Welcome to my blog! My name is Stephanie and I was born, raised, and still live just outside of Boston. I’m the mother of two children and I own a very small antique business. I love and appreciate all things old, whether antiques or architecture, and love to give items new life by repurposing.
I love food, too much, and I get immense joy from how my food can make others happy. One of the best compliments I have ever received was my daughter telling me that my cooking has ruined everything else for her. I’ll take that!
I’m much more of a baker than I am a cook. Not that I don’t like cooking, I just wish I didn’t have to do it every day. I’d much rather cook when I feel like it. But, since I don’t have a personal chef and my family is picky about eating every day, here I am. Part of the motivation behind this blog is not only to give me someone to talk to during the day other than my dogs, but to be able to share some of the recipes I’ve tried and really enjoy.
I also love to take pictures of every day things that just make me smile. So this blog is just going to be about “my slice of life” and I hope you’ll enjoy some of it!
I usually just make pancakes for my children, but today I happened to see gingerbread pancakes listed on a brunch menu at a local restaurant and thought that was something I needed to make. I did share with my daughter though, and she loved them as much as I did. If you love gingerbread cake, muffins, or cookies, you will love these. One of my absolute favorite pancake recipes is my Pumpkin Pancakes, and this was very similar with its consistency and wonderful spice cake taste. So good!
They are very easy to make and you don’t even need any extra butter on top. We preferred to eat them with confectioners sugar instead of maple syrup, but you can do either. Here’s how to make them:
2 cups flour
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup molasses
3 tbsp butter, melted
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice in a large mixing bowl. I suggest sifting the ingredients together because the spices and sugar tend to get clumpy. You can see how there are large lumps in my sifter. Press the lumps with a spoon or the back of a measuring cup to get them small enough to go through the sifter, this will allow all the ingredients to blend better and prevent a large clump of a spice.
In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the milk, molasses, butter, and eggs.
Whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture until well combined and most of the lumps are gone.
Cook just like regular pancakes in a frying pan heated to medium heat. Spray the pan first to prevent sticking. Cook until bubbles start to form in the batter and then flip the pancake. These took a little longer to cook than regular pancakes, and I did have to flip them a few times to ensure they were cooked through.
Serve with a little sprinkled confectioners sugar. Delicious!
I was craving this salad that I usually order at a local restaurant and instead of getting take out, I decided to make it myself. This salad is packed full of healthy ingredients that work so well together. They serve this salad with a lemon tahini dressing and since I have been unable to find any in stores, I decided to make the dressing myself as well. It came out delicious and despite my children’s grumbling when they saw what we were having for dinner, they actually enjoyed it.
I looked up recipes for the dressing on-line and ended up combining a few different recipes to make the one I used. I must say while I doubted it would be as good as the one I loved from the restaurant, it was. Isn’t that the best feeling? Go me!
On a side note, I just learned that it is brussels sprouts and not brussel sprouts. Did you know this or am I the only one? Anyway, let’s make this healthy delicious salad.
This dressing is a perfect accompaniment for so many different kinds of salads. I had loved this type of dressing offered at a local restaurant, but was unable to find it at any stores so I made one myself. I was prepared to think it wasn’t as good, but I actually love it and I think you will too! The maple syrup gives it just the right sweetness needed.
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
In a small mixing bowl whisk together all of the ingredients except for the water. Using very cold water, add a little at a time until dressing reaches your desired consistency.
I have been looking for a muffin recipe that was not only healthy, but delicious, and this is it. I mean really good! I will be honest, I was not expecting these to be as good as they are, especially because I had to tweak the recipe somewhat. This recipe makes a moist spice cake type muffin and you don’t have to feel guilty about eating one, or two 😄
The original recipe called for apple sauce and grated apple. I didn’t have any apple sauce, so I only used the apple. I used Cortland apples and when grated, if you would call it that, the consistency was very close to apple sauce. I’m not sure this is what was originally intended, but it worked out perfectly.
Here is how I made them:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp, maple syrup
1 1/2 cups grated apple
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup oat flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin tin with liners.
Whisk together the flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
Grate the carrot, zucchini, and apple, and set aside on paper towel lined plates. Do not squeeze out the liquid, just place them on the plates to absorb the excess liquid. This is an important step.
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer combine the sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil until syrupy. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the apple and mix well.
With a spatula or spoon stir in the carrots, zucchini, coconut, and raisins until combined. Don’t over mix.
Scoop the batter into the muffin tin filling each to the top.
Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack.
When I first found this recipe it was called a one bowl recipe, which of course I loved. However, after reading the recipe I decided to make it a two bowl recipe. One bowl is ideal, but two bowl isn’t all that bad right? The cookie dough consistency resembles brownie batter which of course is why they are called brownie cookies.
