Category Archives: Holidays

Fudgy Espresso Blondie Brownies

Fudgy Espresso Blondie Brownies

Since you all now know that I’m in full-on pregnancy mode, it’s completely acceptable for me to write a post FULL of sugar and bad stuff, right?  In my defense, I brought these to Newport this weekend and did not eat all of them!  Bad stuff aside, these things might seriously be one of the best brownies you’ve ever tasted.

Fudgy Espresso Blondie Brownies

I stole this recipe from my mom, she used to make them and the smell that filled the house would bring everyone out of hiding and we would be waiting by the stove for them to be ready.  They are so rich and delicious, you really only need to eat one (or maybe five).

Fudgy Espresso Blondie Brownies

Unfortunately there is one really hard thing you have to do in order to make these.  You have to let them cool when they come out of the oven and its pretty much pure torture.  The center is so soft and fudgy, they won’t be easy to cut until you let them cool.  For this batch, I put the pan in the refrigerator until it was cooled and then I popped it out onto a cutting board and cut into small pieces using a chef’s knife.  Cutting brownies can be a little difficult and I’ve found this is the easiest solution.

Fudgy Espresso Blondie Brownies

If you haven’t seen them yet, one of my favorite brands – Immaculate Baking Company has ventured out of the refrigerated aisle and they are now making products you’ll find in the dry baking aisle.  I worked with them on designing all of the packaging for these items so its exciting to see them come to life!  They sent me a case of the items to try and they are SO good! They have new cake mixes, cookie mixes and dry ingredients like a pancake waffle mix and this unbleached, unbromated Organic All-Purpose Flour.  I’m sure I’ll be posting other recipes using the other items soon so stay tuned for those!

Fudgy Espresso Blondie Brownies

If you need more friends in your life, just whip up a batch of these and watch them come running, you may want to have some glasses of milk standing by.

Enjoy!

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

The smell of fresh brownies baking in the oven. What are you waiting for? Go make them!!

Fudgy Espresso Blondie Brownies

Ingredients

  • 16oz brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Spray 9" x 9" or 11" x 8" baking pan with cooking spray.
3. In a small sauce pan heat brown sugar & butter until melted. Dissolve the espresso powder with the hot water in a small bowl. Add to the brown sugar mixture and stir to combine well. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder & salt.
5. Beat eggs & vanilla with a mixer. Add the cooled brown sugar mixture and combine well. Slowly add the flour mixture until combined well and then add chocolate chips.
6. Pour into the pan and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the edges and top are lightly browned (center will be soft).
7. Let cool for 10-15 minutes, minimum. For best results, refrigerate until cooled completely and then cut into small squares.

 

 

 

The Ultimate Loaded Potato Salad

The Ultimate Loaded Potato Salad

Hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July weekend!  I was really hoping to share this one with you before the holiday so you could whip some up for your weekend bbq’s but life got in the way and I had to hog this potato salad all to myself for a few days longer.  I made this for a BBQ last weekend and it was so good that I made up another batch this weekend when we had a party on Saturday.  I decided to do an ultimate classic summer bbq, we served pulled pork, cole slaw, potato salad, caprese salad, watermelon & feta salad and corn on the cob.  Everyone gobbled it up!

The Ultimate Loaded Potato Salad

I’ve made my fair share of potato salads in the past and I make a pretty good one but THIS ONE. I can’t even. It’s seriously the best one I’ve ever made, I may never make another potato salad again.  It’s not healthy, its not even trying to be healthy, its just potato salad in all its glory goodness.

The Ultimate Loaded Potato Salad

When Tom lived in the city, we used to walk to this little bagel shop called Bagel Rising every weekend morning to get our breakfast/lunch (back when we used to do something called sleep-in).  The bagels were good and the sandwiches were awesome but the potato salad! Holy yum.  After tasting that the first time, I decided to give it a try and see if I could replicate it.  I wasn’t ever able to make it taste exactly like their magic recipe but after this one, I’ll never try again, I think it might be better.  This potato salad is the potato salad of all potato salads, if you make it, you may have people bowing down to you hailing you a god sent from the heavens.

The Ultimate Loaded Potato Salad

Ok, I’ll stop gushing now, I guess you get it. Its good. Make it. Now.

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Happy babies.

BabyCharlie

Some of our best friends had their baby boy last week and he’s SO friggin cute.  It never gets old watching a baby sleep, they always look so peaceful and happy!

(Hope you guys don’t mind me exploiting your baby on here but he better get used it, this kid is gonna be famous some day).

