Sunday, September 9, 2012

Morning Glory Muffins

I had a big accomplishment this morning, I made muffins and they weren't made from a box! Yahoo! Some of you may think I am nuts for being so excited about this, but I am not great at baking and I tend to take shortcuts when I can (especially on a Sunday morning). I woke up craving muffins this morning and when I looked in my pantry and saw I didn't have any pre-made mixes left I reluctantly opened up a favorite recipes book and found the easiest muffin recipe there was. These muffins have grated carrot, Crasins, pecans,banana and cinnamon in them which makes them sweet, spicy and slightly tart. I didn't have all the ingredients from the original recipe so I made notes where I altered it.  These little guys got a thumbs up from the hubby and are a great way to start off a wet and grey Sunday morning.

Morning Glory Muffins (makes 18)

2 C Flour
1C Sugar
2tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of salt
3 eggs lightly beaten
1C vegetable oil
2 grated carrots
1 apple, peeled grated ( I used mashed up one banana)
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c dried coconut (I didn't use it)
1/2 c choc chip ( I didn't use it)
1/2 pecans chopped
2 tsp vanilla

In large mixing bow, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt (I put through sifter so there are not lumps and mixes well). In  a separate bowl, beat eggs and slowly whisk in oil. Stir in carrots, apple, cranberries, coconut, chocolate chips, pecans and vanilla.  Slowly add this to the flour mixture.  Use ice cream scoop to evenly distribute batter into 18 greased muffin tin. Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Grown Up Mac & Cheese

In an effort to get all of  us girlfriends together, my friend Kim had a potluck. There were eight girlies who attended and each person brought either an appetizer, entree, side dish, or dessert.  Kim, the gracious host that she is, provided a delicious pineapple Salmon entree. Since I volunteered to provide the other entree, I knew I needed something portable and tasty.  My answer?  Grown Up Mac & Cheese which I found on by Ina Garten.  The minute I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it, Blue Cheese, Gruyere, Cheddar and BACON...YUM! I was ordered by my friends to put this recipe on the blog as it was a huge hit along with the delicious Salmon. I learned Mac & Cheese doesn't have to be from a blue box, but you can make a sophisticated, delightful dish to accompany something as fancy schmancy as Salmon. Cheers!

Ingredients (taken from from Ina Garten recipes) 

Serves 2 (** Double the recipe to serve 4**)

  • 4 ounces thick-sliced bacon (I used  Canadian Bacon)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi  (Cava what?? I used elbows...)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk ( I used whole Milk)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
BreadCrumbs   (I took the easy route and used store bought bread crumbs :) )
  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed 
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves 


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven - there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

I turned away for a split second... I guess Diesel liked it too!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Clam Spaghetti in White Wine Sauce

So I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and experiment with seafood. I saw that clams were on sale and I thought to myself I was really going to challenge myself.  So I apprehensively picked up a 2 pounds of them, a bottle of dry white wine and some yummy crunchy bread and prepared this delicious dish. I found this recipe in my Giada De Laurentiis Everyday Italian book, it seemed easy enough to do and had some flavorful ingredients. The recipe lived up to its expectations and all enjoyed this light, summer dish.

Spaghetti with Clams  (From Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis)
Serves 4

1 lb of dried spaghetti
1/2 cup EVOO
2 shallots, finely chopped
5 Garlic cloves, finely chopped ( i would even use a press next time)
2 1/2 lbs of Manila clams, scrubbed clean
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until tender but still firm to the bite.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium high flame. When almost smoking, add the shallots and saute until soft. Add garlic and sautee until golden brown and the shallots are translucent.  Add the clams, wine , 2 tablespoons of parsley and 1/2 Teaspoon  each of sea salt and pepper.   Cover and simmer until most of the clams are open (tip from the hubby once they open take them right out!). This takes 4-6 minutes.  If they don't open, discard.   Whisk in butter to thicken the sauce.

Drain spaghetti reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Do not rinse spaghetti, this will help the spaghetti to stick to the sauce.  Toss the the spaghetti w/ the clam mixture to coat. Add the cooking liquid  to moisten.

Transfer the pasta to large serving blow. Spring the lemon zest over the pasta. Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve immediately.

Monday, August 27, 2012


This weekend I had one of my favorite girlfriends in the whole wide world stay with us. Every time she comes up and stays over we skip on all the diners the city has to offer  and I happily make breakfast. I absolutely love it, we stay in our jammies, sip on coffee, eat whatever I decide to whip up and catch up on all the things we miss living miles apart. This time for breakfast I decided to make a frittata, because it is a great way to clean out your fridge before you go grocery shopping! All you need are the basics: eggs, milk, veggies and cheese. Frittata's are not just for breakfast, add some meat to your dish and you have yourself a hearty dinner!