I used to make another brownie cookie recipe for years, I’ll have to dig that out at some point and compare the two. Or maybe not since these turned out so good! If you are looking for a non-chocolate M&M cookie recipe you can also find one in my blog.
So let’s make some cookies!
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup M&Ms
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a large mixing bowl melt the butter in the microwave and let cool for a few minutes. Add the sugar and brown sugar, mix well.
In a separate mixing bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. As you know I always encourage sifting flour mixtures but especially when using cocoa powder. That is why I changed this one bowl recipe to two bowls. Cocoa doesn’t incorporate well unless it is sifted. It’s worth the extra bowl.
Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and combine well. It is a very thick dough. Fold in the M&Ms and chocolate chips.
Refrigerate the dough for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets with cooking spray.
You can either roll the dough into balls with your hands, or use a cookie scoop like I used. If using a cookie scoop use your fingers to pack the dough into the scoop.
You can add a few extra M&Ms on the top of the cookies if you want.
If the dough gets too warm you can put it back in the refrigerator between batches.
Bake for 10 minutes, and let cool on the cookies sheets for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
If you are in Boston and want good Italian food, you head to the North End. If you are in the North End and want good pizza, you head to Regina. Which is exactly what my daughter and I did yesterday and it was so good! We lucked out because we were able to walk right in and get a table which is pretty much unheard of. There is usually quite a line stretched out along the sidewalk and the reason we don’t go more often than we do.
The North End is filled with restaurants and if you were to walk into any one of them lining Hanover or Salem Streets I’m sure you would not be disappointed. However, tucked away by itself on Thatcher Street is where you really need to go if you want great pizza.
Regina Pizzeria is one of the oldest pizza restaurants in Boston, if not the oldest? They have been serving up these delicious pies in this location since 1926. It is no frills and in no way fancy, and very possible it hasn’t been updated since 1926. For me, that is another reason I always head to the original location even though their newer locations are easier to get to. Depending on which table you sit in and what time of year it is, you may need to be careful not to lean on the hissing radiator abutting your table.
They only make and serve pizza and they do it right. No salads, nothing except pizza.
I hardly ever eat the crust on pizza, but I eat every bite of the crust of Regina pizza. It has to be one of the best crusts I have ever had.
The next time you are in Boston craving pizza, head to the best. Actually, maybe you shouldn’t so I won’t have to wait too long to get a table 😜
For years I have been chocolate dipping Oreos around the holidays, but they never looked professional. I would use tongs and dip them in the melted chocolate and remove the excess chocolate by tapping the tongs on the edge of the bowl. They looked nice, and of course tasted delicious, but never looked like the ones I had seen in stores and I always just chalked it up to the fact that I wasn’t a professional candy maker.
Well, one day not too long ago I had an “ah ha” moment and realized there must be a mold to make these professional looking Oreos, and sure enough there was. I purchased an inexpensive set of silicone molds on-line and they are one of the best purchases I have made. I’m not sure if you are like me, but I get very excited about things like this. A simple silicone mold and a little patience can get your Oreos to look like you are a professional, or pretty close to it.
They make perfect gifts, and anyone that receives them will surely be impressed. There are so many different colors and flavors of melting wafers available that you can be as creative as you want. I made batches for Halloween,
and even for birthdays.
I even got a little creative this Christmas and made little snow scenes on the Oreos.
Here’s how to get these Oreos looking so pretty:
I put the molds on a cookie sheet even though I did not photograph it that way, it makes it easier to move the molds.
Once you have melted your chocolate, put about a tablespoon full in each mold. Tap the cookie sheet repeatedly on your counter or table to spread the chocolate and to get rid of some of the air bubbles.
I was doing this one day while my husband was in the next room on a business call and his client asked if he was in a gold mine, it can get quite loud.
Top the melted chocolate with the Oreos, and fill with additional melted chocolate. Once again tap the cookie sheet so the air bubbles come up and the mold fills completely with the chocolate.
This will often cause the Oreos to pop up a little. I use a toothpick to push them back down, then a few more counter taps with the cookie sheet and they should look great.
Let them cool in the refrigerator before removing from the molds.
Once cool you can drizzle melted chocolate on them to decorate. Beautiful and delicious!
The smell of a homemade apple pie not only fills your home with a wonderful aroma, but it fills your soul with warmth. It makes any house feel like home, and brings back memories of childhood. There’s an old saying about baking an apple pie right before an open house as it will make the house feel like home to new buyers. While this is a pie I typically only bake in the Fall, I decided apple pie was the perfect way to ring in the New Year.
