Vodka Penne Bake with Spinach and Broccoli

As you all know by now, I really like recipes that are easily adaptable to fit your individual likes/dislikes, and this pasta bake is no exception. You can sub out the type of sauce, noodle, cheese, or veggies easily and get a totally new taste. For this one I stuck with pretty basic ingredients since I was making it for book club and couldn’t remember if anyone had particular vegetables that they liked or didn’t like. The one major change I made was using gluten-free pasta. If I were making this for myself, I would likely switch out the broccoli for some mushrooms and sub half of the mozzarella cheese with feta cheese, and use marina instead of vodka sauce. Or, keep the broccoli, add mushrooms, and add gorgonzola. Or, asparagus and goat cheese. Really, the list could go on. Let’s at least start somewhere though, okay?

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Cream Cheese Ice Cream with Red Velvet Cake Swirl

This ice cream is GOOD. And, the base can be used for so many flavors. You can add any type of cake (carrot cake, regular chocolate cake, brown butter, etc.), or go with the classic graham cracker swirl, with or without fruit. For this one I wanted to add red velvet cake because it is purty. I use the word swirl loosely, since it’s sounds nicer than “Cream Cheese Ice Cream with a ton of Red Velvet Cake dumped in.” Anyway, the other great thing about this recipe, other than the versatility, is that the base does not have to chill the whole night. So, if you’re like me and always have your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer at all times, you can easily decide to make AND eat this ice cream in the same day. Continue reading

Brunch Time!

I’m not sure I could love brunch more than I do. I’m not sure if it’s because I went to school in DC, and then stayed in DC, where there is a prominent brunch culture. I think it the end it just speaks to my food soul. It’s the best of both worlds. You don’t have to chose between breakfast or lunch food, or sweet or savory, and it’s completely appropriate to drink mid-day. I could easily write a dissertation on brunch and why it is so amazing, but I will spare you. I’m sure I don’t have to convince you of the wonders of brunch, so I’ll just move on to the post. Continue reading

Pesto Bread with Shrimp, Olive Tapanade and Smoked Mozzarella

It took me a while to figure out what to name this post. I almost went with “Shrimp Bread, etc.” but thought that wouldn’t go over as well. This bread is one of my favorite things to make for dinner for a myriad of reasons, including, but not limited to:
1. It tastes amazing.
2. It’s versatile. I can change ingredients based on what’s in my fridge.
3. You can typically find most things in your fridge, although see point #2.
4. It freezes really well.
5. If you make extra of the pesto or olive tapanade, they can be carried over (or the pesto frozen) for other meals.
5. My husband is allergic to shrimp which means I can load it on and not have to share. He can eat meat and I don’t, so don’t feel too bad for him. I also make him a veg option, below. Continue reading

Cat Cookies!

The holidays and birthdays have finally settled down, and I’m ready to get back on the blogging track. This first post back isn’t a recipe, but more to share my experience with royal icing cookies. If you don’t know what those are, they are the cookies that look really pretty in the store but don’t always taste good. I started reading more and more about them to see if I could make some that were cute and tasted good, or at least not like bricks. I also had a cat cookie cutter begging to be used:

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Broth Fondue and Spring Rolls

When I think of all the kitchen appliances/items/gadgets I’ve accumulated over the years, which is quite a lot, one of my consistent favorites has to be my fondue pot. I actually have two, which of course is absolutely necessary. One for cheese/chocolate that is heated by flame, and another that’s electric, which I use for broth fondue. Making broth fondue is one of my favorite meals because it is a) oh so easy to make, b) easy to clean, c) generally healthy, d) has endless flavor possibilities, and e) fun for a dinner party. Continue reading

Holiday Dinner

Happy post-holidays to everyone! It was quite a whirlwind, and I’m ready to get back into a routine. However, I first wanted to post the recipes that I made for Christmas Eve dinner. In my family we typically have a smorgasbord of food in a variety of dips, crackers, shrimp, you name it. I wanted to do something similar but with only a handful of dishes since we were traveling immediately after.

Here’s a list of the recipes, along with the changes/additions I made to them, if any: Continue reading

Grandma W.’s Date Nut Bread

Here is the other recipe as promised, this time from my fraternal grandma. This bread definitely doesn’t have to be made only around the holidays, but it is one of those breads that you can make, wrap, and give as gifts. This recipe makes two loaves of bread, so you can have one for yourself and give the other as a gift. You could also separate it and make it into four mini loaves, or, like my grandma used to do, bake in washed out tin cans, which make really cute gifts.

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Pies for the Holidays

I made these pies just for fun but they scream “holiday pie!” Or, you know, you could make one (or both) just for fun and to eat during the week. A little sliver of pie can go a long way in cheering someone up, that’s for sure.

I decided to make two pies so my husband and I could each take one into work, and I really wanted to try out my pie stencil cut outs. I can’t remember when I bought them, but they’ve floated around my kitchen for at least a couple years and it was about time to use them. You’ll see what I mean later. Continue reading