Sunday, January 30, 2011


A couple shots from my iPhone showing the magnitude of our recent storm.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Elizabeth "Betty" Clara

My sister, Emily, recently gave birth to another beautiful baby girl! Elizabeth Clara {she'll be called Betty, after my beloved Grandmother} was born on January 11th, 2011 @ 2:15pm {what an awesome birthdate!}...weighing in at 9lbs. 9oz. & measuring 21 1/2 inches.
She is pictured here with her big sister, Sadie. Seems like just yesterday that she was born!
Welcome to the world Betty! Can't wait to meet you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Matchbook Magazine

Just released yesterday, another great online magazine! It's called Matchbook & it's created by bloggers, Katie Armour & Jane Lily Warren. Describing the mag as a "field guide to a charmed life"'ll find all sorts of good reads within it's pages. A bit of everything having to do with "lifestyle"...interiors, fashion, beauty, travel & of!


I am doing this post specifically to go with the Short Rib Ragù I posted earlier today. But, truth is polenta tastes good with just about anything & is a Bozo favorite side dish here at our house.
Even though Dh & I are both of Italian American decent & are both from New England...we call this Grits. Normally, when I make "Grits", I just follow the instructions on the bag of cornmeal...something simple, like simmering in salted water for 15-20 minutes.
But, this time, I decided I wanted to try Marcella Hazan's method for making "Polenta". Her traditional recipe is crazy...and, although it may be crazy delicious, it involves stirring the polenta for 40 minutes straight. Um...not today.
So, I tried her "No-Stir" method...which, does involves some stirring, but no where near 40 minutes of it!
I couldn't really see the point of cooking grits, or polenta this long. But, I now see that it does change things. The individual grains sort of disappear & it becomes this smooth, even texture.
However you decide to cook your grits, they would taste great with some ragù, bolognese, or my favorite way...with a sunny side up egg on top.

Short Rib Ragù

Ever since I first saw this recipe over @ Food52 I've been obsessed with the idea of making it. The photos are unbelievable {which they always are over there} & it looked so delicious & real, that it almost felt as though I could reach through the computer screen & steal a bite.
It's been a long time since I've made a winter stew type of meal...the sort of thing that takes all day to cook & permeates your house with the smell of something good cooking. We've been getting dumped on pretty much weekly, here in the Northeast, with loads of snow. This past Sunday seemed like the perfect day to make this dish & I'm so glad I's delicious.
For those of you unfamiliar with the website, Food52, you must go check it out. It's a recipe community website, where the 2 founders run weekly contests {52 weeks of the year} for the "Best of"...whatever that weeks subject happens to be. The winners get published in a cookbook, which is the year end result of all the contests.
Not only is the site beautiful to look at, it's a great place to find tested, tried & true recipes. About a month ago, I was lucky enough to win one of the contests for my "Warm Orzo Salad with Beets & Greens" recipe. So, look for it in their next cookbook!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tuna Salad with Lemon & Olives

There's a gourmet food store in my area that makes the most delicious, yet simple Mediterranean style tuna salad. This here is my attempt at re-creating it at home...and, I'm happy to say I hit the nail on the head.
Still on your resolution bandwagon? Well, this is a perfect meal for that. It's loaded with protein & low in has little, to no oil {depending on if you chose to add some in}.
But, the truth is, this salad is so good, you don't need to be watching your waistline to enjoy it. It's a great filling for a pita sandwich...mounded on top of some baby arugula, with some crumbled feta & sliced radishes...or, served simply as a snack with some crackers, or toasted bread.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some Things I Just Love...

Some recent finds around the blogoshere & elsewhere...

a. These super cute, retro dishtowels are right up my alley. They remind me so much of my grandmother! She used to have dishtowels just like these. They're available from House8810 & I found them over @ Design Mom.

b. Another great jewelry find over @ Etsy {have I ever mentioned I'm addicted to that site!?}. I love the style of these rings...made from leather & cotton thread. Check out the rest of Kjoo's shop. She's got loads of great finds!

c. I have a thing for anything made from felted wool. So, when I saw this rug, from HAY, it was love @ first sight. I can only imagine the amount of work that goes into making it!

d. Tis' the season for hearty stews, soups & chili...many of which call for beans. If you'd like to get your hands on the most unbelievable collection of heirloom varieties, Rancho Gordo is the place to go!

e. Bike Dress Guards. How beautiful & so functional! I wish I had myself one back in the days before I drove everywhere & instead rode my bike.