Clean up Frittata
Serves 4

6 large eggs
6 Tablespoons of Whole Milk
1/2 large Red Pepper chopped
1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes 
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 Large Baked Potato skin on, sliced(I microwaved it first for 8 minutes to make it soft)
1/2 Tsp of Paprika
1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
 1 cup of Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In oven proof skillet heat up EVOO on Med High heat and saute onion, red pepper, tomatoes and potato slices. Once vegetables are soft add paprika and garlic powder.

Meanwhile whisk together eggs and milk. Once mixed add into pan with vegetables and salt and pepper to taste. Let set on burner for 5-8  minutes until halfway set and add cheese on top. Transfer into over and cook until not jiggly in the middle. Take out of the oven and put a dinner plate on top  of the skillet (watch out its hot!) and flip the skillet over so the frittata falls onto plate. Enjoy!

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

I had one goal before our one year anniversary and that was to use the ice cream maker I desperately wanted on our wedding registry. Let me give you the background story:  When I was in registry heaven at Macy's and was blissfully scanning away in the kitchen appliances apartment without a care in the world,  my husband rudely interrupted me at the ice cream maker. I believe the conversation went like this:

Husband: "Really babe an ice cream maker? Why do we need an ice cream maker?"
Me: "But I always wanted an ice cream maker, how fun would it be to make ice cream?"
Husband: "But you can't eat ice cream, you are lactose intolerant"
Me: "But I always wanted an ice cream maker..."
Husband: "Fine, but I guarantee you won't use it once before our one year anniversary."
Me: Beep goes the scanner and off I go.

Sound familiar?????

Well fast forward to 360 days after our wedding and BOOM!  I am in the kitchen making this kick a#s strawberry ice cream that only he can enjoy! And from the quick disappearance of the ice cream I would say he is happy I put it on the registry! :)

This recipe is from Cuisinart recipe booklet that came with the ice cream maker. Please note you will need to freeze your ice cream maker bowl (which can take up to 24 hours) and you will need 2 hours for strawberries to macerate, this is not a quick dish!

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
Makes about fourteen 1/2 cup servings

3 cups of fresh ripe strawberries, stemmed and  sliced
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I learned the hard way, you  need the fat)
2 3/4 cups of heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In  a small bow, combine the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of sugar.  Stir gently and allow the strawberries to macerate in the juices for 2 hours. Strain the berries, reserving juices. Mash or puree half the berries.

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and remaining granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved about 1 or 2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream, reserved strawberry juice, mashed strawberries and vanilla. Turn ice cream machine on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened about 20 to 25 minutes (read instructions for your ice cream machine).  Five minutes before mixing is complete add reserved sliced strawberries **Note make sure they are super thin or cute in half. They are hard to chew when frozen**.  The ice cream will have a soft cream texture.  If you want firmer consistency transfer ice cream to airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Yummo Style: Scarves

Jessica Alba frequently boosts here style with a stylish scarf.
Photo take from
Fall is probably my favorite season. Living in New England Fall provides beautiful scenery, crisp cool weather and fun fashion. And guess what people??? Fall is just around the corner! One of my favorite accent pieces for fall are scarves.  This little piece of material can dress up any casual outfit and give you a cool chic look.  I tend to wear mine with jeans and white tee or to add a pop of color to any outfit that is slightly bland. 

Now that I got you all excited about this inexpensive trend please remember there are some RULES about wearing scarves. To help us out, I found these tips helpful from
  1. If your scarf has print, your shirt should not.
  2. If your shirt has print, your scarf should not. Yes I know this seems redundant, but for some reason, people think that mixing ALL prints is necessary and sometimes, it’s best to just leave it alone.
  3. Busy earrings and neck jewelry are a no go while wearing a silk scarf. Opt for simple studs instead and let your scarf speak for itself.
I also found this GREAT YouTube video on different ways you can wear a scarf by Eileen Fisher. I guess I will need to up my game on how to wear this stylish trend!

Don't know where to go to get these stylish accessories? Here are some websites that can help you nab the right style for you!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chicken Soup...for my summertime cold

Ugh one of my pet peeves is having a cold in the summer. Having a cold in general blows, but when you are stuffy and sniffy in 90 degree weather, something about it just makes me automatically irritable.

So needless to say I have been a joy to hang around with this weekend (sorry honey!), so to make myself feel better I made some yummy homemade chicken soup.  You may say to yourself soup in the summer?  Well this is my secret weapon to fighting those stubborn colds! The broth acts as a decongestant and big chunks of chicken leave you feeling full. Add a little love into this dish and your or your loved ones cold will be gone in NO time!


