garlic knots

Buttery Garlic Knots

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garlic knots

Butter…garlic…salt…bread.

If I was on a deserted island and had to eat one meal repeatedly it would be this: good bread and good butter.

How could I EVER get tired of good bread and good butter? It’s heaven to my simple palate.

So anyway, this recipe is one way to jazz up “ye olde” bread and butter. Drown these luscious garlic knots in butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese for the ultimate “deserted island” meal.

Or you could just eat them anytime. Follow me. Continue reading

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Easy Baguettes

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Baguette

Fresh, homemade bread. There’s nothing like it. As one local plumber put it, “It’s a heckuva lot better than that ‘boughten’ bread.”

I giggle when I think of “boughten” bread. And I agree!

Now don’t think I’m crazy. Of course I still buy bread at the grocery store. I haven’t figured out a good sandwich bread yet, and I don’t have the patience for sourdough.

But when I have time and am in need of a little bread therapy, I grab my copy of “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois and crank out some Easy Baguettes.

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Double Chocolate Muffins

Double Chocolate Muffins

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Double Chocolate Muffins

I needed chocolate for breakfast. Yes, NEEDED.

And, petrified that I would soon run out of my chocolate breakfast stash, I cranked out a double-batch of these Double Chocolate Muffins. (Kindergarteners and husbands also seem to enjoy chocolate for breakfast – who knew?)

Yeah, so it’s basically chocolate cake for breakfast. It’s not packed with kale or wheat germ or any other healthy magic.

But it tastes good. And I’ve kinda figured out that’s why I eat. Because food just tastes SO DARN GOOD. (Aren’t you glad we need to eat to survive?)

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sesame chicken salad 2
pumpkin oatmeal bread (2)

Pumpkin Oatmeal Bread

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pumpkin oatmeal bread cut loaf EDIT

I’m about to say something wild. And crazy. Hold on tight, here.

Pumpkin is not just for quick bread.

That’s right. You can make a yeast bread with pumpkin, too! I’m sure you’re all gripping the edges of your seats right now.

Okay, so this may not be a huge revolution to anyone. But when I found this recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Bread in the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book, I was pretty excited. I’ve never made (or heard of) a yeast bread that used pumpkin. So I definitely needed to give it a whirl.

Let’s get started!

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stuffed avocado and chicken tortillas plate

Stuffed Avocado and Chicken Tortillas

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stuffed chicken and avocado tortillas

Yep, I’m on a cilantro and lime kick lately. Hey, better than a Spam and peanut butter kick, right?

So the newest passengers on the cilantro-lime train are these Stuffed Avocado and Chicken Tortillas. They’re hot and cheesy and limey and oh so satisfying. This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie’s America” book, and it’s a pretty one.

It’s also my go-to “take-a-meal-to-the-family-with-a-newborn” dish. As long as Mom and Dad can stumble to the oven and crank it up to 400 degrees, they’re halfway to a tasty and comforting meal!

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fish tacos

Crispy Panko Fish Tacos

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fish tacos

Okay, confession. I HATED the idea of fish tacos for a long while. Fish? And tacos? Like, TOGETHER??? No thank you.

And then in my 20s, I went to Hawaii. And had fish tacos for the first time (from a kinda-sketchy-kinda-cool food truck/van thing).

And yum.

They were grilled fish tacos, which I liked. But this midwestern gal loves her foods fried, so I gave this recipe from Guy Fieri a whirl. Good idea. I like adding a little crunch to the softer textures of the salsa and sour cream dressing. It’s a good thing.

Eat ’em up. Nom nom nom!
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chicken tacos with salsa verde

Chicken Tacos with Salsa Verde

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chicken tacos with salsa verde

Salsa Verde: There’s just something special about it.

It’s tangy, spicy, creamy and limey. It has a depth of flavor that I can’t beat with any ol’ red salsa. And this recipe, based on J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s fabulous Chicken Green Chile Tacos, is my favorite salsa verde. (My husband even said, “Best salsa verde I’ve ever had.” Oh yeah.) 

So what do you do after you whip up this delish salsa verde? You add in some shredded chicken thighs, and let this happy mixture bubble along on the stove. Spoon into your favorite tortillas with cilantro, avocado, cotija cheese and a generous squeeze of lime, and you’ll have some drooling diners at your table.

Let’s get this party started. This Chicken Tacos with Salsa Verde party.

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IMG_6924 (2)

Pumpkin Cheesecake

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pumpkin cheesecake cover photo 4

 

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE. It ticks all the important boxes:

√ It’s easy.
√ It’s impressive.
√ It’s pumpkin-y.

Count me in. I took this to a fall get-together last weekend. When I opened the cake holder to reveal this glorious dessert, I was asked, “Now what is that?” When I responded, “Pumpkin Cheesecake,” I received a coveted response:

“Oooooooooh.”

And that makes my heart happy. I don’t know why, but it sure does. Nothing better than cooking for people who love what you make.

“You MADE that?”

Then the sudden shyness takes over and I just nod and smile.

Because I am (typically) not one to gloat and brag. (I am the wallflower, the introvert, who wants to quietly please your taste buds.) And although this pumpkin cheesecake looks like something masterful, something skillful, something hard… it’s totally not.

Read on.

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Lemon Fusilli

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lemon fusilli cover photo 4Cooking for a family is a balancing act.

You must please the adults.

You must please the kids.

This can be a monumental task. Everyone has flavors and textures they prefer.

Enter Lemon Fusilli. This flavor-bomb from Ina from Ina Garten is just one of those dishes. Yes, you will sample it repeatedly during preparation. Yes, your husband will give the official sound of approval: “Mmm.” (Double eye squint.) “Mmm, that’s good.” Yes, you will notice that after 15 seconds, your 5-year-old daughter’s pasta helping has disappeared. (Check the floor, because that’s where half of Cora’s food accidentally ends up. But it won’t be there.)

I love love love this dish. It simply makes good, sensible use of flavors and textures.

And it looks so darn pretty, too! Continue reading

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