The Ultimate Loaded Potato Salad

Allergy Egg
Meal type Side Dish
Misc Serve Cold

Ingredients

  • 2.5lb yukon gold potatoes (washed & finely diced)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Medium carrots (peeled & roughly cut)
  • 4 scallions (trimmed)
  • 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice
  • 1/4 cup diced pickles
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 4-6 slices uncooked bacon

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Place bacon slices on a baking pan and bake until crispy (about 10-15 minutes).
2. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside (reserve a tablespoon of drippings for the dressing).
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender (about 10-15 minutes). When potatoes can be pierced easily with fork, drain into a colander in the sink and toss with apple cider vinegar. Let steam for about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a food processor combine carrots, 2 scallions, mayonnaise, pickle juice, pickles, sugar, salt, mustard & a tablespoon of bacon drippings.
5. When potatoes have cooled, transfer to a large bowl. Dice remaining 2 scallions and the bacon and toss with the potatoes. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat well (you may have extra dressing, just use what you need).
6. Cool in the refrigerator before serving.

 

Strawberry Cornbread

Strawberry Cornbread

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!  Here we are, the 2nd day into a 4 day week, can’t wait for some 4th of July festivities!  Speaking of 4th of July, this strawberry cornbread would be the PERFECT thing to whip up for that bbq you’ll be attending this weekend.  Throw some slices on a nice festive platter or a patriotic napkin and you’ve got yourself the perfect side dish.

Strawberry Cornbread

Some friends invited us over for some bbq brisket and pulled pork the other night so I decided we would definitely need some cornbread to have an official bbq feast.  I’ve made cornbread so many times and its often crumbly and doesn’t have that great sweet flavor.  Not to toot my own horn or anything but this time I nailed it!  I did a little online research and found that the key to a moist cornbread is adding some melted butter and honey so I did just that.  Plus I added a ridiculous amount of fresh strawberries from our strawberry picking extravaganza last week.  I honestly don’t know what it was that made this all come together because I’m not baking expert but I can guarantee you, next time I’ll be making it exactly the same way.

Strawberry Cornbread

The 4th of July is the perfect time to make this because the Farmer’s Markets and stores are overflowing with ripe juicy strawberries, begging for you to buy them and make your cornbread moist.  I’ve got some left in the fridge from last weekend that are screaming a countdown at me every time I open the fridge.  I think I’m going to just make a quick skillet jam with them and call it a day because I don’t have much time to bake these days.

Strawberry Cornbread

Do you still need convincing?  Well..I made a 9″ square pan of cornbread which ended up making about 16 squares of cornbread.  there were 6 of us eating dinner and the cornbread was ALL gone by the time dinner was through.  You can do the math.

Strawberry Cornbread

It was so moist and flavorful that it was good to eat on its own but if you want to kick it up a notch, serve with a little flavored butter.  I mashed some butter with maple syrup and cinnamon and put a dish of that in the center of the platter.  If you have the time, it’s definitely worth it.

Hope you love this as much as we did!!

Enjoy!

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Dining al fresco.

Alfresco

There’s something so relaxing about eating outside.  You can just lean back, enjoy the sun and watch all the weird people walk by.  On Sunday after I finished working the Farmer’s Market, we decided to go find a nice place to eat lunch outside.  We settled on the Lobster Shanty in Salem and it fit the bill perfectly.  I enjoyed a grilled romaine salad topped with fresh lobster meat and we watched all the people walk by and the belly dancers that decided to start dancing in the alley next to the restaurant.  Salem really is a special place 🙂

Strawberry Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted & room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 2 Large eggs (beaten)
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries (sliced thin)

Directions

1. Preheat oven 400 F.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt & baking powder and set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl add eggs, milk, half & half, butter & honey and mix to combine well. Slowly add dry mixture and beat until just combined. Add strawberries and stir until evenly distributed.
4. Pour into a 8 or 9 inch square buttered baking pan. If desired, garnish the top with more sliced strawberries.
5. Bake for 18-25 minutes until top is golden brown & toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Note

recipe adapted from Land O'Lakes Honey Moist Cornbread

 

An Easter Weekend Full of All Things Good…

Easter1

Wow, what an awesome past few days!  I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and were able to get out and enjoy the GORGEOUS weather we were given.  My family came to visit this weekend as we usually host Easter at our house.  We aren’t particularly religious so we tend to focus on food, quality times & enjoying spring in all of its glory!

