting in Woodstock writing this post but my heart is back in Maryland. Settling in has not come without some bumps in the road; life has taught me to expect them, even though the height of each hurdle is still unknown as I thrust myself towards them. But, yes, we’re settling into routines, finding our footing as we delve deeper into becoming an “us”. Continue reading »

six ways to savor peaches

I’ve a confession to make. Not one jar of peach jam has been put up for the season. I have mixed feelings about this reality. Right now, in the short term, I’m not all that concerned. My priorities have been different than in past summers—settling into a new home, working on a creatively energizing new project, and at the moment, simply enjoying sunshine and the salty sea air on the Cape. That said, I know if I don’t manage to find the time (or peaches) to make a few pots, I’ll settle into a malaise this winter.

If like me you want to hold onto summer (the free spirit part of it, not the humidity, thank you very much), then these easy peach recipes are the perfect way to savor every last bit of the season.

Easy Peach Jam

Maple Syrup Poached Peaches

Easy Peach Preserves {low sugar recipe}

Peach Blueberry Cobbler Cake

Peach Allspice Muffins

Peach Raspberry Tart

For more peachy keen inspiration, take a look at these recipes from Food Network’s #SummerSoiree.
Virtually Homemade: Mixed Summer Fruit Baked Oatmeal
Homemade Delish: Bite-Sized Peach Panini
The Heritage Cook: Grilled Chicken with Peach Chimichurri Sauce (Gluten-Free)
Weelicious: Peach and Ricotta Crostini
Creative Culinary: Fresh Peach and Bourbon Upside Down Cake
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Chocolate Dipped Peaches with Sea Salt
Red or Green: Summer Peach & Tomato Salad
The Mom 100: Sour Cream Peach Cobbler
Domesticate Me: Peach Crumble Smoothie
Daisy at Home: Creamy Peach Popsicles
Healthy Eats: 7 Healthy Ways to Use Peaches in Their Prime
Taste with the Eyes: Grilled Peach Salad, Over-The-Top Maple Bourbon Dressing
Swing Eats: Grilled Peaches with Greek Yogurt, Honey, Lime Zest, and Vanilla
Dishin and Dishes: Bacon Wrapped Grilled Peaches with Goat Cheese and Aged Balsamic
FN Dish: 8 Juicy Ways to Eat Peaches Before They’re Gone

ice, ice baby {favorite frozen treats}

I’ve reached that point in the summer where panic sets in; the realization hit me that I didn’t give my ice cream maker nearly enough of a summer workout. I’m also working on some no-churn ice cream recipes. Don’t worry, even if they’re not ready to share before summer’s end, I won’t let that stop me. The great thing about this space is I can do what I want, when I want. No editorial calendars to follow. Last week I gave Mikey’s peanut butter pie a makeover. I made a no-churn salted peanut butter ice cream filling. It was phenomenal, and I can’t wait to share the recipe. But first, I’ve got a lot of loose work ends to tie up, plus packing for our Cape trip in a few days.

Hope the week is being gentle to us all. Much as I get stir-crazy with the kids by this point in summer vacation, I’ll be sad to see school start up again in a few weeks. Be back in a bit, and until then here are some oldies but goodies from the archives to keep cool the rest of this month.


Easy, Raspberry Sorbet

Cantaloupe Sorbet

Minty, S’mores Milkshakes

Roasted Strawberry Basil Frozen Yogurt

Sweet Corn & Lemon Thyme Ice Cream

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Strawberry Banana Ice Milk

For more frosty inspiration, check out these recipes from Food Network’s #SummerSoiree.

The Hungry Traveler Blog: Banana Coconut Paletas

The Lemon Bowl: Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Shell

Creative Culinary: Strawberry, Lemon and Basil Sherbet

The Heritage Cook: Grilled Plums and Port Parfaits (Gluten-Free)

TasteBook: Triple Chocolate Mousse Pie

Dishin & Dishes: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Homemade Delish: Jalapeno and Peach Gelato

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Healthy Chocolate & Greens Fudgsicles

Red or Green: Ice Cream Sandwiches with Frozen Yogurt

The Mom 100: Easy Chocolate Mousse

Weelicious: Fruity Lemonade Ice Pops

Taste with the Eyes: Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child

Healthy Eats: Puddings, Pops and Pies: 7 Desserts Best Served Cold

In Jennie’s Kitchen: Seven Sensational Frozen Treats

FN Dish: 8 Desserts to Check Off Your Frozen-Treat Bucket List

homemade vegan ricotta cheese

I was in bed, shuffling around to get cozy under the duvet when I realized I forgot to do something important: share this recipe. True story. Writing a blog post isn’t something I should lose sleep over, I know. Time seems to be my nemesis lately, though. I feel like my internal clock fell behind along the way, and I can’t seem to catch up.

