Toddler Cooking Party…He’s 3!

IMG_3064To say that George loves all things kitchen related would be a ridiculous understatement.  He doesn’t just like “playing” kitchen…he likes using the real stuff, carefully stirring at the stove, watching every single step and trying it out himself.  He even sort of non-verbally lures new guests or friends to lift him onto the counter near the mixer so he can touch it for a while (since he knows Jeff and I won’t).    Obsessed would be a better word to use.

Since George is still mostly non-verbal, we had to guess what theme would be best for his birthday and “cooking” popped into my head as a fun thing for all kids to do!   Here’s how we pulled it off: Continue reading

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Our Annual Easter Feast

The buffet ready for devouring.

The buffet ready for devouring.

In a little less than a week, Jeff and I will be waking up early to start our annual tradition of making my family’s pierogies for lots and lots of friends for Easter.   We will hand form each one on Sunday morning and line them up in neat little rows ready for boiling, all the while teasing each other about our very different techniques and Jeff will insist that his seal is stronger.  Mine will be fat and round and his will be long and skinny… I don’t think I have to state the obvious here… it never fails to make me laugh.    This party is my absolute favorite to throw every year.  We have a wonderful energetic egg hunt followed by a simple, heavy and delicious meal that always makes me think of my family.    Here are some photos from last year!  Continue reading

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Last Minute Valentine: Slice and Bake Butter Cookies

IMG_0683I adore a simple, crunchy, lightly sweet slice and bake butter cookie.   They are lovely rolled in colored sugar, chopped nuts or coconut.  For a quick Valentine’s Day treat, I rolled my cookie dough log in homemade colored sugar and shaped it into a heart when it was partially chilled.  Once it was completely firm, I just sliced it, revealing darling heart cookies with a red sugar edge.  Super simple and a gorgeous little gift!   Recipe after the jump. Continue reading

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Ikea Hack: Picture Ledge Book Pockets

IMG_1812Maybe you were like me and thought the Ikea Ribba picture ledges would make adorable bookshelves in your child’s room or nursery…?  Well, they are really cute, but two and half years later, when your child has A LOT of books, I promise that they will constantly fall off into a huge mess on the floor.  Frankly, I started to go crazy picking them up all day long!  I decided to modify our Ribbas with some white mesh to make book pockets that keep them from falling off the shelves.  I love this project because it was really simple and can be a temporary fix that doesn’t mar the ledges!   Instructions and materials after the jump.  Continue reading

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Valentine’s Day Cupcake Sandwiches

IMG_8617 IMG_8618Last year, I couldn’t think of what to bake for Jeff for Valentine’s Day when I ran across an adorable heart-shaped Whoopie pie/muffin top pan in Michael’s and inspiration struck.  He loves red velvet cupcakes so I decided to make him a sort of whoopie-pie-cupcake-sandwich hybrid.   The result was gorgeous, super tasty and a less messy version of a cupcake to boot!   I used the Magnolia Bakery recipe exactly, so no need to reprint, but be sure to check the cakes often because they don’t take long when they are in a shallow pan.

 

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Simply Wonderful Tomato Soup

IMG_0648There’s just something about homemade tomato soup in the winter (yes, even in LA) that warms me to my toes.  I was never a fan of the canned stuff growing up, but real tomato soup is the perfect accompaniment to almost anything.  When my friend served us this family recipe one night last year, I was blown away by how perfect it was and I’ve been making it two to three times a month since that dinner!  Her recipe is a little creamy, a little tangy and a little spicy.   It also freezes well which has been a lifesaver during busy months.  I recommend pairing it with a grilled pimento cheese sandwich or sweet corn muffins!  Continue reading

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Delicate Milk and Rice Flour Pudding

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Longing for something simple and creamy, we ordered “rice pudding” for dessert from our favorite Mediterranean restaurant one evening.   What we got was anything but simple and I immediately became obsessed.   After lots of recipe research, my best guess is that it is actually called Malabi, an Israeli milk and rice flour pudding.   The texture is smooth, creamy and soft.   It holds its shape easily like a flan, but the rice flour and rose-water gives it a light, delicately floral flavor.   The restaurant drizzled their version with a rose water syrup and sprinkles it with coconut and pistachios, but the flavors and toppings vary from recipe to recipe.   Once I found my favorite version of the pudding itself, I made it a few times to perfect my version.   It is extremely quick and simple to make…and our toddler adores it, so it’s a great recipe to introduce new and exotic flavors to a child who might be a little skeptical.  Continue reading

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