2 lbs of Chicken Drumsticks (you can use a whole chicken, thighs, but I find this to be the cheapest)
Enough water to cover the chicken in a pot
2 ribs of celery
2 carrots large
1/4 of a yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
salt and pepper

In large put place drumsticks, add water just to cover.  Put pot on burner on  high heat and right before it is about to boil add halved celery, carrots and onion. Bring up to a boil and then simmer adding the garlic powder and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 1 hour.

Remove chicken and vegetables.  Remove meat off the bone and reserve.


2 lbs of chicken meat (I prefer large chunks)
1 lb of carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
5 or 6 large celery sticks cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 of yellow onion thinly sliced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste

In remaining broth add all ingredients and let simmer for 30-60 minutes. Serve with crusty bread with Cheddar cheese! Mmm...its like a warm hug in a bowl.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Zucchini Bread

  I am SUPER excited! This recipe won Host Favorite from Foodie Fridays on! Thank you!!!!!!
One day I would like to have my own vegetable garden, however living in the city makes it slightly difficult as my yard = a wooden deck  and the Topsy Turny really isn't the most attractive planter around. :)  Lucky for me my sister’s father in law has his own vegetable garden and each summer I  finagle obtaining some of his home grown veggies to incorporate into my cooking. I was able to snag a HUGE zucchini this time and with that I made this moist and delicious zucchini bread which I found on Food by Paula Deen. The spices of the nutmeg and cinnamon complement its’ soft, yet still firm texture making it the perfect counterpart to a nice up of coffee or tea. And who says you can't have your cake and eat it too? This TASTY bread has so much zucchini in it I swear it could count as a vegetable serving! :)     YUM!

 Zucchini Bread

3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar.  In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, waters, zucchini and lemon juice.  Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean.

 As featured on Foodie Fridays on and !!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sour Cucumber Salad

Have you ever had one of those days that when you look at the clock you swear it is a few hours later than what it really is? today was a loooooooong day. I am just starting to feel back to normal after our trip to DENVAH (Denver said in my Maine/Boston accent) visiting my sister and her family which consists of four kids ages raging from five-fifteen (get the picture??). We had an absolute BLAST, but after a few days of camping, playing with the kiddos and the time change we are happily exhausted.  Therefore the wife duties were at an all time low, so I deemed  tonight pizza night.  And I am not even talking about homemade pizza or take out, I mean that frozen pizza that you stick in your freezer to save for nights like these.  So feeling guilty that I put ZERO effort into this meal and that I was about to consume an additional 4,000g of FAT for the day, I wanted to make a side dish that was healthy because healthy food negates bad food (don't judge, you know you think that  too) .  Well I was tired of the usual (mixed greens, carrots, tomato, celery, blahhh) and decided to mix it up by making a cucumber salad.  This salad  is actually my brother in-laws favorite, so it was fresh on my mind as I made it for our camping trip.  This salad requires a unique taste bud, but if you like salt and vinegar chips you will love this salad...Voila!

Cucumber Salad
4 servings

One large cucumber peeled and thinly sliced
Half a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup of chopped red onion
2 tablespoons of EVOO
1/4-1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar (depends on your taste buds!)
Salt and pepper

Mix all cut vegetables in bowl, drizzle EVOO toss, then add cider vinegar, toss again. Salt and Pepper to taste. Cool in fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving so the veggies have a chance to absorb all that salty and sour flavor!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

My sister is out of control...

Dana Marshall Photography: Puppy Photo Practice: I decided with all the requests to have pets in the
Holiday photos this year, I would take the time to practice on my sisters dog Diesel....

My sister is watching my pudgy puggle while I'm in Denver visiting my other sister & family. 100 treats & 10 lbs later this is what she came up with to entertain him & to build her portfolio.   My dog is such a  little ham! ;)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Peanut Butter Yummoness!

I have a slight sweet tooth. I swear it's in my genes as everyone in my family loves sweets, so therefore I don't deny it (shrug). My favorite sandwich? Peanut butter and jelly. I could eat that bad boy ALL DAY LONG!

Wanting to step out of the box from my normal PB & J I decided to kick it up a notch and replace the jelly with banana. Then I got aggressive and added honey. Then I got REALLY brave and added a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar... all pan fried on country white bread . The sandwich below may not be for all, but for you sweet lovers, oh my gawwwwwwwwd it was delicious.

What's your favorite Peanut Butter combo?

Peanut Butter Yummoness

2 slices of Country White Bread buttered (or whatever you prefer)
1 banana thinly sliced
2 Tablespoon of Peanut Butter (oops!)
1 Tablespoon of honey
1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon Sugar (1 part of cinnamon to about 2 parts of sugar!)

On both slices of bread spared on peanut butter. Then on one side top with banana, drizzle honey and spring cinnamon sugar.  Put sandwich together and fry in pan. Let the PB and honey ooze... DELISH!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Block of Wine!!!

