Posts in United States of America
Bakery Fresh Italian Sprinkle Cookies

When the holidays come around, we all start thinking about cookies!  Cookie swaps, trays, and even parties all centered around holiday themed cookies.  I love making the cookies of my youth, cookies I have been eating and making since I was little with my mother.  One of our favorite customs was to recreate our favorite Italian American bakery classics at home.

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Make This Year’s Mid Week Valentines Day Extra Sweet

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday.  So, having a romantic night out might not be in the cards. However, there is nothing stopping you from giving your love(s) a mid week treat that shows them how much you care.

If you have ever been out to eat on February 14th, there is a very good chance chocolate lava cake was on the menu.  Many times, the server will even point it out when you order your meal because if you want it, the kitchen needs to be told in advance.  So, of course, you commit before you have even sipped your cocktail to that delicious little cake that oozes molten chocolate out all over the dish.

While it might seem like magic, it’s really just an undercooked brownie and it only has five ingredients! So, if you are staying in this year, and might even be serving a ho hum dinner as it’s a weekday and the kids have activities and homework, you can still dazzle everyone with this spectacular little dessert. 

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'Suped-Up' Super Bowl Sunday

The super bowl is approaching and if your house is anything like mine, it’s the one day a year your husband and his friends take over the living room, get loud and have a good time watching America’s favorite sport.

I’m not a fan of football.  Sad to say, I’m still not very clear on the rules and haven’t invested much time trying to figure it out.  What I do enjoy though, is any excuse to throw together a fun party with really good food.

Now yes, you can throw some chips in a bowl and call it a day but seriously, where is the fun in that?  Instead, this year, get creative so that even if you’re aren’t interested in the game, you will still be having a good time…eating.

I can’t tell you who is playing in the game but what I can guarantee is that if you make a few of these delicious recipes, all of your guest will be well fed and happy regardless of who scores the winning touchdown.

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Cut It Out! Making Holiday Cookies A Real Treat

Holidays are really about memories we create with our family.  Not the hustle, bustle and whether or not you were able to score a Hatchimal before they sold out.  One way my family takes a breather from the craziness is to make holiday cookies together.  The kids LOVE making sugar cookie cut outs.  We have old cookie cutters, passed down from my mom that we used when I was a child.  I make a buffet of bowls filled with sprinkles, frosting, little candies and really anything that will stick to cookies and let them have at it.

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Don’t Be Chicken On Turkey Day! Tips For a Stress-Free (and Delicious) Thanksgiving...

Holidays are rough.  So much to do, so little time and most of the time, the brunt of the cooking will inevitably fall on one person.  However, if you create a solid game plan and are wiling to begin a few days early, the day of will turn out great and most importantly, enjoyable for you.

I love that Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday.  That means, I have a crazy week but then three days after to recover physically and … mentally.  My Thanksgiving dinner begins the weekend before, yes, Saturday before Thanksgiving is when I get it all down on paper.  My holidays and big dinners all begin with food magazines for inspiration, Google and a trusty notebook with the last ten years of my menus. 

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Sunday Supper: Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs

This recipe is one of my favorite inventions.  It shows that your oven is a magical place and sometimes, minimal effort can still produce maximum results.  I’m a huge fan of ribs and never liked the fact that once summer ended, so did my enjoyment of a good plate of ribs.  I stumbled upon a rib recipe that gave an oven variation.  I tried it and it was ok, but not great.   I still missed the grill.

A few years later, I found another recipe that was pretty complicated but touted one simple practice that I thought was genius.  So, I grabbed that, made a few tweaks and came up with a killer recipe that produces the juiciest, fall of the bone ribs you will ever make!

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Steaming Up Some Alaskan King Crab Legs!

I received another incredible shipment from Wild Alaska Seafood...this time it was filled with delicious crab legs.  King Crab Legs are fun to eat -- the meat is unmatched in tenderness, sweetness and delicate flavor.  It’s so easy to cook and fun to crack open and enjoy.  Because they are so delicious, just a few ingredients are needed to cook them up and savor.

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Super Mom Sunday: Why Your Slow Cooker Should Be Your New BFF

I always poo poo’ed the use of a slow cooker.  It seemed so 1950s, creating a hot pile of mush to be eaten hours after prep time.  It was an obligatory item on the wedding registry that me, a fancy pants chef, would just leave in the basement with the gift receipt still attached.  However, recently, with my Facebook feed being bombarded with two minute videos of slow cooker recipes that actually looked edible I figured it might be worth a try.

