Welcome to my blog! My name is Stephanie and I was born, raised, and still live just outside of Boston. I’m a stay at home mom of two children that don’t really need me to stay home anymore, especially since one of them is in college. So I currently spend my days with my three insane dogs while owning 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!
Often when I am taking pictures for my Blog I am actually cooking dinner for my family. When these burgers were done my family was sitting patiently at the table waiting for them to be served. I quickly snapped a few pictures of the burger before handing them off and not realizing how strange the colors look on the blue plate. Ugh. By the time I realized it the burgers were long gone, so I apologize if they look a little off. I am not a chef with a commercial kitchen and a camera crew, I am just a woman with an iPhone sharing my favorite recipes.
Now let’s talk about this burger. It is so good! The prosciutto gets a wonderful crisp texture and the flavors are fantastic together. I used to use balsamic vinegar, but I have become a huge fan of balsamic glaze. If you have never tried it, I highly recommend getting some the next time you are at the grocery store. These burgers are very easy to make, and look and taste impressive.
1 lb. ground lamb
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. parsley
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp. milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 lb. sliced prosciutto
1-2 tomatoes, sliced
Balsamic vinegar or glaze
Mix together the breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, milk, parmesan, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
Add the ground lamb and mix well.
Shape into four burgers and wrap each with prosciutto.
Heat about 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the burgers and cook for approx. 6-8 minutes on each side until cooked through.
Look how good that prosciutto looks!
Serve topped with slices of tomatoes and fresh basil. Drizzle with olive oil and either balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze.
This recipe makes such a moist delicious spice bread perfect with an afternoon tea or coffee. The bread forms its own little crust of sorts which adds to its wonderful flavor. This is one of those foods I tell myself is technically healthy because it contains a vegetable. Or a fruit actually? I am not really sure where zucchini falls to be honest but it my world I consider this health food lol.
An added bonus to this delicious recipe is that it makes 2 loaves. I just love when a recipe makes two loaves, it is so great to have the extra loaf without the extra work isn’t it?
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans.
Grate the zucchini with the skin on and set aside. I didn’t measure but you want about 2 cups. Do not drain the zucchini as the moisture is needed for the bread.
Sift together all of the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl, set aside.
Beat together the eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
Mix in the dry ingredients.
You will get quite the arm workout mixing these ingredients together before adding the zucchini.
Add the zucchini and mix well. Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and bake for 40-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pans for 20 minutes before transferring to wire racks.
Pork and apples are two flavors that go hand in hand. Growing up my mother would always serve pork chops with applesauce, wasn’t there even a Brady Bunch episode about that? I think I’m dating myself. Anyway, if pork with applesauce goes together then why not pork with apple slices. I personally like having a nice chunk of cinnamon sugar apple along with my bite of pork.
I typically use boneless pork chops, but today I had a pork tenderloin in the house and decided to use that cut into slices. You can also use bone-in pork chops if you prefer as well. The preparation is the same but the cooking time will vary.
Pork tenderloin or chops
1 tbsp. butter
3-4 apples, peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Season both sides of the pork with salt and pepper and place in the pan. After one side has browned flip and brown the other side, it only takes a few minutes. You aren’t trying to cook the pork through, just to give it a quick browning before baking.
While the pork is cooking peel and slice the apples and place in a greased baking dish.
Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. I didn’t have that many apples so I think I may have used about 2 tbsp. of sugar, maybe a little more, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. I purchased four apples for this meal but apparently never informed my family the apples were for me. At least they are eating fruit lol.
Sprinkle evenly over the apples.
Top with the browned pork and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 350 degrees until pork is done, which is when the meat is at 145-150 degrees. These thin slices of tenderloin took about a half hour, but when I have used boneless pork chops it has taken a little longer. I don’t cook bone in pork but I believe that may be even longer.
Sometimes I serve with mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower, or brussels sprouts. You can serve with whatever you wish! Enjoy!
I absolutely love bread pudding. If you have never had bread pudding, it reminds me of a thick sweet French toast in a way. Since my daughter and I are the only ones in my family that do like it, it is not something I make very often. I got the idea to use Brioche bread after having it at a local restaurant. The restaurant also served it with a bourbon sauce which I had intended to make, but it is so good as is that I never bothered.