Oh boy my prayers have been answered, I am able to open a bottle of wine (or 3) and keep it in the fridge for 45 days without it going bad! WOO HOO! I was so excited about this I just HAD to share with you! Boys and Girls I am proud to introduce to you  ....(drumroll please)  the BLOCK OF WINE from Trader Joes. My mother inlaw introduced me to this phenomom and it's is NOT to be confused with a BOX of wine. This is a highclass, first it's a BLOCK, second it actually spouts out GOOD wine. And the best  part is, instead of uncorking a bottle and feeling like you have to drink it in the next day or two you can let it sit and rest in your fridge and enjoy it for the next 45 days! Throwing a party and want some cheap wine that doesn't taste cheap? Buy the BLOCK as it holds the same amount as 3 bottles of wine all under $10. I am telling you, you will not be disappointed! Cheers!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jean Therapy

Alright folks after going through my closet this weekend and creating a large Goodwill/ Swapification bag (more about that to come) I have narrowed down my clothes to mostly staple items. In my opinion, this is where the bulk of your shopping budget should go, on classic staples that will last you more than one or two seasons. TAnd believe it or not, fronting the money on these items will actually save you money in the long run. Once you have invested in  some of these quality pieces you can accessorize them to create the look you are wanting. Some staple pieces include, a little black dress, black pencil skirt, good trouser, button down shirt, blazer and jeans. Jeans can be tricky for some as there are so many different styles such as: flared, straight leg, slim fit, boyfriend, and the list goes on!  All of these styles can be slightly overwhelming to the average shopper, so my goal is to help you understand your body type and what style of jeans look best on your body.
 First lets go over some basics about jean shopping:

1)Never get high waisted jeans (above belly button) & especially that taper. This  1980's Mom look is NOT COOL no matter what anyone says.  And NO your bum does not look good in these, actually it looks like a  long pancake.
2) Don't by light, light blue or acid wash...unless you are in your 20's, a size zero, and making a fashion statement... just stay away.
3) Buy jeans that actually fit. Don't care about the size, every store runs different anyway. Remember: If you squeeze you're NOT aiming to please! Muffin top is NOT an attractive thing.

SO don’t fret people…jean shopping could actually be fun for once! It’s all about understanding what looks best for your body type.
First you need to evaluate your shape in the mirror…and don’t lie, trust me your not doing yourself any favors. Harsh, I know but this is a time to be honest about how you look, because once you embrace it you can dress to make your body look its best! Trust me the right jean will make you look 10lbs thinner. How great is that? SO, what shape are you?


                                                                                                Picture from:

 Now once you understand what shape you are let’s look at what style of jean works for you.  I have created this chart to help you along. There are many styles of jeans that I have not included, but this is at least a start. Once you know the basic style of jean will look good, it will help determine what looks best!

Here are some of my favorite brands: True Religion, Levis, 7 for All Man Kind, Diesel, Joe Jeans, Paper Denim, Lucky Brand, Citizens of Humanity & Paige.

(Catherine Zeta- Jones)
Large bust, broad shoulders less defined waist and narrow hips! Ahem...Eyes up here please!  
Pear:  (Jennifer Lopez)

 Itty bitty top, with a voluptuous voom!
Hour Glass: (Jessica Rabbit)
Girl you got it going on!  Broad on top, itty bitty waist and some good birthing hips!
Rectangle: (Cameron Diaz)
One straight line down with no curves. Undefined waist, narrow hips, small bust.
I am betting you never look bad in a bikini...

Plus size: (Melissa McCarthy)
Voluptuous all over.

Curves to make the boys drool!
Great wide leg or trouser pant will do with a clean front.  (This will even out your body shape line.)

Try for lighter denim as well to draw attention to your slim bottom.
 High-rise to cover your bum and lengthen your legs.

Boot cut, Flared, or straight (the narrowest you should go)

Try for dark denim as well, to highlight your petite top.

Wide leg, boot cut, skinny, straight… basically anything goes. 
 You can wear dark or light denim. Go WILD!
Straight fit jean with slight flare,Skinny jean with larger back pockets with design to create some curves,  & boot cut.  

Basically look for any embellishment around your booty or hips  that creates an illusion of curves.

You are also probably one of the few that can get away with the boyfriend jeans as well (jealous!).
Boot cut this minimizes the hips by creating an even silhouette from top to bottom

You can wear skinny jeans! Just make sure they are high waist
Dark wash denim will make you appear your slimmest.

 Help from:, Lucky Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine

 I hope this helps and that you can embrace jean shopping and not fear it, because when you look good you feel good. Happy shopping!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Yummo Style

This was a GNO 4 years ago before JT concert. Cute top, great hair/make up and good accessories.

