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!
Years ago I veered away from the classic Nestle Toll House cookie recipe and started trying to find a better chocolate chip cookie recipe. Although I love a good Toll House cookie, I just kept finding they were a little too crispy for my personal liking. This recipe is quite different but they are soft, delicious and have become my new favorite!
When I realized I was out of the regular size chocolate chips and only had minis, I was initially very disappointed. Well, that turned into such a good thing because I loved them even more with the small chips! Give it a try if you never have and see what you think.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. hot water
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cream together the butter and sugars until smooth.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water. This is the only recipe I have ever had to do this with.
Add baking soda water to the batter with the salt and combine well.
Stir in the flour and chocolate chips ( I used mini chips).
Drop onto ungreased pans. I decided to use the large cookie scoop this time, go big or go home!
Then bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until edges start to brown.
Last night I had intended on just making pasta with pesto for dinner, but then had a craving for something a little more creamy. I decided to add a little cream sauce spin to my homemade pesto and it was absolutely delicious! If you are like me and love cream sauce, you will love this creamy pesto. The addition of the cream is subtle and not as heavy as an alfredo sauce, but satisfies that craving for creaminess you may be having.
First I will give you the recipe for my pesto, then further down the blog you will see how to make it into a cream sauce.
Here are the ingredients for my regular pesto:
4 oz. of fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp. minced garlic
Pepper to taste
Add basil, cheese, garlic, and pepper to a food processor.
Turn on the processor and add the olive oil slowly.
Let it run until the basil is finely chopped and all the ingredients are combined.
Oh that smell, wow!
Since nothing goes better with basil than tomatoes, I decided to cut up some grape tomatoes to add to the pasta and pesto.
This is where I would usually stop and be so happy with this meal. I love fresh pesto on pasta.
But I didn’t stop, and this is where things started getting crazy and I decided to bust out the heavy cream.
Heat 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 2 tbsp. of butter in a saucepan until the butter is melted and the cream is starting to boil while being careful not to let the cream burn. Whisk in a 1/2 cup of grated cheese and simmer for a few minutes until it starts to thicken slightly.
Whisk the pesto into the cream sauce mixture and cook for a few minutes.
Doesn’t that look pretty?
Pour the sauce over your pasta of choice, add the tomatoes, stir, and serve.
If your family is anything like mine, you will be listening to happy eating sounds and praises through the entire dinner. Yum!
My daughter and I put our flavor cravings together and came up with this AMAZING cake. We knew we wanted to incorporate coconut and raspberry, and were first thinking of a chocolate cake to go with them which I think will be the next cake we bake. Ultimately we decided on a yellow cake and cream cheese frosting to compliment the two flavors, and were we happy that we did. Wow!
Most yellow cakes have so much butter and eggs in them that you can feel your arteries clogging from just reading the recipe. Since I didn’t really want to use 100 eggs for one cake, I went to the Betty Crocker yellow cake recipe I have been using for years. Simple, moist, delicious, and it only uses one bowl. You really can’t get better than that.
We only had about a half of a bag of coconut so we decided not to put any in the cake batter, only in the middle and on top. I’m sure a little extra in the batter would have been delicious. Here is how to make this yummy cake.
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups milk
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9″ round cake pans.
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer for 30 seconds on low speed, and 3 minutes on high speed.
Pour into prepared pans.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Once the cakes are cool you can make the cream cheese frosting. If you have read some of my other blogs you know that this frosting is my absolute favorite. It will be yours too, trust me.
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Combine the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.
Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Then add the powdered sugar and continue beating until smooth and completely mixed.
If it doesn’t taste sweet enough for your liking, add a little more powdered sugar.
To frost the cakes, place one of the cakes upside down onto a plate or platter.
Spread some of the frosting on the top of the layer.
Spread a thick layer of Raspberry Preserves, try not to get too close to the edge so it doesn’t ooze out when you place the next layer on top.
Sprinkle some coconut on top of the raspberry layer, we used Baker’s Sweetened Coconut.
Top with the next layer with the round side facing up. Then start to frost the top and sides of the cake. When finished frosting sprinkle some coconut on the top.
Refrigerate for a little while before eating, it tastes better slightly cold. Then dig in! So good!!!!
This baked french toast will be your “go to” brunch recipe from the moment you taste it. I started making this years ago for Easter brunch, and it has become a dish that my family looks forward to all year. It has become such an awaited favorite that I am pretty sure I would be disowned if I ever were to decide to make something else. No joke, it’s that good.
This recipe makes enough for a large and a small glass baking dish of french toast. Since this year it was only the four of us, I started to just prepare one dish and the evil stares I received from my children made me quickly realize that was a bad idea. I guess if you wait 365 days for something, you want as much as you can get. A few days extra of this yummy treat for breakfast was a small price to pay for my children’s happiness.
To make your new brunch favorite you need:
2 large French breads
2 cups of milk
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
Butter a large and a small glass baking dish. Cut the french bread into 1″ – 1/2 ” pieces and arrange in the baking dishes.