This recipe does not have to include raisins if you are not fond of them. However, if you do like raisins you may want to add more than I have. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, my daughter does not like raisins and I was only able to add a few under great protest.
14 oz. loaf of Brioche bread
2 1/2 cups of milk
1 cup half and half
3 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup raisins
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1 3/4 tbsp. vanilla
Cut the bread into cubes and combine in a large mixing bowl with the milk and half and half.
This is a very soft bread and the mixture starts to get soggy and lose shape very quickly so don’t let it sit too long.
Fold in the eggs, butter, vanilla, sugar, and raisins and combine well while trying to keep the bread intact.
Scoop the mixture into a greased 3 quart casserole dish and bake for about an hour or until set at 325 degrees. I recommend using a rectangular casserole dish if you have one because mine took forever to cook in the square casserole. I am going to add that to my list of things I need to buy.
Once it is out of the oven let it sit for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
Serve plain or with a little vanilla ice cream on top. Delicious!
Garlic bread is not something I make often because let’s be honest, it probably isn’t the best thing to be eating all that often. So when I do make garlic bread I kick it up a notch and make Cheesy Garlic Bread! Go big or go home! Garlic bread without the cheese is absolutely delicious, but once you add the cheese you really bring it to a whole new level.
If you have ever purchased the garlic bread from a grocery store you have probably noticed they put about six pounds of butter on the loaf. For me personally I think it’s just too much butter, but if you like a lot of butter on your garlic bread then just put more than I have suggested in the recipe. That goes for the cheese as well, I haven’t put any measurements because it is all about personal preference.
Loaf of Italian bread
4 -5 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tbsp. (or more) minced garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
Pepper to taste
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese, shredded
Combine the softened butter, olive oil, garlic, and pepper in a small bowl. After slicing the loaf of Italian bread in half the long way, spread the butter mixture over both sides of the bread.
Put the two sides back together and wrap in aluminum foil. Cook for about 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees until the butter is melted.
Remove the bread from the oven and top with the cheeses, use as much as you want. I like the majority of the cheese to be mozzarella and just a little parmesan. Sprinkle with parsley.
Keep the bread open this time when returning to the oven. You can either just put them on the aluminum foil or on a baking sheet.
Bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
As I have said before in some of my Blogs, I am a huge fan of make ahead meals. Not only because there are days where I just don’t have the time to prepare a meal, but sometimes I’m just kind of tired around dinnertime and prefer to just sit and eat. So if you are like me and have more energy early in the day or also just prefer to sit and eat, you too will love this meal.
This was a frequent “go to” dinner when my children had late day activities or games. I would prepare it when they were in school and it was not only ready for us right when we got home, but it is healthy and they loved it. It’s a win win! It also goes really well with a nice loaf of bread.
I have been making this recipe for many years and I believe it is originally one of Ina Garten’s recipes so you know it is going to be fantastic. You can leave out the wine if you prefer or don’t have any in the house, but it does add a nice flavor.
4 – 6 bone in chicken breasts
Salt and Pepper
2 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups mayonaise
2 tbsp. white wine
1/4 cup dijon mustard
3 tbsp. stone ground mustard
1 cup grape tomatoes
Prepare the chicken by placing it on a large cookie sheet and rubbing each breast with a little olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken to taste.
Cook at 375 degrees for about an hour or until the chicken is cooked. Let cool.
Once cool remove the skin and cut the chicken into bite size chunks.
Blanch the broccoli for 3-4 minutes in boiling water, then remove from the pot and transfer to a bowl of ice water, this will stop the broccoli from cooking. Drain and set aside. I squeeze the broccoli because it really does hold the water.
Cut the tomatoes and half and also set aside.
Whisk together the mayonaise, mustards, and wine in a large mixing bowl.
Add the broccoli, tomatoes, and chicken to the mixture and combine well.
Look at the beautiful color of the broccoli from blanching!