The Problem:

I have found myself in a serious fashion rut. I have been in this rut for the past couple of years and I believe it's largely due to me working from home, being settled with my man and learning that paying off a rather large credit card bill from weekend shopping is NOT COOL. I miss being fashionable (please read in an obnoxious whiney girl voice). I live in Boston and I see all these 20's something girls wearing the latest trends, while the 30's something women are showing off their latest designer bags (because they finally can afford them) and 40 year olds looking polished and put together as ever. I am envious of these women and I finally have the strength to admit I was once a fashion vixen, but now I’m a fashion victim *sigh*. I guess admitting is half the battle, right?


The History:

Let's see a few years back I would not be caught dead leaving the comforts of my home without at least being in designer jeans, flattering top and a designer bag with matching sunglasses. Oh boy, how times have changed! Sadly my current daily wear consists of either my cut off cameo shorts (that have some paint stains on them) or black stretchy pants with a tank top that I may or may not have worn for the second day in a row. J And you know what the REALLY sad part is? I actually have different black stretchy pants for different occasions! I have casual BSP’s (black stretchy pants)  for in the house and lounging, BSP’s that make my bum look good and I strongly believe make me look hot (seriously Pam?) and the designer Lulu Lemon ones that I think just because they cost a fortune it's ok to wear them on a Saturday night to a local bar. (Oh My!)

The solution:

So I am determined to find a balance between my fashion and financial status so welcome Yummo Style. I am determined to get back into my fashionista self without racking up the credit card bill and I want to share all my findings with you! Think of this as an I help you, you help me. I help you by sharing what I find for deals and steals / styles and trends and I am forced to get my act together and become that fashionable girl I once was and gain that confidence back I once had.  I don’t care what they say… when you look good, you feel good.

I think I will start by going through my closet this weekend so I know what I am working with…eeek…to be continued…

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake! Oh My!

My husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary this past Monday. Wow does a year fly by! Let's see we traveled to Chicago, Washington DC, San Diego and soon Denver, renovated our kitchen, redid our decks, bought a CUTE.. * ahem* sorry MANLY red Jeep Wrangler and participated and finished the Boston Ruckus. PHEW! No wonder why it went fast! SO instead of buying each other fancy gifts or fly off to some fancy schmancy destination we decided to go back to the spot where we exchanged our vows and partied the night away in Kennebunkport, ME. Since the gift is paper for your first anniversary we decided to exchange letters about this past year and about what we learned/loved about our relationship. We are saving them to re read after 25+ years of marriage and I am sure we will get a good laugh! :)  Anywho... enough of the mushy stuff, we got married at St Anne's church which is a beautiful stone church along the rocky coastline of Kennebunkport. The minute we laid our eyes on the church we knew it was the right place to say our "I Do's".  Our reception was held at the Nonantum an Inn that exemplifies New England charm with a touch of class. We incorporated unique touches in our wedding such as a lemonade stand outside the church, a lobster boat that carried the wedding party to the cocktail hour and a cigar tent that served Cubans and the finest scotch. The Nonantum provided excellent service and an unbelievable scenery, but for me best part about the Nonantum was the FOOD! We had stations of Prime Rib, Roasted Chicken, Lobster Ravioli, scallops wrapped in bacon...(Drool)…just to name a few. People to this day still talk about how delicious it was. We wanted our wedding to have that rustic Maine feel, but also be elegant and refined. Each time I think back on that day I feel blessed that we had so much love and support from family and friends and that I got to promise my heart and soul to such a wonderful man.

One of the traditions that we passed on was freezing and eating the top of our cake for our one year. We actually decided not to freeze it because we heard that it wasn't worth it and a waste of money. Instead we were to order cupcakes of our lemon blueberry cake from our baker. Well this is how my life goes, the baker quit her baking job two weeks before our anniversary and took an amazing job for National Geographic writing food columns for them. BAH! Lucky for us though Mom saved the day and recreated our lemon blueberry yumminess for us. She did an AMAZING job on it...and it made me think I could have saved some money in our wedding budget! :) I asked her to provide the recipe below which she got from the Food Network website. Trust me you don't want to skip this tasty treat.

Lemon Layer Cake


  • Lemon Cake
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large whole eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Lemon Filling
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


1. To make the lemon cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust the pans with flour and tap out the excess.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together the dry ingredients with a whisk. Set aside.
3. In an electric stand mixer, using the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter on medium speed for about 30 seconds, or until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the speed to medium-high, and continue to beat until the mixture is light, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Add the whole eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in he lemon juice (the batter will appear curdled at this point smooth out after you add the dry ingredients). Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 10 seconds. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
5. Bake the cakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rakcs and cool completely.
6. To make the lemon filling, in a medium nonreactive saucepan, whisk together the yolks and sugar until combined (We made blueberry filling). Whisk in the lemon juice, butter, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the mixture turns opaque, thickens, and coats the back of the spoon. Do not let the filling boil, or it will curdle. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and allow the filling to cool.
7.Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto the surface, and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until chilled.
8. In a clean bowl of the electric mixer, using the whisk attachment or beaters, beat the heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Remove the lemon filling from the refrigerator and whisk until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the filling. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the filling until ready to assemble the cake.

