Monday, February 27, 2012


As you may have noticed, posting around here has been extremely sparse! I apologize for that. Truth be told, I haven't been in the kitchen in nearly two weeks. What has my family been eating, you may ask? Oh...some take-out {pizza, Indian, Chinese, Mexican}, a few frozen Trader Joe's entrées or bowls of ramen noodles thrown in here or there...but mostly it's been - rink food.
I've had just about enough of it too. In fact, if I have to eat another dinner at an ice rink I may --- I just can't. Thankfully, it won't get to that point because hockey season is e-n-d-i-n-g. Well, 'winter' hockey season, at least. It's that bittersweet time of year, when my life will no longer include 4:00am wake-ups on Sunday mornings, frigid cold, snowy drives to East BFE every weekend and my vocal cords may actually have an opportunity to heal from all the cheering and screaming I do at games.
The sweet parts? I love watching my boys play hockey - and I know the excitement of getting some of my life back will be short lived. Before I know it I'll be missing all of it.
Because the season is coming to an end, it also means we have tournaments, playoffs, championships...all that jazz. We've basically been at one rink or another every day of the week - and that's the reason I haven't been around here. That - and I've been busy getting my house ready for a guest because my Mom will be here today...for a week! A great thing for me, but it will mean I won't have much time to post this week either.

In the meantime, I'm going to fill you in on another place you can find some of my recipes. Brand new, never-before-seen recipes.  I'm excited to share with you the recent launch of a brand new, food-centric website, called Foodie.  The new site, which has a social-media aspect to it, was developed by the folks at Glam Media - who saw a niche in the social media/food world and decided to fill it.  The site is similar to other social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, in that you can set up a 'profile page' with a profile picture, information about yourself, such as your interests, etc.  You can also 'follow' your friends or foodies you admire and when you do their activity shows up in a feed, very similar to other social media websites.  However, the big difference between Foodie and others out there is every aspect of the site is centered around Food!
Instead of visiting and connecting with friends over on one, or several, social media websites, then getting recipe ideas and inspiration from various recipe sharing sites, then reading about restaurant reviews on another - Foodie gives you the opportunity to have everything in one spot. Which is a great thing, right?
To launch the site, Foodie enlisted the help of 100 select food bloggers - who they're calling the 'Foodie 100', to get things started. Foodie asked me to be part of the group and I was quite honored and excited to participate. Thanks Foodie!  My contributions to the site are three original recipes, which I created specifically for them {and you} and which can only be found on Foodie. 
The three recipes I submitted are Potato Skin Bites with Chive Crème Fraîche, Pineapple Fried Rice and Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Walnuts & Cinnamon.  All three are pictured above, but you'll need to click on the links for details on the recipes. I hope you'll hop on over to Foodie and check it can find me there too!

Monday, February 20, 2012

a Decade & a Day Ago...

was the day my first child was born.  February 19th, 2002 at 2:47pm, to be exact.  It doesn't seem possible that it's already been 10 years since that day.  All the clichés are true...but I couldn't truly appreciate them until I lived them myself.  Now, I know.
The speed at which my children are growing up is frightening.
This photo of my big, bad 10 year old was taken yesterday, minutes after his travel hockey team beat out 8 others to become champions.  He is one of two goaltenders on his team - and of the 6 games they played in the tournament, he only had one goal slip past him.  Five shutouts ain't too shabby and I truly couldn't of been any prouder of him.  The other goalie did amazingly well too - as did every single player on his team. Each one of them is very deserving of the title, Champion...and now they all have a big shiny trophy to prove it.  Hip Hip Hooray!
He couldn't have asked for a better Birthday gift.  Happy Birthday Max!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

As I always like to say, the best gifts are the homemade kind.  This school project brought home by my little guy is no exception.  Although it wasn't made with the intention of becoming a Valentine's gift, he decided to give it to me as one...and I couldn't be happier.  I was laughing out loud when I read it and discovered that my son describes his father and I as 'flexelbull'.  Could I ask for a better character description?  I also always get a kick out of the fact that both my Bozos are always praising me as being a good mom because I feed them, or buy them food, or drinks.  I guess that's what happens when your mom cooks, writes about and takes pictures of food.  Truth is...I think both my boys are pretty 'thotful' and kind too.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Show Some Love with a Lollipop" Valentines

One of my favorite pastimes {that's not food related per se} is to peruse design and crafting blogs.  I love design - as I've mentioned many times before, but I also love anything crafty.  Unfortunately, most of the time the farthest I get is just looking at crafty things - because I don't have a whole lot of free time for the task of actually executing anything. 
This year's Valentine project is a perfect case in point.  Before anyone starts freaking out about how cute this Valentine is {and yes, I think it's cute too} - it wasn't my idea.  I saw this 3D lollipop Valentine on Design Mom {originally from the blog, 24-7-365} two years ago.  I bookmarked it, intending to make some with my Bozos, but as typically happens, I ran out of time and was forced to run to the drug store and buy some Valentines in a box.  Last year it seemed that many people had caught wind of this technique because I started seeing it more and more.  But once again, I missed the boat.  Now, with the invention of Pinterest, this Valentine has blown up all over the place....and, finally - I set aside the time to make some and share them here.