On a bend in the road at the tip of Southport Island in Maine is the most adorable alpaca farm. I can remember years ago being in our favorite little library, which happens to be next door, and one of the librarians asking if we had seen the new neighbors that had recently moved in. After peaking through the library window trying to catch a glimpse, my children and I walked a little further into the library parking lot to see these cute furry creatures never imagining that someday we would be walking them on leashes. Right? Who walks alpacas on leashes?
Soon enough, this small farm opened it’s “doors” to the public and we met some of these fascinating animals as well as their people, Anne and Mike. And what wonderful people they are. Of course I assumed they must have been alpaca farmers for years but come to find out this was fairly new to them. I let out a little sigh every time I leave their farm and think of how nice it would be to pack up and leave things behind to have a change of life as they have. I’m sure being an alpaca farmer is much more difficult than they make it look, however, and I doubt I would last a week.
This year we spent the Christmas holiday in Maine for the first time and were able to reserve a spot to take an alpaca for a walk. How cool is that? I caught myself smiling under my mask every time a car went by wondering what the people must think as they drive past. I’m sure in the summer months especially there must be quite a few heads that turn as people utter “were they just walking alpacas?”
So the other day my daughter and I headed over to the farm on a 28 degree winter day ready for our trek. Anne explained how to walk an alpaca, filled our jacket pockets with feed, and off we went through the neighborhood while our alpacas took turns trying to lead the pack. Zara was on my leash and Gracie on my daughter’s making their cute little moans as we walked along. Gracie moaned quite a bit, I don’t think she was as excited as we were about this excursion.
It also didn’t take Gracie very long to figure out my daughter’s pocket was filled with treats.
By the end of the trek my daughter Sara and Gracie seemed to have a little more of an understanding of each other 😅
When we returned to the farm it didn’t take long for the other alpacas to also realize what Sara had in her pocket. What an amazing experience to be surrounded by these beautiful gentle creatures. I am pretty sure my daughter would say the same even though she may have gotten “sneezed” on by one of them, twice. Better her than me 😛
This little farm is truly such a special place and I could not be more thankful to have it as a neighbor in Maine.
The next time you are visiting the coast of Maine, make sure to take a detour down Rt. 27 towards the Boothbay peninsula and head over to Southport to pay a visit to Anne and Mike and all of their wonderful alpacas at Cape Newagen Alpaca Farm.
My mother passed away recently and while going through her recipes I came across this recipe for Sesame Seed Cookies. These were one of her favorite cookies, and when she made them she would always enjoy a few while she was sipping a cup of coffee or tea. This recipe may have been my grandmother’s recipe, but I do not know for sure. I never really paid attention to these cookies because to be honest, they weren’t my favorite so I can’t say if they taste like they did when she made them. They still aren’t my favorite cookie, but I liked the batch I made and my daughter really liked them.
I can remember fondly how at least once a year she would buy a bag of sesame seeds at Polcari’s Coffee on Salem Street in the North End of Boston. I haven’t been in that store in years but I can still remember being mesmerized by all of the big bins filled with seeds and nuts. I’ll have to stop in there some day to see if the store is as I remember. While I don’t have a fresh bag of sesame seeds currently in my home, or never have, I just used the ones I purchased at the super market. Maybe I’ll have to start following her tradition and buy my sesame seeds in the North End from now on.
This index card is the recipe I found and apparently I must have had a type writer at some point when I was a child and transferred some of her hand written recipes on to cards for her. The funny thing is there is no mention of sesame seeds in the recipe. Or how long to bake them for. They could be missing another ingredient as well for all I know as I obviously missed a few steps 😅. I am also confused by why her Ricotta Pie recipe that I typed out has no mention of ricotta. Thank goodness transcribing was not the path I chose in life.
The ingredients are wonderfully typed above as seen, except for the sesame seeds and I think I used about a cup of seeds. Now let’s break down the instructions a little bit better.
In a small mixing bowl combine the flour and baking powder, set aside.
In a large bowl mix together the oil, eggs, and sugar. Add the vanilla and salt and mix well.
Add in the dry ingredients and combine well.
Put the sesame seeds on a small plate and put some milk in a small bowl.
