Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and MeatballsThe culinary snoop in me wonders if this well-known classic Italian dish originated in Italy or the USA. Turns out it’s all American! Italians from 1890 to 1920 emigrated to America by the millions. These impoverished immigrants (some on the brink of starvation) went from spending 75 percent of their income on food in Italy to only 25 percent of their income on food in America. With more money came more food. Continue Reading →

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Barley and Bacon Risotto

barley and bacon risottoStir. Stir. Stir.

This is my cheats version of risotto and does not require frequent visits to the stove top.  A typical risotto recipe involves going back to the pot to stir in each ladleful of stock when the last one has been absorbed.  Although it doesn’t take long to cook (roughly 30 minutes), you do have to keep a watchful eye on it.  I adore a good risotto and it’s one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.  I, like other semi-decent cooks, can multitask my way around a kitchen but when the lazy side of me takes over, I look for ways to cut corners.  Continue Reading →

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Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti

cranberry & pistachio biscottiBiscotti (twice-baked), is an Italian cookie that is formed into a log shape, baked, sliced and then toasted to a crisp texture.  This has to be one of the easiest desserts to make.  Cranberry and pistachio are a perfect duo for this biscotti recipe by balancing the sweetness of the dough with a bit of sour from the cranberries and salt from the pistachio.  Traditionally biscotti was made with hazelnut and aniseed and recipes date back as far as the 13th century. Continue Reading →

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Raspberry and Cranberry Mousse

Raspberry Cranberry MousseColor can have an amazing impact on the food you serve. If it’s visually appealing, it’s easier to eat. The key driver for eating is of course hunger, but what we choose to eat is not determined solely by nutritional needs.  Our senses are heightened when foods can be seen, smelled and displayed in a pleasing or unpleasing manor (appearance).  We eat with our eyes…vision is right up there with smell which brings me to this dessert.  I am totally drawn to this gorgeous pink mousse and the contrasting dark chocolate cups.  I know it will taste good without ever trying it.  Continue Reading →

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DIY Rosemary Salt

rosemary saltI love gearing up for the Christmas holidays as it’s one of my favorite times of the year.  People seem a bit kinder, smile more and the feeling of mutual respect resonates more during this time of the year than any other.  Not to sound the alarm bells, but there are only 46 days before Christmas!  Thinking of that perfect holiday gift can be tricky especially as one gets older.  We have so many ‘things’ that tend to never see the light of day – who needs to add to that?  I enjoy being able to make hostess gifts for those who love to cook as much as I do.  DIY rosemary salt is so easy to make and you can customize it to suit it to the taste of your friend or family member.  Homemade gifts come straight from the heart and they don’t need to break the bank nor be arduous. Continue Reading →

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Butternut Squash Soup

 

Butternut Squash SoupI affectionately call my husband the fridge police and he doesn’t mind.  He’ll come into the kitchen, usually when I’m getting dinner started, and go through the contents of the fridge. “What about this?” he’ll say, or “do you think this is going off?” and “how long has this been here?”  All of which require me to stop what I’m doing and investigate his findings.  Sometimes I’m ok with it and other times…  It’s not that I mind, it’s the timing and sometimes the questions interrupt my train of thought or I lose the spot where I am in a recipe.  Continue Reading →

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Spinach Rice

spinach riceA simple and easy way to serve rice and get your vitamins too! We’re all familiar with the cartoon character, Popeye the sailor man, who was always eating spinach to make him strong.  While you would have to eat vast amounts of spinach for the daily recommended amount of iron (only 3.5 milligrams of iron in a 100g serving of spinach), spinach does help to protect against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis and is also important for maintaining bone health.  Continue Reading →

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Crab Pasta with Lemon

budget friendly crab pastaPasta is one of my go-to dishes when I am either pressed for time or not in the mood to cook. There are oodles of dried pasta varieties available, including a good selection of gluten-free, making it a versatile staple most cooks have in their cupboards.  I had a package of cooked imitation crab meat which kept staring me in the face each time I opened the freezer drawer.  I kept thinking I’ll make something with it…someday.  Crab pasta is a cinch to make and you can whip it up in the time it takes to cook the pasta.  Continue Reading →

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Picnic Bread

Picnic BreadI absolutely love the way the kitchen smells when bread is baking in the oven.  It transports me back to a time when I was a young girl.  My siblings and I would take turns delivering mail to our grandparents who lived down the road from us.  My paternal grandmother was always baking something, especially fresh bread…my grandfather disliked the grocery store version.  Making bread isn’t a priority for me so I make it very seldom, but, when I do, we devour it like a pack of hungry wolves.  Continue Reading →

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Parmesan Crisps

Parmesan Crisps with ThymeEntertaining can seem like a daunting task whether it’s your first time or 100th!  The key to any successful party is in the planning.  When I plan a dinner party its roots are usually based on a country we have been to and have enjoyed the food.  From there I start thinking about what I’d like to serve, where some of the food will be consumed and what libations will accompany the food.  I make a list…it’s the crucial part of making an evening end well.   Continue Reading →

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