brown butter brussels sprouts with crispy shiitake mushrooms

Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Shiitake Mushrooms

I grew up a full-fledged carnivore, and, as a kid, I successfully avoided most vegetables. It helped that my parents weren’t the sort who made me sit at the dining room table until I finished everything on my plate. If they were, chances are that I’d still be sitting there! Haha!   One vegetable I especially disliked was Brussels sprouts.  The only time I tried them they were mushy, bitter and had a weird smell. Yuck!!

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orange hazelnut pull apart bread

I’ve been feeling pretty lousy since Thursday with flu-like symptoms. Yesterday was to be my first day back to work after the holiday break, but I kept coughing so I did my co-workers a favor by staying home. (Sidebar: I wish more people would stay home when sick so as not to infect everyone else.)  As I laid in bed, coughing and generally feeling miserable, I read entries from my blogroll.  Lo and behold, I came upon Joanne’s post on her blog, Fifteen Spatulas, featuring the Cinnamon Pullapart Bread.  After seeing the photo and reading the recipe, a miracle happened!  Suddenly, I found the energy and strength to get out of bed and check the pantry for the ingredients I needed to make this bread. Luckily my pantry is pretty well-stocked.  Although it felt like I was moving in slow motion, I managed to bake this beautiful and absolutely delicious bread.   Continue reading

quick and easy nutella orange brownie bites


I need basic recipes like this 4 Ingredients Nutella Brownies in my repertoire.  This treat is perfect for those times when pretty good is good enough and I don’t have the inclination to spend a lot of time prepping, baking, and cleaning up. (Sometimes it’s nice not to haul out the Kitchenaid mixer!)  I just want to get in and get out of the kitchen, but also satisfy an unexpected guest or persistent craving for something sweet. Cookbook author, Abby Dodge, has written many more of these quick and easy recipes in her book, Desserts 4 Today: Flavorful Desserts with Just 4 Ingredients.  The concept of this book is pure genius because the recipes are simple, versatile, and inspires creativity.  In each recipe, Dodge includes numerous suggestions for substitutes when you don’t have an ingredient or don’t care for it and for ways to “gussy it up” to make it fancier. Since one of my favorite flavor combinations is hazelnuts and orange, I followed this recipe, but added 2 more ingredients – Cointreau and orange zest. From start to finish, it took about 20 minutes before I had this flavorful dessert with just 4 6 ingredients.  The hardest part of this recipe is waiting 10 minutes for the brownie bites to bake. Continue reading