Easter2

The fun-filled weekend started first thing Saturday when we had a scavenger hunt WOD at Crossfit, then we went out to breakfast with friends.  The fam arrived in the early afternoon and we set out for a nice long walk along the coast…

Easter4

The sky was so blue it almost seemed fake at times and the warm sun felt so amazing on my face.

Easter3

We made sure to get our steps in so we were fully prepared for the delicious food we would be stuffing in our faces later.

Easter5

My parents brought us a gorgeous spring bouquet that makes me happy every time I step in the door and see it smiling back at me.

Easter6

For dinner I made roasted fingerling potatoes, sweet peas, an asparagus & gruyere tart and slow roasted salmon over wilted kale with a side of white bean purée and a maple bacon vinaigrette.  Let’s just say there was no shortage of food.  The flavors all worked great together, I was really happy with how the white bean purée worked with the salmon, they were so good together I’ll definitely be doing that one again!

Easter7

My parents brought down their famous mocha birthday cake which I’ve had pretty much every year since I exited the womb.  I put in a request again this year and of course it didn’t disappoint.  Seriously, it might be the best cake ever.  If you’re super good, maybe I’ll give you the recipe some day, but you’ll have to ask nicely! 🙂  Sarah asked why we make it in a circle and my dad told her it was just tradition, that his grandmother always used to make it that way.  She pointed out that in doing so you lose an entire piece of cake in the middle which was definitely a very valid point, I guess we’ll have to keep that in mind next year!

Easter8

As if Saturday wasn’t awesome enough, we enjoyed another gorgeous day on Sunday where we took another long walk along the water and enjoyed a nice lunch before my parents had to head out.  My brother & Sarah stuck around and we decided to head into the city to check out the finish line and festivities.  I was assuming they would have everything blocked off but it was all open for everyone to enjoy.  It felt so special to walk in that spot, reflect on the past year and enjoy the day with all of the smiling faces of a united city.

Easter9

We finished off the day with the bruins game, a few drinks and some delicious oysters and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Seriously, could life get any better?

HAPPY SPRING everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Very Merry Christmas

VeryMerryChristmas1

I’m BAAACK!  Well, sorta. I’m back from Christmas vacation to grind out some work for a few days before we celebrate New Years with a party with some friends and then a trip to Chicago.  SO, maybe I’m not back in full force yet but I wanted to say hi and tell you all about the perfect Christmas we had.

VeryMerryChristmas2

Unfortunately some rain made it so that we didn’t have a ton of snow ON Christmas but then it made up for it by a super Christmasy snow storm the day after Christmas.  We were able to grind out a few more holiday songs and extend the season by a day.

VeryMerryChristmas3

We enjoyed time with family and some much-needed relaxation.  I would have to say that one of the most relaxing times of my year is Christmas Eve when we light the candles on our tree.  We turn off all our phones and all of the lights in the house, cuddle up with some egg nog and watch the candles on the tree as Christmas music plays in the background. It’s calming me down just thinking about it.

VeryMerryChristmas4

I must have been really good this year because Santa was VERY nice to me.  We all went a little overboard this year but it’s always so much fun to give things to the ones you love.

VeryMerryChristmas5

You guys will benefit from one of my gifts.  I finally got a tripod for my camera so I’ll be able to take much better photographs now!  I also got some fun new kitchen toys that I’m sure you’ll be hearing about soon.  I just made a pizza with my new Breville Pizza Maker tonight. One word. YUM. It was super crispy as if it was made in a brick oven, score!!

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Since we’re talking about food now, let’s reflect on all the amazing things that made it into my belly this holiday.  Life is good when your father is a chef…

VeryMerryChristmas7

For dinner the day we arrived we had roasted potatoes, peas, braised cabbage and goose with a green peppercorn gravy.

VeryMerryChristmas8

For Christmas Eve we had green beans, pumpkin risotto and filet mignon over a mushroom duxelles and an amazing reduction sauce.  We generally have our largest meal on Christmas Eve because on Christmas Day, this happens…

VeryMerryChristmas9

After opening presents we pig out on a lunch of delicious hors d’oeuvres.  This year we enjoyed some amazing jamon iberico, dips, octopus, pickles, shrimp, smoked fish, cheese, olives & champagne.  Needless to say we’re not too hungry when dinner time comes around, plus half of us are usually passed out in a champagne coma by mid-afternoon.

VeryMerryChristmas10

Of course there were also lots of cookies & chocolate consumed this week. I’m going to have to hit Crossfit & the veggies hard after a week of over consumption.  I hope you all had a fantastic holiday! Happy NEW YEAR!!