chocolate egg cream, a brooklyn classic

I know, you’re thinking “stop it, already”. You’re trying to stick to your healthy eating resolutions, and here I am sharing my chocolate egg cream recipe with you. Good news for us both—egg creams aren’t a calorie-laden treat. In fact, you can even make them dairy free, thanks to the recipe I shared recently for my homemade dairy free chocolate syrup.

Egg creams are part of any good Brooklyn upbringing. They’re as quintessentially New York as black and white cookies. And both are viewed as somewhat of an oddity outside of NYC. My vote for best is the long shuttered Dave’s Luncheonette in Chinatown. It’s been decades since I sipped one of their egg creams (I was a vanilla egg cream gal back then), but like my first crush, the memory lives on forever. Lou Reed even mentioned them in a song, which is news to me, so we never stop learning, it seems (also, I should come out of my cave more often). Continue reading »

homemade dairy free chocolate syrup

Imagine being unable to enjoy a frothy glass of chocolate milk, or cozying up with a cup of hot cocoa after playing in the snow (yes, I know, we need some snow first!). Well, that’s what inspired me to make this homemade dairy free chocolate syrup recipe back when I was working on Homemade with Love. I wanted to create a recipe that everyone could enjoy. Continue reading »

Thankful Thursdays {01.07.2016}

I’m working hard these days to digest the advice I frequently dispense to my girls. The holidays took quite a toll on me. Nothing I care to go into here, but come December 31st, I was spent, and ready to wipe the slate clean with a new year, new goals. What I would tell my girls is that every day should be met with the optimism of a new year. I try my best to stay focused on the good moments for them; to remind them that hope exists even when you have to dig deeper than you’d like to find it.

Just as my mind was thick into my malaise on Monday, I came across a recipe that shook me from my slumber. It’s from an extraordinary writer, and recipe developer across the pond. I’d like to say Rachel and I are friends, but we’ve never actually met. Like so many relationships these days, it’s one through a screen. I’m always taken with her kitchen sink photos, and stories from Rome, where she lives. I’ve no doubt that if we lived closer, we’d be pals, indeed. Continue reading »

14 of my best soup recipes

Update: You can now listen to my posts! I’m working on figuring out how to make them into a podcast, but in the meantime, just click below.

I’m a soup fiend, as you’ll see on reading the stories that go with my best soup recipes below. My love affair with them has nothing to do with the weather, either. Hearty soups, filled with pasta, veggies, maybe some beans are the ultimate one-bowl meal in my book. For some, my Mikey included, a bowl of tomato soup and a gooey, grilled cheese sandwich is as comforting as a hug when you’re not feeling well. And then there are the soups that bring us back to your childhood, like one I recently made from Rachel (see the pasta & potato soup). While the soup of my childhood wasn’t exactly the same, her recipe, and more importantly, the way she wrote about it, reminded me of the pastina and broth I used to love.

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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 »

passionfruit citrus sparkler

Well, that went by in the blink of an eye. Christmas, I mean, of course. I remember when I started my gift shopping some two months ago. Christmas shopping wasn’t even a goal on that particular day, but I stopped into one of the little shops at Wildwood near my apartment in Bethesda. Red Orchard reminded me very much of the local shops I used to support back in Brooklyn. Everything is well curated, with an eclectic array of affordable and extravagant items, mostly in tune with my sense of style and taste. So, when I happened to pop in there in early November, I unintentionally began my Christmas shopping.

This is how I usually approach the holidays. I’m not always a planner, but you’ll never catch me at the mall on Christmas Eve. Gift giving is one area where I don’t get caught up in the mad rush. But all that is for naught now, right? I mean, the advice or describing my approach. Soon, we’ll be taking down all the trimmings from the holidays. Before we get there, though, we still have some official goodbyes to bid 2015. It was a year filled with so much for which to be thankful. I’ll share more about that on Thursday. 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 »

Peppermint Fudge Brownies

One thing I never had to worry about back in Brooklyn, or even Woodstock for that matter, was too many sweets. I used to show up in the school yard to pick up the kids, armed with containers or baggies full of goodies. No one ever argued when I asked if they’d like to help me out by taking the day’s recipe testing treats home to sample. Things are quite different now, here in Maryland. I spend my days, hermit-like in my apartment cooking, baking, and writing. The only neighbor I know is my guy who lives next door, and a sweet gal who lives below me, and babysits the girls from time to time. I bring treats to the doormen, but that’s not nearly enough to help purge all the brownies that flowed from my kitchen this week. Continue reading »