I honestly don't know what I was waiting for, because one of best things about this project is that it's super easy!  It literally took us about a half hour to make enough for both my boy's classmates.
In order to put my own little twist on the idea, I decided take some inspiration from the another modern craze and make mine using Instagram {along with a couple other iPhone apps}.  Here's a what we did...
{1.} Take the Photo: I began by having my boys stand in front of a solid background, with one hand outstretched into a fist while I took their picture - you can use any background you'd like, but the less busy the better.  As far as what kind of camera to use, you can use the camera app that comes with your phone, the camera function inside of Instagram itself, or any other camera app of your choice {you could also bag the camera phone route and take your photo using a regular digital camera}.  I took mine using my favorite iPhone camera app, Camera+.  I then opened the photo with Instagram to crop the photo into a square, add a filter effect and a white border to the photo.
{2.} Add Text to Photo {optional}: I could have done this in Photoshop, or another photo editing program, like Picnik {which happens to be closing in April - but can be used until then!}.  But I decided to keep things simple and used another iPhone app I love, called Labelbox.  It's a fun {and free!} app that lets you add retro looking labels to your photos.  After the text was added I uploaded the finished photo to my computer. {Note: you can skip the text part if you'd like and have your child write directly on the photo using a Sharpie marker}
{3.} Resize the Photo: Depending on what size you'd like the finished card to be, you can either print out the photos as is or you can resize them and lay them out in a document to make printing out multiples easier.  We were giving our Valentines tucked inside a goodie bag, so I needed them to be relatively small.  To do this, I used Photoshop to resize the original into a 2 1/4" square.  I then created a 8 1/2" x 11" blank document and laid the small square images out onto the sheet, making it possible to print 12 cards out at once.
{4.} Print & Trim the Cards: You'll need a heavier weight paper for this project as plain copy paper is too flimsy to hold a lollipop.  Initially I used white cardstock, but the photo came out a bit grainy looking {which you can see in these photo here}.  It would have been perfectly acceptable as it wasn't too bad, but I decided to try a heavy matte photo paper instead and it came out much better...perfectly clear and crisp.  I then used a paper cutter to trim the cards.
{5.} Punch holes in cards & assemble: Lastly, I used a single hole punch to cut holes into the top and bottom of my boy's fists.  We slid the lollipop sticks through the holes...and voila! We were done - almost.

You could stop there...or you could take it a bit further by tucking the cards inside of some super cute goodie bags - like these red chevron striped ones from Pretty Tape.  We wanted to give a few more candy treats inside so these goodie bags were perfect.  My boys wrote their classmate's names on strips of washi tape and stuck them to the front of the bags.  They've been obsessed with Japanese washi tape for awhile now - as have I.  Pretty Tape also has an amazing selection of tapes, if you're interested.  They finished each bag with a Hersey kiss and a Dove milk chocolate heart.
I've never seen them more excited about bringing Valentines to school as they are tonight!  I hope you enjoy this little tutorial...and that you and all your wee ones have a fun day tomorrow!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happy Weekend //

I have lots of link love to spread this week.  There are so many good looking Valentine's Day goodies out in food blog land at the was seriously difficult to stop myself where I did! I'm hoping to join in the fun with a decadent treat to share here as well - that's if things go as planned the next few days {which unfortunately doesn't seem to happen much}.  I'm also helping my boys put the finishing touches on their Valentine's cards and will be sharing what we did and how we did it - I think you're really going to like them!
Do you have anything romantic or fun planned for the 14th?  I don't - yet.  Mostly because I've never been one for going out on Love Day.  Why go crazy trying to get a reservation, only to sit in a packed restaurant?  I'd much rather do something romantic at home and save the trip out to dinner for another night.  As an early treat to myself I got a mani/pedi this week - for the first time since probably the end of summer.  Boy, did I need it.  My new favorite red - which also happens to be a perfect Valentine's Day color, is Russian Roulette.  It looks great on fair-skinned gals, so if you're like me and happen to be a little 'glow in the dark' during the winter months, give it a try!
Whatever you have planned, or don't have planned - I hope you have a nice time!  Meanwhile, take a look at these fantastic looking posts from around the Web this week...
{1.} strawberry malt cupcakes | your cup of cake {2.} pink raised doughnuts with toasted coconut | joy the baker {3.} raspberry lemonade cupcakes | bella eats {4.} chocolate chip lava cookies | kevin & amanda {5.} sweetheart cherry pies | cake student {6.} heart lasagna | itsy bitsy foodies {7.} cookie in a skillet | some kitchen stories {8.} cinnamon bun white hot chocolate | sugarhero! {9.} beet cookies | my name is yeh {10.} amaretto-soaked white chocolate cherries | formal fringe

