Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

   So good,and so many possibilities!Add peanuts,peanut butter cups,peamut butter chips,m&m's..the list is endless!

1 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter,softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. chocolate chips
1-1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
6 oz. semi sweet chocolate
   In a double boiler,melt the semi sweet chocolate.
   In the bowl of your mixer,blend together the peanut butter,butter and brown sugar.Add the egg,then the vanilla.Beat well.
   Blend the melted chocolate into the butter mixture.Slowly add the baking soda,flour ,and chocolate chips.This would be the time to add any other additionas as well,using about 1/2 c. of whatever you choose from the list above.Do not overmix.
   Roll the dough into balls,about 2 tbsp. each.Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 18-20 minutes.Pour a glass of milk,and have yourself a party!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guacamole Salad Cups

   I made these today,and just had to share.This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe,that is so easy,healthy and delicious!If you like avocado,you must try this!

1 pint of grape tomatoes(I used cherry)
1 pepper(any color)
1 15oz. can of black beans,drained & rinsed
1/2 c. red onion,diced
2 tbsp. jalapeno pepper(I didn't use,still great!)
1/2 tsp. lime zest
1/4 c. fresh squeezed lime juice(2 limes)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. frshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic,minced
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2-3 ripe Haas avocados,cubed
    In a bowl,place the tomatoes,peppers,black beans,onion and lime zest.In another bowl,whisk together the lime juice,olive oil,garlic,cayenne pepper,salt & pepper.Pour over the bean mixture and mix well.Right before serving,gently mix in the avocados.Serve at room temperature.I served mine in the avocado shells!

*** To cube an avocado,remove the pit with the sharp edge of your knife.Then score the avocado,and scoop out the flesh with a spoon,as shown.

Tasting Parties

  With the spring holiday season approaching,here is a great idea for entertaining.Pier One Imports now has an entire line devoted to Tasting Parties! This is a great way for everyone to get a little taste of everything you make.A perfect idea for small gatherings.Here are some of their featured items;

Some of the items are sold individually,and others in sets.Definitely a fun idea for a party!Find them at

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Carrot Cupcakes

   Here is sweet,traditional springtime treat!I am not a huge raisin fan,so no raisins in this one.Feel free to add a few if you like them! This is a great way to get carrots into your children!!!!

Cupcake Ingredients:
3 c. grated carrots
1 c. toasted,chopped walnuts
2 c. sugar
1 c. canola oil(or vegetable)
4 eggs
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
2-1/4 c. self-rising flour(like Swan's Down)
   In the bowl of your mixer,blend together the sugar & oil.Add the eggs and blend well.Add the baking soda,cinnamon and flour.Mix just until combined.Gently mix in the carrots and walnuts.
  Line 2 cupcake tins with liners.Fill the liners 3/4 of the way and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.Remove from the oven and let cool.Once cooled,frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
2- 8oz. pkgs. of cream cheese(softened)
1/2 c. unsalted butter,softened
1- 16oz. box of confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
   Blend together the butter & cream cheese.Add the sugar and vanilla.Beat well until creamy & fluffy.Try to spread it on the cupcakes and not eat it all with just a spoon!!

Books We Are Reading in our House This Month..

So many fun spring books out right now!Take your child to the book store or the library and enjoy some together time!Happy Reading!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lemon Sugar Cookies

   This is a sugar cookie with a twist of lemon.It has a slight citrus flavor and rolls out beautifully for cutout cookies.It is from The Foster's Market Cookbook,which is filled with great recipes.I have made sheep,since we are getting ready for Easter,and have decorated them with a simple powdered sugar icing.If desired,you may sprinkle your cookies with colored sugar before baking.
1 stick unsalted butter,softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. milk
grated zest & juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

   In the bowl of your mixer,cream together the butter & sugar.Add the egg.Add the milk,lemon juice,lemon zest,and vanilla.Mix well.
   In a separate bowl,mix together the flour,baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture,and blend just until combined.Remove from the bowl,form into a round disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 5 days.
   When ready to bake,remove from the refrigerator and roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.Dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.Cut out with desired shape of cookie cutters.Bake on baking sheets lined with parchment at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.Remove and let cool.Decorate as desired.

Powdered Sugar Icing:
2 c. confectioner's sugar
1-2 tbsp. milk(add slowly,you may add more if needed)
  Mix together and spread carefully onto your cookies.Decorate with sprinkles,chocolate chips,and candies if desired.Have fun!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sour Cream Pound Cake

   Simple,yet delicious,a pound cake is always a crowd pleaser.Serve this plain,with ice-cream,or with fresh berries and whipped cream.Tastes great lightly grilled or toasted too!Moist & delicious,this is old-fashioned baking at its best!

