grain-free chocolate chip cookies

A funny thing happened while writing this post. My finger brushed the keyboard, hitting the delete key ever-so-lightly, and voila!—the whole post was gone. Nothing like losing an hour’s worth of work to keep it real (at 5:30am, no less). The magic combo of Apple key + z was no match for the cosmic forces intervening at that moment. I’m trying to let life not seem so loud these days, and if I can’t channel that zen approach while talking about chocolate chip cookies, then I may as well close up show now. To know me is to also know that I’m anything but a quitter. I’m too damn stubborn.

Besides, chocolate chip cookies are at stake here. Not just any ol’ cookie either. These here little fellas are grain-free chocolate chip cookies, and make me smile just as I write the words. See, Des can eat these cookies, and I’m thrilled for that fact. While working on recipes for that epic cookbook project (not mine, but I promise to share when I can), I shared a photo of grain porridge on Instagram. Des commented how lovely it looked even though she couldn’t eat it. Due to health issues, she has to avoid grains. Continue reading »

everything’s coming up pumpkin

I suspect pumpkin fatigue may be setting in right about now. That’s what happens when the internets are flooded with all things pumpkin before the sun has even set on summer. I’m here to say don’t give up. Once you expand beyond pumpkin spice lattes (guilty as charged), there’s plenty of recipes that’ll keep you enjoying this fall favorite. Here’s an oldie but goodie recipe for Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting, plus links to four more of my favorite pumpkin-inspired treats.

Continue reading »

wilted kale salad & warm shallot vinaigrette

“How a cookbook is marked, by handwritten notes or physical evidence that a recipe was prepared over and over, tells much about the intent and life of the cook.” –Kim Severson

Perhaps this quote is the best place to begin the discussion about recipe writing. I spend my days creating a myriad of recipes, no cuisine is off-limits, and I get an extra special thrill when pushed to the perimeters of my comfort zone, as with the project I recently wrapped up. When it comes to cooking, I’m a “can do” girl all the way.

At some point my job ends, and yours begins. The recipes leave the comfort and care of my kitchen, floating into yours, and it is you, the reader that gives them life. So, yes, perhaps this is just the right point at which to ponder what is considered good recipe writing. I firmly believe it is an art to translate a bunch of ingredients and technique into layman’s terms, so cooks of any level can successfully make them at home. The job of the recipe writer is to weave the wings with which homecooks need to take flight. Continue reading »

then & now {concord grape muffins, revisited}

Sometimes even my most favorite recipes get lost in the shuffle. It’s a hazard of the job, let’s just say. I develop on average 200 recipes a year, so it’s no surprise some get buried at the bottom of the pile (or my subconscious). The great thing about sharing some of them here are comments that continue to flow in, reminding me of these forgotten treasures. I’m in awe that these waffles have been pinned more than 24,000 times.

A couple of weeks ago new comments popped up on my recipe for Concord Grape Muffins. The memory of my first taste five years ago is still vivid, pockets of jam bursting with each bite. I decided to give them a little makeover since I’ve been on this dairy-free, whole grain, no refined sugars project. Okay, so maybe it’s not such a little makeover. For starters, there’s no butter, and that changes the technique. The old recipe is what I called my biscuit-making muffin approach. You rub cold bits of butter into the flour mixture with your fingers. This results in a very light crumb, and not what you normally think of when muffins come to mind. Continue reading »

collecting dots vs. connecting dots {honey spice cake}

The day is beginning to wake. The sky a chameleon, slowly morphing from deep navy to soft blue. I love watching this transformation. Years ago, I used to go out running at this early hour. The world went from still and quiet, to the squeaking wheels of trucks making their deliveries for the day. Commuters shuffling about, still wiping the sleep from their eyes, some clutching a canister of coffee for a life raft.

That old life feels so far from reality as I sit on my sofa in Maryland right now. We’ve been in the thick of adjusting to new schools, again. Virginia attends a tiny Montessori school, and hit the ground running. She’s always been my shadow, and while she’d much rather stay home with mama all day, she seems very content in her school environment. 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

roasted beet greens

I know what you’re thinking. There’s nothing sexy about beet greens. I mean, getting most people to eat beets alone is a tough sell. I didn’t taste my first one until well into my 20s. Beets were not a part of my family’s food comfort zone growing up. Beets are sassy, and in your face. I can relate to beets in this respect. They’re earthiness requires some taming.

And beet greens? Well, they’re a bitter pill to swallow. When I wrote Homemade with Love, I wanted to include a recipe showing that beet greens can be veggie rockstars if coaxed a bit. That recipe is prepared on the stove top; quick and easy enough, but still more time than I had available on one particularly busy day of recipe testing. Continue reading »

seriously delicious ribs

Yes, I know. Those lobster rolls above have nothing at all to do with ribs, but I’m still dreaming of yesterday’s lunch at Arnold’s in Eastham. We’re on the Cape right now, my 20th summer out here, but more on that later. For now, you can follow my follies over on Instagram.

I wanted to share a recipe from the archives since the theme for this week’s Food Network Summer Soiree is BBQ. I created it six years ago in the dead of winter. It was before Brooklyn had its renaissance, and was graced with the likes of a Dinosaur BBQ, now just a half-mile from my old apartment. Back then, if I wanted to satisfy my barbecue craving, and didn’t want to cross a bridge or tunnel, it meant getting to work in my own kitchen. Mikey loved these ribs so much, they were on the menu for his 50th birthday. I hosted a party for 40 people at our house, and cooked fried chicken and ribs while The Who played half-time at the Super Bowl. Continue reading »

crispy vanilla waffles {dairy-free}

Once upon a time there was a guy who loved waffles.

And he had a daughter who loved pancakes.

Every Sunday, they’d argue over what would be on the menu for brunch, until Mommy intervened, declaring we’d alternate between the two every week.

You probably guessed who the little girl and the guy were in this true story. Funny how times change, and tastes shift. I often wonder if Isabella’s fondness for waffles now is a way for her to connect with her papa. When M passed away I began drinking my coffee like him, black. It made me feel closer to him, and like I was keeping him alive in some small way. I might be overthinking the waffle thing, but who knows… Continue reading »

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