pumpkin rice pudding

Pumpkin Rice Pudding | daisysworld.net

I have been a big fan of rice pudding since I discovered it at Rice to Riches, in New York City. Sweet and creamy,  it is one of my ultimate comfort foods. I love its versatility since it may be eaten warm, right out of the pan, or cold, after chilling in the fridge for an hour or so. Rice pudding makes a wonderful dessert, afternoon snack, or as a delicious alternate to oatmeal in the mornings. It is also easy to customize with a variety of spices and other flavorings. (For inspiration, check out the Rice to Riches website as they offer over 30 flavors!) Rice pudding is cooked in one of three ways: on the stove, in the oven, or in a crockpot. I prefer to cook mine on the stovetop because it is ready in about 30 minutes and has a softer and creamier consistency. Continue reading

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apple and pear crisps

Apple and Pear Crisps

This  time of year is fraught with temptation, from the leftover Halloween candy to turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, to toffee and fudge, Christmas tree-shaped sugar cookies, and Santa Hat Brownies. I don’t plan on cutting out all of these sweets completely, but, this year it is my goal to practice more restraint, maintain some sort of fitness routine, and indulge in healthier treats. Continue reading

polenta with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and pesto

Polenta with Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

I love when my garden dictates what I am going to cook. This past week, both the red cherry and yellow pear tomato plants were loaded with fruit, and when that happens simultaneously, we just can’t eat them fast enough. To extend their shelf life, I slow roasted them with a little garlic and some fresh herbs from the garden. At the same time, the basil plant was lush and green, with enough fragrant leaves to make a batch of pesto sauce. Continue reading

peach pie smoothie and a giveaway

Peach Pie Smoothie

I like milk. I like its creamy, buttery taste and, to me, it’s best ice cold with a chocolate chip cookie or two. On the other hand, I’ve never liked soy milk. Years ago, I tried it and I didn’t care for its watery flavor and chalky texture. Recently, however, I was convinced by some fellow bloggers to try it again and surprisingly, I found that it actually tasted good and not gritty. While it doesn’t compare to the flavor and texture of milk, I have had a change of heart. I still prefer to drink regular milk, but I have started to use soy milk, specifically in smoothies. My first attempt at making a soy milk smoothie, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Smoothie, was such a success that I am using soy milk again for this one. Continue reading

lime-cilantro pasta salad

Lime-Cilantro Pasta Salad

As a regular reader, you’ve probably noticed that I am particularly fond of sugar and butter, which, unfortunately, is not good for me nor my waistline. That’s why I am excited to find recipes as healthy and tasty as this pasta salad.  With luscious mangoes, creamy avocados, sweet tomatoes and bell peppers, I’ve found a great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet.

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strawberry-rhubarb sorbet

Strawberry-Rhubarb Sorbet

At the farmers market, blood oranges, lemons, and other citrus are starting to give way to spring’s fruits and vegetables.  This week, rows of beautiful ripe strawberries, with their deep, ruby-red color and sweet fragrance, caught my eye. It’s a perfect time to showcase them in this simple, refreshing sorbet.

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endive stuffed with goat cheese, blood orange, and walnuts

Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Blood Orange, and Walnuts

I was first introduced to this light and refreshing appetizer about ten years ago (thanks, Auntie R), and I have been making it ever since. The stuffed endives look elegant, and they are a breeze to make. They’re perfect to serve at dinner parties since all the components may be prepped ahead of time and then quickly assembled right before guests arrive.

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chocolate almond toffee bars

Chocolate Covered Almond Toffee Bark

It seems that I inherited my sweet tooth from my Dad. Like me, he favors quick breads, cookies, and candies, and, like me, he also loves chocolate. When I saw this recipe for Chocolate Almond Toffee Bars, I knew it was the perfect treat to make for him.  I got my opportunity last weekend when we had a family gathering. I made sure there would be some extra pieces for my Dad to take home. What I didn’t expect was that he would have some competition for the leftovers…from my nephew, who proclaimed that all the leftover bars were his. I had to be the peacemaker and divide up the remaining pieces equally. It appears that a sweet tooth runs in my family. Note to self: Make a double batch for Christmas morning so Dad and little nephew could have as much as they want.

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spaghetti squash with sausage, tomatoes, and sage

I’ve always been curious about spaghetti squash and until this past weekend, I had never cooked with it. A variety of winter squash, it is oblong-shaped with a hard, pale yellow rind and stringy, orange-colored flesh that resembles translucent strands of pasta when cooked. Its texture is slightly crunchy, somewhat akin to al dente pasta. Its season starts in early fall and goes throughout winter. Spaghetti squash is low in calories and is a good source of fiber as well as nutrients like beta carotene, folic acid, Vitamin A, and potassium. It makes a low carb and tasty alternative to pasta or potatoes. Continue reading

eggs in clouds, italian-style

Italian-style Eggs in Clouds

I love serving Sunday brunch at home; it is so relaxing, especially with an easy-to-make dish like this.  Since I already had parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pancetta in my refrigerator and a basil plant growing in my kitchen, it was an easy decision to make this an Italian-style breakfast.   Continue reading

creamy herbed polenta with mushroom ragout

We tend to associate comfort food with winter but this creamy bowl of polenta is also good on a summer evening.  Simple and comforting, it is like sunshine in a bowl.  It is luscious without being heavy and satisfying without being overly rich.  Well-made polenta, with plenty of butter and parmesan cheese, is delicious by itself.  Topped with an earthy mushroom ragout, it’s even better. I served this polenta alongside Grilled Lamb Chops marinated in olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and a green salad with a simple meyer lemon and olive oil vinaigrette.  The whole combination was hearty, yet still fitting for supper on a warm summer evening. Continue reading

flourless peanut butter and jelly thumbprint cookies

I have a confession to make. I have never eaten what is perhaps American’s favorite flavor combination – peanut butter and jelly. While I love peanut butter, and I like all sorts of jams and jellies, I have never understood the cult-like obsession America has with this pair. In fact, the combination was utterly unappealing to me, and the more my friends tried to get me to eat it, the more I pursed my lips shut, folded my arms tightly and stomped my feet in defiance. Continue reading

tuscan mashed potatoes


I was inspired to cook mashed potatoes using olive oil instead of butter after I tasted the rich and creamy Olive Oil Smashed Potatoes at Birreria, the rooftop beer garden at Eataly in New York City. These Tuscan mashed potatoes have a great flavor from the olive oil, roasted garlic, and rosemary. Obviously, using a good quality extra virgin olive oil is the key to this recipe. Omitting the cream will result in a healthier dish, that is both vegan and gluten-free, with a more distinct olive oil flavor.

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football food: cowboy caviar


Chips and dip make great football food.  They are easy to prepare and serve, easy to eat with one hand (so you don’t have to put your beer down), and best of all, they are very tasty.  I had never heard of Cowboy Caviar until my sister-in-law, Liz, shared this recipe with me.  According to Saveur Magazine, legendary Texas cook Helen Corbitt invented this black-eyed pea salad in the 1940s. Cowboy Caviar is  tasty alternative to the standard salsa or guacamole with its blend of black-eyed peas, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro. It is best made a day ahead to let all the flavors of the dressing and salad meld together.  I think all your guests will love this vegan and gluten-free dip. Continue reading