Whisk together eggs, milk, half and half, cinnamon and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
Ladle over the bread ensuring that every piece is covered.
Cover and refrigerate overnight so the egg mixture can absorb into the bread.
The next day combine the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a saucepan over low/medium heat until everything is melted.
Spread the mixture on the french toast until evenly coated. I never use it all, but that is up to you.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, sometimes longer, until the egg is fully cooked. You may need to cover with aluminum foil near the end to prevent excessive browining.
Absolutely delicious! You will see why my family counts down the days until I make this french toast again.
Now that running to the store for every little thing isn’t an option, I have been making my own tortillas instead of buying them. These are easy to make and you will look very impressive on your next Taco Tuesday. This recipe makes eight good size tortillas, but you can double the recipe if you would like more than that.
I could say that I intended to make them the shape that they are in, but I will admit I was going for a circle. They tasted just as good regardless of whatever shape that actually is lol.
You only need four ingredients to make your own tortillas and they are:
2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water
3 tbsp. olive oil
Combine flour and salt in a medium size mixing bowl. Add the water and oil and mix well.
Put the dough on a floured cutting board and knead for a minute or so.
Cut your dough into eight even portions.
Roll each portion into a very thin circle. Yes, circle. That is the goal anyway. Actually, the one shown below is kind of a circle.
You will need to keep flouring the board and rolling pin because they tend to get sticky.
Heat your skillet a little higher than medium heat. Make sure your skillet is hot before putting in the tortilla. Cook for only about 1 minute or so, the tortilla should bubble as seen.
What shape is that actually? It’s not even close to a circle lol. I think i need to practice my rolling skills.
Flip the tortilla and cook the other side.
Keep them warm until serving and fill them with fish, chicken, pork, or whatever. You’ll love them!
This cheesecake was one of those desserts that the entire time my family was eating it there were happy little “mmmm” sounds and constant “this is so good” being said. Is there really any better compliment than that? I might even go so far as saying this is one of the best cheesecakes that I have ever tasted. This cheesecake has just gone to the top of my list of desserts to make for Holidays and the like. If you prefer a plain cheesecake, just eliminate the chocolate chips and the cocoa from the recipe.
It is quite time consuming in that it takes about five hours from start to finish, but not difficult to make. The only difficult part about it was actually having the restraint to not eat it until it was cool. We were somewhat successful in that regard.
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
3 – 8oz. packages of cream cheese
1 – 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp. flour
1- 16oz. package of strawberries
2 tbsp. sugar
Crush graham crackers to make them into crumbs. You can do this in a food processor, or in a zip lock bag with a rolling pin. I use my little chopper.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, cocoa, and sugar in a small mixing bowl.
Push the mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Make sure it is well packed down.
With an electric mixture, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. While beating add the sweetened condensed milk and continue beating until well mixed.
Beat in the eggs and vanilla at medium speed until smooth.
Toss 1/3 cup of the chocolate chips with the teaspoon of flour. This helps the chips not sink to the bottom of the cheesecake while baking.
Fold those chips into the cheesecake mixture, and pour into the springform pan.
Sprinkle the additional 2/3 cup of chocolate chips on top.
I put a baking sheet under the pan just in case there was any leakage.
Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour. Do not open the oven. Leave in the oven for an additional hour with the oven turned off.
Once the cheesecake is out of the oven, place in the refrigerator to cool. Do not remove springform portion of pan until completely cool.
Ta da! Oh my goodness, look at that!
You can serve it as is, or if you would like you can make an easy strawberry topping.
For the topping, I just macerated strawberries by slicing the strawberries and tossing them with 2 tbsp. of sugar.
After the strawberries sit for a little while, the sugar draws out their juices and makes a syrup.
Now I challenge you to eat a piece of this cheesecake and not make any “mmmm” sounds 😛
We are living in a time that many of us never thought we would ever see. Schools are closed, businesses are closed, beaches and parks are closed, there are lines outside of grocery stores with people standing 6 feet apart while wearing masks. A time where we are all asked to stay home and social distance not only to save ourselves, but to save others and stop spreading a virus. All of this seems so unreal, like I am having a bad dream or that I am a character in a movie that I would never agree to watch despite my husband’s pleading.
As I sit this morning drinking my coffee in my sunroom and listening to quiet that I would not normally hear on a Tuesday morning unless there was a snow storm, I started thinking about how much of what seemed so awful yesterday will be missed tomorrow. Will any of these “new” behaviors and thoughts stay with us when our lives are back to “normal”? Will we still see ourselves and others out walking at a slower pace and really seeing everything around us instead of hurriedly walking and talking about the stresses of the day? Will we still take notice of the daily changes in the trees and flowers outside? Will we miss this time together as a family? I know I will.