I assumed “dip fingers in milk” meant to do so before grabbing some of the dough and rolling it in your hands. Once the dough is in the shape of a ball roll it in the sesame seeds.
I remember my mother’s cookies being more of an oval shape so I shaped them after I placed them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Since there was no mention of time on the recipe I tried a few different times. My first batch was about 10-11 minutes and they were just slightly brown on the bottom. Then I tried 13 minutes and the bottoms tasted over done, so I settled on right in the middle at 12 minutes.
I like cookies soft and while these are most likely supposed to be a hard biscotti type cookie, I don’t prefer them that way.
If you prefer an all around darker cookie you may want to try a higher temperature and see how they turn out.
I hope you enjoy my mom’s favorite cookie as much as she did 😊
I have been making these sinfully delicious appetizers for over 20 years and always on Christmas Eve. Even though this year it was only my little immediate family, one of the first menu items requested were these wontons. You might look at the ingredients and think “eh”, but trust me they are delicious. It is hard to distinguish any of the ingredients in this wonton, but they all work together and create an amazing flavor. My children don’t like black olives or red peppers, but they love these.
The nice thing about this recipe is you can make the sausage filling ahead of time and refrigerate it until you are ready to make them. You can also freeze the mixture if you’d like, which is nice when you aren’t using all of it because they do make quite a few.
I first got the recipe from a friend years ago and she doubled the amount of cheese and dressing. I thought it was a little too much so I cut the measurements back a little, but if you want you can add more cheese and more dressing.
1 package of Jimmy Dean or Jones sausage
1 red bell pepper
1 small 2.25 oz. can of black olives
6 – 8oz. of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
4 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.
Cook the sausage in a frying pan until done, and let cool. Cut the red pepper into chunks.
In a food processor or chopper combine the sausage, red pepper, and olives. I didn’t have my food processor with me so I used a small chopper and chopped them in small batches of all three ingredients together. A food processor would have been much quicker.
Once you have processed all of the sausage, pepper and olives, combine in a mixing bowl with the cheeses and dressing.
Place one wonton wrapper in each opening and bake for about 5 -7 minutes until they get slightly brown.
Once brown, fill each wonton with the sausage filling using two teaspoons.
Bake for about 10 minutes until the cheeses are melted. Keep watching them to make sure the wontons don’t get too brown or burned.
Now be prepared for your family and friends to ask you to make them again. So good!
Let me just start by saying that these cookies are one of the best cookies I have ever had. Unbelievably good. So good that when my daughter and I tasted the first batch we both looked at each other while chewing and said maybe we should just eat them all and not give them out. We were joking, kind of, maybe not actually. We had restraint, however, and only ate a few while saving the rest to give out to family and friends.
The nice thing about this recipe is they don’t have to be made as sandwich cookies. You can just bake the shortbread in any shape you would like and either eat them plain, or dip part of them in chocolate. Whichever way you decide to make them they will just melt in your mouth.
3 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Raspberry jam or preserves
In a large mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.
Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
Sift together the flour and salt in a small bowl and gradually add to the butter mixture while beating on low speed until combined.
Now this is where the recipe gets a little tricky. As you can see, it doesn’t look very combined or together for that matter. However, it is right and how it should be.
Start squeezing together handfuls of the dough and put them on a lightly floured board. The dough will come together with time but you need to work at it with your hands.
As you can see after a few minutes and a little patience the shortbread dough came together and looks great.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Using a section of the dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured board until about 1/4″ thick and cut into shapes.
If you are making the sandwich cookies, you can either use all solid shapes or you can cut a shape in the center of the cookie for the jam to show. Place the cookies on an un-greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for around 8 minutes for the cookies with holes, and around 10 minutes for the solid cookies. Keep an eye on them and they are done when they are slightly brown.
While the photo shows the two cookies together on the cookie sheet, don’t bake them together as they really do have different cooking times.
Let cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or so and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cool spread jam on the flat side of the bottom cookie. Spread lightly on the edges and leave more in the center for where the hole will be.
Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on the top cookie then place on top of the jam covered bottom cookie.
Now the most important thing is trying to stop yourself from eating them all. Trust me, it isn’t easy.