What I discovered is that, with my trusty ol' slow cooker, I don’t have to stress that the minute we walk in the door I’m throwing food in a pan while answering homework questions, finding Peppa Pig on the DVR and stumbling over opened backpacks. In fact, after a little morning elbow grease, dinner is DONE! And, I can walk in, set the table and we can all eat like a (semi) civilized family. 

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Time to Think Outside the (Lunch) Box

Although it seems like summer vacation began yesterday, with a blink of an eye, our children have been loaded back on the bus and are beginning the new school year.  With that, comes after school activities, various appointments and of course, homework.  Every day seems like a race to the finish and early in the morning, without fail, we face a dreaded challenge…school lunch.

Kids eat with their eyes first. So, if they open up a lunch box that looks good, they are much more likely to dig in. From a Bento box that keeps one food from touching the other to a thermos that keeps last night's dinner warm - you really have to think outside of the (lunch) box to keep kids healthy, happy (and fed) .


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I Left My Heart In San Francisco: Trattoria Contadina’s Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Trattoria Contadina is what every Italian restaurant should aspire to be.  Family owned for thirty years, passed down to the grandchildren and a dedication to maintaining a high quality dining experience with locally sourced ingredients.

On my eat feast in SF, I had to check out this delicious spot. The pastas are fresh and delicious and the Veal Saltimbocca melted in my mouth.  However, the true stand out for me, was a special that night, the Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms.  Zucchini flowers stuffed with a delicious ricotta filling and then lightly battered and fried.  They were crunchy on the outside and cheesy on the inside. 

Luckily, my mother grows zucchini in her garden and supplies me with a steady supply of blossoms.   So, as soon as I got home, I got to work on recreating this simple but delicious dish.

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Sweet Tooth Friday: Lonely Chicago Pie

One of my favorite movies is The Waitress, starring Kerri Russell.  It’s a film about a young girl in an abusive marriage, who waitresses at a diner. She is so depressed, but is able to shine creatively with her pie making.  She hates her husband and her life -- creating pies keeps her sane.  With each conflict that occurs, she makes a pie in its honor. 

I relate to the character in the way she uses her imagination to create delicious food.  She lies in bed compiling ingredients in her head for her next pie.  I also do this when creating recipes -- working through a dish in my mind before I step into the kitchen to make it.  I picture ratios, ingredient combinations and method over and over until I get it right.  Once I feel happy with my idea, I begin to create.  I believe my best dishes are the ones I cook, in my head, prior to practice.

Towards the end of the film, she makes ‘Lonely Chicago Pie.’  In this scene, she stands by the stove melting dark chocolate, mashing berries and sprinkling cinnamon sugar. Not only did I love the way this dish was portrayed; it gave me a serious hankering for pie.  So, like the character, I found myself working this recipe through my head for the next few days.  How much chocolate?  I needed it to be dark chocolate, because it’s a “lonely pie.”  I added some booze to the berries to represent her sadness and of course, I wanted to add sugar, like she does, to the base, because no matter dark a day may seem, maybe there is a little hope and sweetness somewhere beneath.



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Social Saturday: Bonnie's Muffaletta

While I was in SF on my eating marathon, I received an email from Bonnie Penders, the wonderful mother of my friend Katie.  I was in SF and the Penders’ clan was in Galveston, TX enjoying some family fun in the sun.  Bonnie emailed me for some help.  She had eaten a delicious sandwich and wants to recreate it at home, so she called upon me to figure it out.  Based on what Katie told me about her mother, she is an A+ nonna.  She loves to cook and teach her EIGHT grandchildren about good food.  She is a master gardener that donates herbs from her garden to a local homeless shelter.  Bonnie knows the benefit of a fresh meal and shares with those less fortunate.  Martha Stewart could learn a thing or two from Mrs. Penders!

Therefore, this email made me all sorts of happy.  It was exciting to be called upon to figure out a delicious recipe for a friend.  If you have a cold; call the doctor.  If you eat a great sandwich, call me!  Your food advisor, Heirloom Kitchen, to the rescue! Needless to say, I was quite honored to be given this task.

Coming up with this recipe was so much fun.  I did a little digging, a lot of research and came up with what I think is the perfect replicate of Maceo Spice & Import Co’s famous Muffaletta sandwich. 

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