I am embarrassed to say that I have found myself stressed over some of the wrong things during this time. Stressed because we can no longer have everything we want when we want it. I found myself in tears after numerous nights trying at midnight to order groceries with no success because somehow other people’s computers must be faster than mine. Groceries that I want, but not desperately need. Feeling so much pressure that my family might not be able to have their favorite baked french toast on Easter this year unless I can find a way to get French bread while not potentially exposing my asthmatic lungs to this deadly disease. Trying unsuccessfully to order items to put together Easter baskets. All of these things that felt so important at the time, really aren’t that important are they? While it is disappointing to not celebrate Easter with family like we always do, isn’t it more important that we are safe, have a home to be together in, and food to eat regardless of what it is?
Maybe all of this will help us appreciate what we have more and not take everything for granted. Maybe next year if things are back to “normal” that Easter brunch will be cherished and appreciated more. Maybe we’ll all find we aren’t throwing away as much food. Maybe even when l can go back to running to the store for every little thing, I will decide to continue making my own tortillas, pasta, and pizza dough. Maybe I will still hear my children’s laughter alongside the bouncing sound of a basketball more often.
In my opinion pizza is one of the best comfort foods, I absolutely love it and could eat it all the time. The first thing I made when I finally got around to getting a new food processor was pizza dough! I have been craving homemade pizza like crazy, and I decided to go all out and make many different kinds. If you have never made dough, it was super easy to make.
Here are the ingredients you need:
1 tbsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup of warm water
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
Dissolve the sugar and yeast in a small bowl with the warm water for about 5 minutes.
Add the flour and salt to your food processor and pulse a few times to mix together.
Once your yeast and sugar have dissolved, turn on the food processor and add a little bit of the liquid at a time through the top until it is mixed, then continue with a little more, etc.
Once the dough is formed and is no longer sticking to the sides, mix for another minute or so.
Coat a large mixing bowl with olive oil and add the dough to the bowl.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel for an hour and a half and then once it has risen it looks like this.
You are now ready to make pizza! Flour a cutting board and rolling pin and roll out the dough into pizzas. Spray your pans before topping with the dough.
For the pizzas I made I topped the dough with a little tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, my toppings, a little more mozzarella, a sprinkle of Italian Seasoning and pepper, then a drizzle of olive oil. Delicious!
Bake at 450 degrees until the bottom turns slightly brown.
The pizza shown in the blog header is topped with homemade turkey meatballs.
This pizza has slices of fresh tomato, ricotta (mixed with parmesan, garlic powder, pepper, and parsley), and homemade turkey meatballs on half.
This pizza is half cheese, and half mushroom and onion.
Searching for shells and sea glass is one of my absolute favorite things to do, and I could not be more thankful that my daughter feels the same way. We are often bundled up in the winter combing our favorite spots for treasures from the sea. Any time we are at the beach you will always see the two of us walking slowly and looking down, and I often have to remind myself to look up and enjoy the ocean.
We recently visited a beach down the Cape and found so many scallop shells and while I normally fill antique mason jars with my favorite finds, scallop shells are hard to really appreciate in a jar. While I’m sure this idea isn’t new by any means, the thought came to me while rinsing the shells and thinking that I wished they could stay the color they are when they are wet. There may be a product specifically for shells, but without doing any research the first product that came to mind was polyurethane.
Since I am not typically a crafty person per se and we are on a stay home order because of the virus, I just ordered what I assumed would work from Amazon. I ordered the gloss finish because I wanted the shells to look as glossy as they did when they were fresh out of the ocean.
I just used a small paintbrush and brushed a thin coat on to the shells and let them dry for a few hours.
You can see what a huge difference it made. Whether or not this was the correct product for this craft, I am thrilled with the outcome.
These are what the shells looked like before,
and these are what they looked like after. The colors are just so beautiful!
All I needed now was to order a few shadow box frames with linen backs and a bottle of Gorilla Glue.
Then it was time to create some wall art!
Once I had the shells lined up I used a little bit of Gorilla Glue on the back edges of the shells and held them in place for a few seconds. That glue is very strong so make sure you place it where you want it because it is not going to move. You should also wear some sort of gloves when using this glue which we learned the hard way. I’m pretty sure my daughter no longer has fingerprints on a few of her fingers lol.
Just a quick side note, yes that is my childhood ruler 🥰
This was one of the pieces I created, and the one shown in the blog header is one my daughter created.
Now we have these beautiful frames filled with our favorite shells to forever make us happy! Our next project is going to be with sand dollars!
What better thing to make on St. Patrick’s Day then the absolute BEST Irish Bread! This moist and buttery bread is hands down the best I have ever tasted, and super easy to make. You will definitely be sharing the luck of the Irish with anyone you make this for 🍀
3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 egg lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup raisins
Sift all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
** I make buttermilk by adding 1 tbsp. of lemon juice to the 2 cups of milk and letting it sit until it begins to curdle.
Combine the beaten egg with the buttermilk.
Add egg and buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and mix only until just moistened.
Stir in the melted butter.
Fold in raisins. For this batch I didn’t add that many raisins because my family doesn’t like them and picks them out. When I make the bread for others I add more.
Bake at 325 degrees in a greased loaf pan for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack. The bread tastes even better when it has been wrapped in aluminum foil for several hours.