The thing I like best about apple pie is that you can pretty much justify it as a serving of fruit, right? 😜
The recipe I have always used comes out of my Betty Crocker cookbook, as do so many of my tried and true recipes. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Two-crust pie crust
1/3 – 2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Dash of salt
2 tbsp. butter
8 medium Cortland or Macintosh apples
Prepare a two crust pie crust. You can find the recipe I use here:
Line your pie plate with half of the rolled out dough.
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. The apples I used were quite large so I used 2/3 cup sugar. If you have smaller apples you may want to use the smaller amount of sugar.
Peel and core the apples. Slice into thin pieces and add to the mixing bowl. Combine well.
Spoon the apple mixture into the pie plate. Please don’t judge me for my horrible crimped edges, I’m not sure what was going on, but I just couldn’t make them pretty this time. Hopefully I made up for it with the pretty top crust.
Dot the top of the apples with the butter.
Now it is time to top the pie with the remaining half of rolled out crust. I chose to get a little creative by cutting out shapes of apples. You can do something like this or top the pie with the solid rolled out crust. If you use the solid crust make sure to seal the edges, and add a few slits in the top. You could also cut long strips of dough and weave them on top to make a lattice top. No matter how you top it, it will be delicious!
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until crust is brown and the juices are bubbling up through the top. You may want to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. If you do this, remove the foil during the last 15 minutes of baking.
My entire crust was browning quickly so I topped the whole pie with foil for part of the baking time.
You can eat it cold, warm, with ice cream, or plain, and it will still be yummy! Enjoy!
Prepare two-crust pie crust. Line a pie plate with half of the rolled out dough.
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Peel, core, and slice apples. Add to mixing bowl and combine well.
Spoon apple mixture into prepared pie crust. Dot with butter.
Top with remaining crust. If using a solid crust top, seal edges and add slits to top.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until crust is brown and juices are bubbling up through the top. You may want to cover edges with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. If so, remove for the last 15 minutes of baking.
Recently I was at a restaurant and they offered a PB & J cocktail on their menu, and I gave it a try. I think their drink had red wine and maybe some actual jelly in it, and it was delicious. The amazing part to this drink was the peanut butter whiskey. Yup, whiskey. I am not a whiskey drinker, but this whiskey is like no other whiskey I have cringed taking a sip of before. It is so smooth and tastes like you are drinking melted peanut butter. To me it tastes more like a liqueur, and I believe the alcohol content is less than a typical whiskey. Kudos to Skrewball Whiskey for coming up with such a delicious and unique product!
I didn’t really want to figure out how to combine the ingredients used in the restaurant so I decided to give Chambord a try, which I already had in my house. If you aren’t familiar with Chambord, it is a raspberry flavored liqueur.
I used a 2 to 1 ratio and poured 1 oz of Chambord over ice and topped it with 2 ounces of the whiskey. It was perfect, and like no other drink I have ever tried. And the lyrics “peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time”, was on repeat in my head the entire time I was making it.
If you like peanut butter and jelly, this cocktail is a must try. Trust me.
I can’t wait to play around with this whiskey and some chocolate liqueur!
If you aren’t familiar with a cocoa bomb, they are a hollow chocolate shell filled with marshmallows and hot cocoa mix. These bombs of chocolate yumminess make a fun gift for anyone. All you have to do is put them in a mug of hot milk and violá, hot chocolate!
They definitely took a couple of tries before I was able to get the hang of them though. I had read a few tips on-line, but it took some trial and error until I figured out what worked best. Now that I have worked out the kinks it should be easier for you.
To make cocoa bombs you need:
Hot cocoa mix
Melt the chocolate as directed on the package. I chose to use chocolate melting wafers, but you could also use other kinds of chocolate.
Once the chocolate is melted, spoon a little of the chocolate into each mold and spread with the pastry brush. Be sure to cover the entire mold. You may need to dip the brush into the chocolate a few times to make sure the mold is evenly covered.
Refrigerate for 5 minutes, then add another coat of chocolate to the mold. Refrigerate for another 5 minutes.
Once set the chocolate can be removed from the molds. Be careful as the chocolate can crack.
Now it’s time to fill them with the marshmallows and cocoa, and you are probably thinking how might one do that?
I had read a few different ways to get the molds to stick together, but they didn’t really work. You might come up with a better way than mine.
I chose to get some water boiling in a small saucepan and cover with a small plate.
I took one half and rubbed it on the warm plate just for a few seconds so the edge started to melt.
I then filled that half with some marshmallows and 1 tbsp of cocoa mix. I did the same with the top half and placed the two sides together. Hold them together for a few seconds until they stick.
I chose to drizzle some melted white chocolate and top with Jimmies and Holiday sprinkles. You can be as creative as you want with these as there are so many options for variations with flavors and chocolates. Have fun with them!
Once they are done they are ready to make into hot cocoa. All you need to do is heat up about 8 oz. of milk, pour it into a mug, add the cocoa bomb and stir.