10. To assemble the cake, place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Pile the lemon filling onto the center using a small offset metal spatula, and spread it into an even layer, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the cake layer. Top with the second cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the  frosting. (If some of the filling oozes out from the middle, just blend it with the frosting around the sides of the cake.) Serve the cake immediately, or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.

Mom Note: "I used all fruit blueberry jam for filling and I decorated top with blueberries, rinsed and dried off."

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream


In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tasty Taco Salad!!!

This salad is one of my Go To's in the summer's quick, easy, light and healthy.  You can mix this bad boy up any ol' way you see fit, just open up that vegetable drawer and go nuts!  I have included some my staples in the recipe below. Enjoy!

1 lb of Ground Meat (Turkey, Chicken, Beef)
1 Package of Taco seasoning
Approx 1/2 pint of Cherry Tomatoes
1Avacado Diced (Squeeze w/ lemon or lime juice to prevent browning)
1 Green Onion chopped.
(And I threw in some left over yellow pepper ( the choice is yours...))
1 cup of Cheddar Cheese
1 can of black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can of garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
Approx 2 cups of Green Leaf Lettuce, chopped
1 Small back of Cheese Doritos (broken into pieces)
2-3  Tablespoons of Fat Free or Light Thousand Island Dressing (To lightly coat salad)

In large salad bowl mix all the beans and vegetables.  In pan bring to medium high heat and brown the ground meat. Once browned, add taco seasoning on top to coat meat  (sometimes I add a tiny bit of water to spread the seasoning love) add to the vegetables in salad bowl.  Add cheese and top with enough dressing to lightly coat the salad. For an extra salty  crunch and to slightly negate all of your other healthier choices, top off salad with small bag of cheese Doritos!  YUM!

Loving Food Friends Friday! Thanks for hosting!

Blog HOP

It's BLOG HOP Friday! I am new to this...but visit these YUMMY blogs to see the rules and the play the game to gain more followers!!

ABpetite, Chelseas Culinary Indulgence, Skinny and Delicious,  and Bargain Bites!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's HOT and I'm not talking about the weather...

OK I have totally been ignoring my cooking/ blogging duties because:

1) It’s 100 Freak'n degrees outside and we don't have a grill that works so I don't feel sweating my butt off in front of the stove! Waaaaa!

B) I attempted to make ice cream and failed miserable, it made me sad. :(

THIRD) I am obsessed with 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy...disgusting I know.

But seriously, these books have just sucked me in! I don't know what it is, the writing is TERRIBLE (if I read "murmur" as a description as to how they speak one more time...) and the love scenes I could do without all the detail (ouch! And who knew?!)! And really E.L James, you expect me to believe this girl's first boyfriend EVER is insanely hot and rich? Puh-lease! BUT yet I find myself counting down the hours until I am finished work and errands only to pick up this disgusting novel and bury my nose in it for hours.

Maybe it's nostalgic, as I relive those feelings and complications of a relationship when you are first getting to know each other. The passion, the intensity, the mystery...OR maybe it’s the fact she is living an insanely rich life which I envy in a dark sinister like way, greatly...wardrobe full of designer clothes, helicopter rides, cars for presents...etc..., or maybe it's just an easy fun read that allows my mind escape from all the everyday stresses this world beholds on us and live in a fantasy of love, sex and desperation. Regardless of what it is it has me hooked and I can't get enough of my 50 Shades...  

Saturday, July 14, 2012


My husband grew up on Bailey Island, ME where his parents still reside. We both adore going up to this little lobstermen island with it's rocky coast and ocean views. The island is only 3 miles long and 1 mile wide with only a General Store for immediate supplies. It is quite remote and the the minute you cross the Cribstone bridge and breathe in the salty air all of your stresses from city living seem to disappear.

During our visit my Mother and Father in law fed us lobster rolls and oysters (spoiled!). Due to shedding season, the lobster was amazingly sweet.  This succulent lobster only required a dollop of mayonnaise and some juice of a lemon. I piled the lobster meat high in my lightly buttered and toasted bun for the most hearty and delicious lunch I have had in awhile.

Lobster Roll Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter, softened
4 hot dog buns or kaiser rolls, split
4 lettuce leaves
1 1/2 pounds cooked and cubed lobster
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 Green onions, Choppe
1 Stalk celery finely chopped
Salt and Pepper

Lightly butter the insides of the buns or rolls and line with lettuce leaves. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, lime juice, salt and pepper until well blended. Mix in the green onion and celery, then lightly mix in the lobster so it just gets coated without falling apart.
Stuff the lobster filling into the buns and enjoy!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

This dish is scrumdilliYUM! I had to control myself not to eat the whole pan (I admit I have issues). I wasn't planning on BLOGGING on it, but it was so YummO I just had to! It was easy to whip up and delicious!