1/2 c. butter(1 stick),softened
1/2 c. sour cream,room temperature
3 eggs,room temperature
1 c. sugar
1-1/2c. flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
    In the bowl of your mixer,blend the butter and sugar for approximately 5 minutes,until light and fluffy.Add the vanilla,then the eggs. In another bowl,mix together the flour ,baking soda,and baking powder.Slowly add half of the flour mixture,all of the sour cream,then the rest of the flour mixture.Mix only until combined.
   Grease and lightly flour a loaf pan.Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 325 degrees for about one hour(possibly more) until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.Remove from the oven and let cool.If desired,dust with powdered sugar.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lemon Bars

     Nothing brightens up a dessert table like a lemon treat!This is a basic recipe,and not difficult at all.The results are wonderful!

1/3 c. unsalted butter,softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. flour
  In the bowl of your mixer,blend together the butter & sugar.Add the flour.The mixture should resemble course sand.Pour the mixture into a 8x8 baking pan.Pat the dough down into the pan with your hands,reaching all of the edges.Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

2 eggs
2 tbsp. flour
3/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. lemon zest(about 2 lemons)
1/4 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
   In the bowl of your mixer,blend together the eggs,flour,sugar,salt,lemon juice and baking powder.Mix together for about 3-4 minutes.Add the lemon zest.Pour the mixture over the crust and spread out so that the entire crust is covered.Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.The edges should be golden,and the center should not jiggle.Cool.Cut into squares,and dust with powdered sugar.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Martha Stewart Event in NYC

If you are in NYC this weekend,stop in at 93 Greenwich St. and visit Martha Stewart's Pop-Up Pie Shop.They will be offering pies and tarts from her new book.Check it out and have fun,If anyone goes,let me know about it!

Chocolate Dessert Waffles

     This is a great dessert to serve after a spring breakfast or brunch.The sauce I use on top is the Ina Garten recipe I have used before.It is delicious!

1/4 c. melted butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
  In the bowl of your mixer,using the whisk attachment,mix together the eggs,butter and vanilla.Add the buttermilk and sugar.Mix well.Add all of the remaining ingredients.Mix until combined.
   Spray your waffle iron with cooking spray,and pour a cup of batter in each well.Close the lid,and bake until ready(according to your waffle iron).It should take approximately 5 minutes.
  Remove from the waffle iron and serve with ice-cream,chocolate sauce ,whipped cream and powdered sugar.

Chocolate Sauce:
12 oz.semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. cream
2 tbsp. good honey
2 tbsp. prepared coffee
  In a double boiler,heat the chips and cream until the chips melt.Add the honey and the coffee.Use as desired.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New From Family Fun Magazine!

If your kids like crafts,here is a fun book that you will find useful.Lots of fun ideas for spring!Also available, are some new craft kits.Perfect for those rainy,spring days.All available at .


New Martha Book!

Martha Stewart has a new cookbook out!I haven't bought my copy yet,but I will,and I will be sure to fill you in on some great recipes!Available at or .Happy Baking!

Best Ever Crumb Cake

   I am super-excited about today's post.This recipe was given to me by my friend June years ago.It was a cake that her mother made for her.I used to make it all of the time,then I lost the recipe!!I was so happy when she shared it with  me again!This is truly one of my favorite crumb cakes of all time,and it tastes like the delicious crumb cakes made in the great NY bakeries.It is extra-special to me because it was a favorite of my late father.I would make it every Easter for him,with extra crumbs.So here it is ,a great cake for your Easter table,made with extra love and crumbs for my dad.

Crumb Ingredients:
1 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter,softened
Mix all of the ingredients together.Set aside.
***Double the crumb recipe if you like a lot of crumbs.That is what I do!

Cake Ingredients:
1/2 c. unsalted butter,softened
1 bar of cream cheese,softened(8 oz)
1-1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. milk
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder

   In the bowl of your mixer,cream together the butter and cream cheese.Add the sugar,eggs and vanilla.Mix until combined.Add in the milk.In another bowl,mix together the flour,salt,baking soda and baking powder.Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture..Blend together well,but do not overmix!
  Grease a 13 x 9 square baking pan.Pour the batter into the pan.Spread an even layer of the crumb mixture over the cake,then form some of the crumb mixture into larger crumbs and place around the cake.You will see that the crumb mixture can easily be formed into any size crumb with your hands.
  Place the cake into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so that the crumb topping hardens.Then bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.Let cool.Once cooled,sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tropical Banana Bites

   The burst of flavor when you bite into these is sure to please.Creamy banana,rich chocolate,along with macadamia nuts and cinnamon come together to make a luscious dessert.I have used phyllo dough in this recipe,and formed it into triangles,but after running through the recipe,I think it is easier for most home cooks to use puff pastry.Unless you have worked with phyllo before,and you have a high tolerance for frustration, puff pastry is the way to go.