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Curried Lentil & Farro Soup

When I was a twenty-something gal and would occasionally venture into the world of cooking, this soup was my 'specialty'.  I can't remember exactly who gave me the recipe - I think it was my father, who got it from someone else and passed it along to me.  All I do remember is that it was a small photocopy of a recipe from the NY Times food section in 1996.  That little wrinkled, stained and well used piece of paper has traveled with me for 16 years.  I keep it tucked between the pages of a cookbook and over the years, whenever I decided to make a pot I would have to dig through my entire cookbook collection to find it - never remembering which book it was in.  After awhile I gave up on all that and memorized the ingredients.
I've passed the recipe to many people over the years too.  I remember being on a low-carb diet and upon discovering that lentils were a permissible food item I decided to make a gigantic pot of this soup - which I proceeded to live on for days.  I told my mother about it, who was also dieting at the time and she loved the soup so much she passed it on to everyone in the family.  So, I have a feeling when this recipe gets posted they'll all know exactly what soup this is.
As much as I enjoy this soup, I am typically not a 'traditional' lentil soup person.  When I think of lentil soup I think of something grainy in texture and very bland in flavor.  To avoid those kind of results, I love trying recipes that use bold flavors, like curry powder or garam marsala.  I also opt for using small lentils, which I think make a big difference - they tend to hold their shape while cooking instead of breaking down into grainy mush.  For this batch I used Spanish Pardina lentils, which worked very the past I've used French green lentils, which would also be a great choice.
For the grain component, I've used everything from pearled barley {which is what the original recipe calls for}, to brown rice, to the farro I've used here.  Farro is very similar in texture to barley, so I'd say their nearly interchangeable.  But I like the farro a bit more as the grains have a slightly chewy texture that I really love. 
Best thing about this recipe is that it calls for ingredients you most likely already have on hand in your pantry - or most of anyway.  It's quick, simple and inexpensive to make and tastes great days can even be frozen, so you might consider doubling the recipe!
If you like lentils you might also enjoy these recipes too! - Stewed Lentils with Leeks, Lentil & Bulgur Salad | Spiced Red Lentil Soup with Cashews | Curried Squash & Red Lentil Soup

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Happy Weekend //

For me, I guess it's both!  I love game time fact, I took this photo a few weekends ago while we were watching the Giants play the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.  I'm not a huge football fan - as in, I'll watch it, but only when it's an exciting or important game and usually only when it involves local teams.  That pretty much goes for me and all sports.  However, both my boys are super into football - especially my older son, who plays football with his friends every single day of the year during school recess.  While watching a recent game with him I was blown away by how much he knew about the sport!  He was filling me in on every move, explaining every penalty and why it happened and was able to answer all my questions.  I was quite impressed!
For those of you who will be watching the Giants vs. Patriots as they duke it out tomorrow, I'm sharing some game time goodies I found around the Web this week...
{1.} baked jalapeno poppers | recipe girl {2.} nachos | local kitchen {3.} or notcho normal nachos | make it naked {4.} pimento cheese bites | food republic {5.} for sandwiches julienne pickles with ginger & anise | delicious days {6.} korean fried chicken wings | the ravenous couple {7.} sloppy joe meatball sandwich | kayotic kitchen {8.} party popcorn | she wears many hats {9.} chocolate chip cookie dough dip | how sweet it is
Or some recipes from The Parsley Thief...
hot artichoke dip with tarragon | guacamole | chicken satay with peanut sauce | fire-roasted heirloom salsa | simple beef & kidney bean chili | chicken chili verde | chili con carne | guinness beef stew | bbq chicken | macaroni salad | brown butter brownies

Friday, February 3, 2012


You might wonder why I'm publishing a post titled "Wednesday" on a Friday.  But this post isn't about what day of the week it's about the most recent addition to our family - a kitty cat named, Wednesday.  Isn't she beautiful? [smile]
I've been wanting to do a post about her for awhile now - but if you've ever had a kitten you might know that it's very difficult to get them to sit still!  The only opportunity I've had to get some good photos of her has been while she's slept.  But now, a few months have passed and she's just at the brink of beginning to 'settle down'.  She's definitely still a kitten!  But she's been having more calm moments than before and I was finally able to whip the camera out one recent sunny day while she was just waking up from one of her 2 dozen naps a day.  Cats have the life, do they not?