Ingredients (serves 4)

1lb of bow tie pasta

1 10oz bag of frozen peas

1/4 cup onion chopped

1 Portobello mushroom sliced/chopped

2 cups of cream (OR I used skim milk)

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 lb. of cooked and diced chicken breast

2 Tablespoons of Garlic Herb Goat Cheese (OR 1 cup of Asiago or any cheese you desire)

1 Chicken bouillon cube crushed

1/4 Tsp. of Garlic powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil and salt water, cook pasta (10-12 minutes) keep 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain, set aside

Meanwhile, in a sauté pan cook up diced chicken (tip: dice it up first, cooks faster!). In another sauté pan on med-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter and cook up onion, peas and mushroom, add garlic powder and cook until onion is transparent. Remove into separate dish, set aside. In same sauté pan add the other tablespoon of butter. Pour in 2 cups of cream (or milk), bring heat up to a simmer and whisk together. Add crushed chicken bouillon cube while whisking. Slowly add cheese as well to create creamy sauce. (To thicken up add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1/2 tablespoon of water). Once all whisked together, dump vegetables, pasta and chicken into sauce and let them party together for a few minutes so pasta absorbs some of that white sauce. Add some pasta liquid if needed.

There you go! Enjoy! This dish was so tasty for lunch the next day cold! :)

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Grilled Shrimp & Mango Salad

Boy oh boy!  I got a healthy and tasty meal for you! I have come to the realization that cooking healthy food means adding a lot of flavor so your taste buds become satisfied.  Healthy food doesn't have to be bland as long as you have the right ingredients to please your pallet. Here is a quick meal  that is perfect to whip up after a long day at work.  What's the best part about this meal, besides the delicious flavors? Start to finish it will be cooked up and in your mouth in 20 minutes or less.  Cheers!

Ingredients (serves approx 4)

1 lb Shrimp (cleaned)
1/2 Teaspoon of EVOO (to lightly coat shrimp)
1 Teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning (to cover shrimp)
1/2 lime (juice)
1 ripe Mango cut up
1- 1 1/2 cup of Green leaf Lettuce
1/2 cup of Arugula
1/4 cup Cilantro
1/4 diced red onion

Fire up the grill to Medium-High heat. In plastic zip lock, drizzle EVOO over shrimp to lightly coat then pour in Old Bay Seasoning. Zip bag and shake to cover shrimp in seasoning.

Place shrimp on grill and cook for only 1-2 minutes on each side (depending on size of shrimp) so they turn light pink. Be careful to not overcook. (Tip..put shrimp on a skewer for easy grilling!) Take off grill to rest and hit them up with juice from 1/2 of a lime.

Meanwhile,  plate up your greens and top with mango, red onion and to finish it off use your favorite citrus or balsamic dressing (yes, I was too lazy to make my own...don't judge).  I recommend a dressing my sister introduced me to, Old Cape Cod Sweet and Sour Poppy Seed Light dressing it is sweet and gives a nice balance to the peppery taste of Arugula.

 Tip: Mango's can be tricky to slice and dice. I score it and then cut. Make sure you use a sharp knife!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summertime Orzo

It's hot here in Boston. It's so hot that you walk outside and you feel as if your are suffocating. It's so hot you step out of the shower and start sweating again. It's so hot that everyone around you has a special "I've been outside" smell. You get the picture? We have every AC on possible (up here in New England not every house is blessed with central AC) and my dog just sprawls out on the floor in front of the fan looking at me as if this is my fault! It's just gross and the last thing you want on this type of day is a heavy meal. So normally I would grill  some corn on the cob and chicken, but we currently have no deck or grill as our decks are being reconstructed. Great timing. So inspired by another dish I saw, I opted for a light lemony dish that is perfect as a side dish for a BBQ or as a meal in itself just by adding some protein. I used my new obsession,sun dried tomato chicken sausage, but my guess is that it would be great with shredded chicken as well.


1 lb of Orzo
15oz box of frozen spinach (hawed and drained)
1 large lemon (zest and juice)
3 Garlic cloves chopped
1 cup of Parmesan Cheese
2 Green onions chopped
1 lb of sun dried tomato chicken sausage (casings removed)

Boil salted water and cook Orzo. Drain, but reserve some pasta water in small dish.

In skillet heat EVOO and saute garlic, add ground sausage, cook through. Add pasta into skillet, green onion, spinach, Parmesan cheese, Lemon zest and juice. Use some of the remaining pasta water to help mix ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chicken Pad Thai ...well sort of...???