f. {Not Pictured} On a side note...I have mentioned here many times how I love to collect bits & pieces of inspiration from all over the place...books, magazines, the internet & save everything in "Inspiration" folders. I have recently become addicted to a website, called Pinterest. It's basically an "Inspiration" folder website. You collect things you love, via images & add them to your own online "pin boards". Not only can you save all the things you love, but you can also surf the collections of others! LOVE it & you must check it out...if you haven't already!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


As I sit here anticipating a great football game on the television, I think of guacamole. It's football season food to me. Along with nachos, buffalo wings, chili with all the fixin's, hot dogs with the works, sliders....
Hmmm...I think I've been carb starved too long.
I am however eating guacamole. Not with chips, as shown here...but, with eggs, on a salad, smeared on a burger. This is always the way I've made guacamole. That is, when I happen to have all the ingredients I want on hand, which I happen to have had today.
I like guacamole chunky...only about half mashed & I like lots of stuff in you can see here. If given the proper amount of citrus, via some lime juice, it will stay in your fridge for a few days & makes a great condiment for all sorts of things.
Or, you can grab a bag of chips & go turn on the game...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tiny Pasta & Pea Soup

In Italian, this soup is called, Minestra di Pasta e Piselli...translated, it's Pasta & Pea Soup.
I couldn't resist making it, as I fell in love with the idea of tiny pasta stars & itty bitty diced vegetables. I was also intrigued with the idea of making a "battuto", or an Italian version of a "Mirepoix". For those unfamiliar with the term, it's basically a finely diced blend of aromatics & flavorful vegetables...and, in this case, prosciutto. It's used to enhance the flavor of stocks, soups & sauces. Many cultures have their own version of the Mirepoix...the Spanish have sofrito, the Portuguese have refogado, Creole cooking, it's called the holy trinity.
With a base of aromatic vegetables, butter & prosciutto, I figured, how could this soup not be good?
It's delicious...and, not only that it's so pretty. It went over well with the family & I'm happy I have a pot of it for the impending snowstorm headed our way!

Cheddar & Banana Pockets

Just because I'm doing the low-carb thing doesn't mean you all have to. I have to cook for my kids after all! These cheesy pockets {really, they're empanadas} are a Bozo favorite. Seriously, I can't see a kid not liking these. They are simple. Nothing gourmet here. The dough is super basic & definitely goes over well with a kids finicky palate. If you'd like a richer, more buttery dough, I recommend you try the empanada dough used here.
The filling is the perfect balance of salty & sweet. Bananas & cheddar cheese may not be a combo you've ever thought to combine. But, believe me, it's good!
My intention was to make these for lunch on Sunday & then have some leftover for school lunch this week. But, they never made it that far. I would imagine they'd be good with all sorts of fillings too. You could get creative here...I was thinking up next I would try bananas & nutella. Yum.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mustard Chicken Salad

January, for myself & many out there, means it's time to start losing those holiday pounds. As promised, I have some healthy alternatives on the horizon. I am not doing anything as extreme as last January, when I was doing the Goop, that thing was torture. But, I am low-carbing it.
This salad is full of flavor & I definitely didn't feel like I was missing out on a thing. I did adapt the original recipe to make it more low-cal...cutting back on the fat & upping the vegetables. I love that it's packed full of veggies & the mustard in the dressing gives it some tang & spice.
It would also make a great weekday lunch. All the components of the salad can be made ahead of time & dressed right before serving.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

It was my DH's birthday last week. I was on the fence about what to make. A cake? Cupcakes? What kind? My kids aren't the biggest cake fans. One isn't crazy about the cake part & one isn't crazy about frosting...I have weird kids.
I wanted to make something that everyone might like. DH will eat anything sweet & both my kids are wild about caramel. I'm a huge caramel fan too & salted caramel? My fave.
So, after some internet cruising, I settled on this recipe, which I found on the website, CHOW. I am so glad that I did! I love these cupcakes! The frosting is perfect. It reminds me of the Butterscotch Pudding I made a few years ago, but in frosting form. It starts out sweet, then gets a little of the bitterness from the caramel & finishes salty.
I briefly considered turning the recipe into a layer cake. But, I'm glad I decided against it. These cupcakes are very rich & in cake form I think it would have been too much. But, as little cakes? Perfect!
If you're a fan of caramel, or butterscotch, this recipe is a must for you!