A few months before Caitlin was born, Dave and I spent a weekend in Staunton, VA. We arrived on a cold Friday night and when we woke up on Saturday morning, it was a wintery wonderland. By noon, there was over a foot of fresh snow on the ground, and the temperature was about 9°Fahrenheit.
And there we were, staying in a B&B (which meant there was no food after 10am), me in my third trimester…and I had forgotten to bring boots with me. After a very ridiculous attempt to drive to the main drag of Historic Staunton (a drive which, thankfully, did not end with us trapped in a snowbank), we concluded that we would have to hoof it and hope that some brave souls had opened their restaurants despite the treacherous weather.
Lo and behold! We found a gelato shop, The Split Banana. Who eats ice cream when it’s so cold and icy and windy that their eyelashes are practically stuck together? Us. That’s who.
It was during this frozen weekend that I discovered the best ice cream ever: it was unbelievably creamy, and smooth, and bittersweet, and chocolatey, and vegan, and perfect. According to the poor guy working the counter scooping ice cream, their chocolate sorbet was made entirely from unsweetened chocolate and sugar! I can do that!
Although it was kind of silly to be eating ice cream when we had practically turned into ice-pops ourselves, it was so worth every delicious spoonful. (Plus, I’m pretty sure we shivered off the calories.)
There is just something special about these chocolate chip cookies.
They are dense and moist and a little tangy…they remind me quite a bit of Mrs. Fields cookies, rich and chocolatey and immensely soft, even after days.
And here’s the fun secret: they are made with cream cheese!
I am just going to warn you right now that the baking monster has been on a bit of a crazy rampage lately. And I am going to unabashedly point my finger right at Sarah of Well Dined. It’s totally her fault.
Several weeks ago, she confessed that she was afraid of baking cookies from scratch…and something inside my brain popped. Instead of cooking (somewhat) healthy lunches together each week, we started baking decadent desserts like it was no big deal.
But, friends…it was a big deal. I can’t stop baking.
So just get ready for an onslaught of brownie and cookie recipes, because it’s happening.
Starting here. With the very brownies that broke my willpower to not eat desserts. (Let’s be honest, that willpower wasn’t back to full strength after its pregnancy vacation, so it didn’t really stand a chance.) These brownies are thick and cakey and sweet and salty and all the things that are good about peanut butter and chocolate together. Make them. Who needs willpower?
This is just the kind of quick meal I love to throw together when I’ve been having a busy day and I want to get dinner on the table without a lot of fuss.
A tostada is kind of like a taco salad that you pick up and eat with your hands. It can be gloriously messy, but let’s just call that an eating experience, okay? I love the spiced shrimp with a kick of lime. I love the mountain of veggies and cheese piled on top.
Bring a napkin and a fork, and dig in.
Have you ever made your own taco seasoning?
It’s kind of glorious.
Yes, it’s true: I have a penchant for making things from scratch that I could easily have bought in the store…but in this case, I really do think it’s worth it. Not only will you avoid totally unnecessary ingredients, like gums and gluten, but you if you make your own taco seasoning, you can customize the flavors and spice level!
Plus, your friends will be impressed. And isn’t it a beautiful thing when someone compliments your cooking (and you can brag that you even made the taco seasoning yourself)?
This pizza crust is made out of flour and time and magic.
Every time I make it, a phrase from 1 Corinthians comes to my mind: “A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough” (1 Cor. 5:6). Whenever I hear that phrase ringing in my head, I feel tempted to tell you that this pizza crust is heavenly…but in fact, yeast represents sin in the Bible, so instead perhaps I should say this crust is so good, it’s almost sinful.
(Please don’t misunderstand me; I’m not making light of sin! Throughout the Old and New Testaments, yeast is used as a visual representation of how every sin, no matter how small we think it is, touches every part of our souls, just the way a small amount of yeast creates an airy and chewy bread. We need the grace of our loving God!)
Jim Lahey, creator of this amazing crust recipe, is no angel, because I seriously can’t stop making pizza now that I have this crust recipe in my arsenal.
If you have ever fretted about making pizza at home, ever resisted making your own crust or turned out with a flat, boring disc underneath your favorite pizza toppings, I implore you to try this recipe! It’s easier than easy and tastes phenomenal.
Trust me. You’ll thank me later.
I laughed out loud when I saw the name of my Secret Recipe Club blog for July: Why I Am Not Skinny. That’s a question I ask myself an awful lot, usually after a bowl of homemade ice cream or a third slice of pizza.
I was seriously tempted to make Maxine’s crepes…lately I have been all too eager to make breakfast, and dinner has sort of turned into a black hole into which I throw takeout and yes, more breakfast foods (and I wonder why all this baby weight is stubbornly sticking around….).
For some reason, both my kids have started losing their cool at exactly 5:00pm. Dinner is hard.
Which is why quiche for dinner is perfect! First of all…it is kind of like breakfast (but healthier and more filling than a plate full of carby sugar)! Second of all, you can prep quiche several hours before baking it, which makes the witching hour much less dreadful.