Mmm...there is nothing better than Chicken Pad Thai...especially next day left overs. I don't know what it is...but the taste of the cool rice noodles on your lips and the slightly sweet sauce on your tongue...YUM! Drooling yet? Well I was when I saw a post about a Chicken Pad Thai dish that was family friendly (check it out at I LOVE this blog and the recipes so I thought I would recreate this dish at home.  I quickly realized I was NOT prepared for this meal. First, the recipe called for rice noodles...RICE NOODLES? Who has RICE NOODLES in their pantry??? Well I don' I used whole wheat spaghetti instead (clearly they are the same...HA)! Next item that was NOT in my pantry, hoisin sauce...nope didn't have that either! At this point I was thinking to myself "I need to diversify my shopping list a little to keep up with these fancy bloggers", but this meal said FAMILY FRIENDLY!! What Mom is going to have these items randomly in their pantry?!?!? Last was bean sprouts...OK that was my final fail, no bean sprouts. Determined, not discouraged, I was going to make this here we go!  I hope you enjoy it, it's not Pad Thai,but it satisfied my craving by incorporating some of the same flavors and ingredients AND I didn't have to make a trip to the grocery store.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any leftovers, my husband and I devoured the whole dish! Oops!


4 Tablespoons of soy sauce (go healthy and use low sodium)
2 Tablespoons of Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil (OK to be fair not to many people will have this either hanging out in their pantry, I get it.)
4 Tablespoons of Sugar
4 Cloves of minced Garlic
2 Tablespoons of Red wine Vinegar
pinch of Red pepper flakes
1/2 box of spaghetti
3 tablespoons of canola oil
1lb of boneless skinless chicken breast or tenderloins, cut into bite sized pieces
2 Large eggs
1 cup of sliced yellow onion
3/4 cup julienned carrot
3/4 cup julienned yellow pepper (whatever you have)
cilantro (oops didn't have this either, so I used 1/8 tsp of grated ginger root!), peanuts, lime wedges and green onion for garnish

Get your water boiling for the spaghetti and cook those noodles up and drain!

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, garlic, sugar, red wine vinegar and red pepper flakes.  Microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute or until sugar dissolves, set aside.

In a large wok or skillet heat oil over medium heat. Cook chicken and onions together until browned. Move to one side of the pan. Crack eggs into small bowl and beat with a fork. Pour into the empty side of the pan and scramble like crazy! Toss in carrots, pepper, cooked noodles and sauce until coated. You may need to add 1/4-1/2 cup of water to thin the sauce. Once warmed and mixed together serve with cilantro, lime wedges, peanuts and chopped green onion! DELISH!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

This morning I woke up sore, really sore. Brett and I managed to finish the Boston Ruckus, a four mile military style obstacle course, unscathed.  It was quite the experience and I was happy we could participate in it  with our pals, the Scanlons.  After all that hard work and after seconds of careful calculation I estimated we burned approximately 5 million calories during the festivities.  So in my mind that equates to us being able to eat whatever we want for the rest of the weekend without feeling guilty. HA! With that enjoy this chocolate chip banana muffin recipe, I know we did!!  


2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

whisk together and add 1/3 cup of chocolate chips

3 mashed bananas (i keep my older bananas in the freezer for recipes like these)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, fold so mixed together (be careful to not stir too much as it will make muffins stiff).

Use ice cream scoop for even muffins and scoop into muffin pan. Bake for 14-16 minutes at 375 degrees.


Whisk dry and wet to get out any lumps and whisk the wet to cream together.

Fold the wet into the dry
Use an ice cream scoop for even muffins!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Fancy Nancy

This past weekend I went on a road trip to Kennebunkport, ME with my friend Nancy for a much needed girls weekend. The rainy cool days finally let up and the weather was perfect for laying on the  beach and fine wine and dining. I knew we had a long day of lounging and drinking ahead of us so to prepare us for this stressful day I whipped up what I like to call the "Fancy Nancy" wrap.  I knew the wrap was a hit when after her first bite she looked at me eyes wide open and exclaimed  "Wow! This is so good! I am loving the crunch and the punch in this wrap!" There was much laughter and memories on this trip and most importantly a delicious sandwich was born.

Makes 2 sandwiches

2 whole wheat wraps
1/2 of a Granny Smith apple thinly sliced
Approximately 4-6oz of Brie cheese
4 oz of Spinach leaves (eye ball it)
1/4 lb of deli sliced oven  roasted turkey
1/4 of thinly sliced red onion
Optional 1 ripe avocado thinly sliced.

Cover the wrap in Brie cheese and layer the remaining ingredients, roll up and enjoy! I served fruit skewers for dessert a great way to serve your kids fruit (or two grown adults) on a hot summer day! Just watch out for the pointy end!