1 package of puff pastry,thawed in the refigerator and cold
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
2 bananas,sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 c. finely chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. chocolate chips
1/4 c. coconut,toasted
2 tsp. sugar

Puff Pastry Method:
   Mix together the cinnamon,sugar and nutmeg.In another bowl,mix together the chocolate chips,nuts and coconut. Unfold the puff pastry and cut into 9 squares.Place 3-4 pieces of sliced banana in the center of each square.Sprinkle a  small amount of the cinnamon mixture on the bananas,then sprinkle about 1-2 tbsp. of the coconut mixture.Pull up the sides of the squares and form the dough into a round form.Place on a baking sheet,seam side down,brush with butter and bake at 400 degrees until golden and puffed,about 10-12 minutes.These can also be made into triangles ,just place the filling closer to one side of the pastry square,then brush a little butter around the edges and fold over to form a triangle.Push down on the edges to seal.
***To toast coconut,spread it out on a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes,or until golden.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Glazed Pork Chops & Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Well,unfortunately,it is getting cold once again in New York,(it may even snow!) so how about a delicious,stick to your ribs,comforting dinner?The pork chop recipe is courtesy of Martha Stewart,and it calls for bone-in chops,but I used boneless and it worked well. The potato recipe is from yours truly.This is not a recipe for those who want to count calories!

Pork Chops Ingredients:
4 bone in pork chops(about 9 oz.)
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
   In a small bowl,combine the sugar and mustard. Season the pork chops with salt & pepper,then place in a baking dish.Broil until the chops begin to brown,about 6-8 minutes.Spread the sugar/mustard glaze on top of the pork chops.Broil until the glaze is brown and the chops are cooked through,about 1-3 minutes more.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes:
5 pounds of red potatoes,scrubbed and peeled
1 stick of butter
1/2 cream(or milk)
1/2 c. sour cream(more if you like)
3-4 cloves of garlic,peeled
salt & pepper to taste
   In a stockpot,place the potatoes and garlic,and enough cold water to cover them.Add about 2 tbsp. of salt to the water.Bring to a boil,then lower to simmer,and cook until the potatoes are for tender.Drain the potatoes & garlic,then return to the pot with the cream,butter,and sour cream.Add salt & pepper and mash to desired consistency.Serve with the pork chops along with any other desired side dish.
***You may leave the skins on the potatoes for added nutrition and texture.
***You may also use a few more garlic cloves if you like.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Black & White Cookies

   If you live in New York,you are familiar with this favorite cookie.The most delicious black & white cookies are found in some of the best NY bakeries.Unfortunately,sometimes,stores sell them too,and they are not the real deal.This recipe is the real thing!I think you will enjoy it!

6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. buttermilk
1-1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. light corn syrup
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. cocoa
   In the bowl of your mixer,blend together the butter and sugar,for two minutes.Add the egg and 1/2 tsp. of the vanilla.
   In a bowl,mix together the flour,salt and baking soda.Slowly add this mixture to the butter mixture,alternating with the buttermilk.
   Using approximately one tbsp. of batter,roll the batter into a ball,and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.They should be golden.
   To make the icing,Whisk together the powdered sugar,corn syrup,lemon juice and 1/4 tsp. vanilla.and 1 tbsp. water.Add a bit more water if needed for spreading consistency.Place half of this mixture in another bowl and add the cocoa to it.Whisk until combined.Again,thin with water if necessary.
     Spread half of each cookie with vanilla icing,and the other half with chocolate icing.Feel free to make all chocolate or all vanilla cookies.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Banana Bread

   This bread makes a great addition to and Sunday brunch.Moist and flavorful,it is sure to be enjoyed by all.Feel free to add chocolate chips if you would like to make it sweeter!

2 eggs
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. milk
3 very ripe bananas mashed
2-1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg(I use freshly grated)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. walnuts,toasted and chopped
   Mix the flour,cinnamon,nutmeg,salt,baking soda & baking powder together in a bowl.In the bowl of your mixer,blend the sugars and the eggs together for 2 minutes.Add the oil,vanilla,milk and bananas.Mix just until combined.Stir in the walnuts.
     Butter a loaf pan,and pour the batter into the pan.Bake at 350 degrees for approximately one hour.Test by inserting a toothpick or cake tester into the cake to ensure it is done.Let cool before slicing.
***If not using right away,do not slice.Wrap tightly and slice before serving.
***To toast the walnuts,spread them out on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.Let cool ,then chop.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Spring Items from Williams Sonoma

I would live in Williams-Sonoma if they would let me.I love that store.I just wanted to show you a few of their new items. Above are some adorable items fo your spring table.
    Below are some new additions to their spice line.What I love is the fact that they are so unique.Roasted garlic powder and ground vanilla bean!Imagine adding the vanilla to your coffee grinds before you brew your morning coffee!

    These cakes are adorable,but pricey.I just had to show them to you because they are so much fun!Definitely gives me some inspiration!These items and so many more new spring items can be found at 

Perfect Breakfast Smoothie

This will get your morning off to a great start!I like to freeze my berries so the smoothie is extra-cold!

1 c. plain or vanilla yogurt
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
1 c. strawberries
1/2 c. raspberries
1 banana,sliced

Place all of the ingredients together in a blender,and blend until smooth.