I’m hoping our trip to Cape Cod this weekend will rectify things a bit (a lot would be even better!). The salty, sweet air of the bay is already working its magic some 500 miles away, awakening a part of me. This will be my 20th summer out there. Twenty years. It may not sound like a big deal to anyone who grew up with annual vacations, or some sort of family rituals. I didn’t have any of that as a kid, so to have the pleasant predictability and be able to give our girls this consistency means so much.

In the next few days I deliver the first part of a new project I began a few weeks ago. I’m not really sure how much I can share about it, but to answer the pressing question: no, it’s not a new cookbook, not yet. I’ve been working on a proposal for the next book that I’m very excited about. I think this is a book you’ll all want, and one that’s not been done before, at least not with this creative AND useful spin. I’m hoping to address the last round of edits from my agent while on vacation, so this baby can finally get some wings and fly into the inboxes of potential editors. Continue reading »

cherry crapshoot dessert {or mixed berry crisp}

I began a post on my Montreal favorites just after my last trip there in April, and it seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. Or did I indeed post it, and have forgotten? It seems to be the story of my life these days, you know things being within reach in my mind, but misplaced in reality. Much as I enjoy escaping the routine of school, summer descends and most of my life goes on hold as I become Mommy McPhee. I’m itching a bit to jump into September to get familiar with our new routines, and life. Continue reading »

easy, homemade granola bars

The transition from winter to spring is quite incredible to watch happen here. It seems we were buried under a couple feet of snow just a few weeks ago. Then today I noticed tractors roaming fields, prepping the land for a new growing season. Still, I’m not quite ready to exhale and pack up my down coat. Two weeks ago signaled our first taste of warmer temperatures. It inspired me to get outside, and tend to the garden. I raked, hauled a few barrels of leaves and trimmings to my neighbor’s burn pile, and then we woke up the next morning to a generous coating of snow. It was nature’s reminder that April is a precarious month. Continue reading »

blood orange sour mix

Yes, it’s a busy week around here indeed. Kind of funny when you think about it. I leave the country for vacation, and there’s all this posting happening here. I accepted two client projects recently without realizing they were scheduled to share within days of each other this week, so that explains the flurry of activity.

Blood Orange Iced Sour Mix |

This recipe is a sneak peek for what’s come, so scoop up some blood oranges while we’re still able to reap the benefits of California’s citrus season. You can freeze this sour mix in ice cubes trays, and thaw as needed. You can even use it to make ice pops for the kids! Please don’t tell mine that I said that because I plan on hoarding mine. The recipe coming tomorrow that uses this blood orange sour mix is one I intend to enjoy all spring and summer. Continue reading »

gingerbread crispy treats

Last week when I told Isabella I wondered what gingerbread rice crispy treats would taste like, she rolled her eyes and said “oh here we go…gingerbread this, and gingerbread that”. It was a page right out of the Michael Perillo playbook. He would’ve teased me incessantly about the tear I’ve been on the last two weeks. I just.can’t.stop.

I won’t stop.

But, I think we covered that with my last post, you know the one where I made a NO-BAKE GINGERBREAD CREAM PIE. Sorry, but that one got me really excited—I had to get that out, and only all caps would do. Can you tell I’m feeling punchy tonight? I’m just feeling a groove I haven’t felt in quite some time, and truth be told—it’s nice to be my own muse, of sorts. I’ve nothing more witty to say about this recipe, just that it’s so easy, and the perfect thing to make when you’re short on time (and who isn’t this week?). Provided you have the ingredients on hand, these treats are ready to eat in about 45 minutes, from start to finish. You can make a tray, wrap it in a cloth, and bring it as a hostess gift (the gingerbread twist ups the ante, making them worthy in my opinion). Last minute class party? It’s great for those, too. Continue reading »