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!
What is better than a thick, warm, waffle? How about a thick, warm, chocolate waffle! So delicious and decadent. Chocolate waffles make a perfect dessert treat with some ice cream, but today they were a special breakfast treat for my son. I thought I had some strawberries in the house to top them with to make it seem somewhat healthy, but I’ll just have to get some fruit into him later.
Waffles might seem like a difficult thing to make, but they are actually quite easy. The only reason I don’t make them more often is because I have to go get the waffle maker from “down cellah” as us Bostonians say.
So let’s make waffles!
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
4 tbsp. butter, melted
mini chocolate chips, optional
Sift together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. As I always say, make sure to sift when using cocoa powder because it really makes a difference.
Whisk in the milk, eggs, and melted butter until smooth.
I added a few mini chocolate chips because that’s how I roll. Honestly, when are chocolate chips ever a bad thing? Right?
Spray your waffle iron with cooking spray and heat per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Once heated, ladle the batter into the iron and let cook for about 4 minutes. I used a fork to remove them.
I spread the batter out a little more for my second batch.
Serve warm with fruit, ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, or whatever you like. Yum, yum, yum!!
I recently made homemade Strawberry Jam and it was much easier than I thought it would be. Now I am excited to try making other flavors of jam as well. I had known that jam recipes usually have Pectin as an ingredient and since I have no idea what is, I decided to find a recipe without Pectin. I truly am a problem solver. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
I ordered and washed some 8 oz. mason jars. Try not to touch the inside of the jars or the lids once they are clean so that bacteria doesn’t grow in the jars. This recipe made 4 1/2 – 8oz. jars.
The jars need to be hot when you put the jam into them, and to do this I put them in a 225 degree oven while I was making the jam. I kept checking them to make sure they didn’t get too hot.
Now let’s make the jam! You will need a heavy saucepan for this.
2 lbs. of fresh strawberries
4 cups of sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Clean the strawberries, cut off the tops, and slice them in half.
Mash the strawberries in a mixing bowl in batches. Once a batch was complete I put it in the saucepan.
Once all of the strawberries are mashed and in the saucepan add the sugar and lemon juice and bring to a rolling boil while stirring frequently.
The jam needs to boil to 220 degrees which is above boiling point. You will notice that it plateaus for a little while because of this, but you need to be patient and wait until it hits that temperature.
I was actually getting a little impatient myself, but you will see how the mixture changes once it hits that temperature.
Once the jam reaches 220 degrees remove it from the heat and start ladling it into the hot jars with a funnel leaving about 1/2 inch of space in the jars.
Once they are filled, seal the jars tightly while still trying not to touch the inside of the lids or jars. And that’s it!
If you are planning on eating the jam soon all you need to do is refrigerate the jam.
If you are planning on saving the jam you need to complete the next step of using a water bath.
If you have never done this it is easy. Bring a large pot of water to a boil making sure that there is enough water for the jars to be submerged. Make sure the jars are sealed tightly and use tongs to lower the jars into the water.
Let them sit in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep them in the water for another 5 minutes. Remove with tongs and set on a towel and leave undisturbed for 12-24 hours.
When I think of Summer in Maine I think of sun, the ocean, friends, family, picturesque shorelines, and blueberries. When I think of blueberries, I think of pies and muffins. While I do have wild blueberries in my yard, they never yield enough for a pie. I can usually pick enough for muffins, which I also made this week, but for the pie I needed to purchase some at a local farm stand.
It is about this time in the Summer when my husband starts making little comments about pie and wondering where that annual delicious blueberry treat might be. I was a little later than usual this year with my pie and I was starting to get a little nervous that the local blueberries may not be available anymore.
The only thing I dread about making this pie is cleaning all of those little blueberries. If you aren’t familiar with Maine blueberries, they are the low bush small berries. It is very time consuming and not very fun. Some people might just give them a rinse but I like to go through them and make sure there aren’t any stems or rotten berries in the mix. My son would walk by every now and again and say “Still cleaning those blueberries huh?”.
This pie is well worth the effort, and your family seeing you at the sink sorting through berries makes them appreciate the pie (and you) even more.
You can use any pie crust recipe or a store bought crust if you prefer. If you don’t have a recipe for crust I have included the recipe I use at the bottom of the blog.
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. corn starch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 cups blueberries
Mix together sugar, corn starch, salt, and cinnamon.
Fold the blueberries gently into the sugar mixture.
Pour the blueberry mixture into the pie crust.
Top with another layer of crust or you can make a lattice top like I did. To make the lattice top roll out the dough into a circle and cut the dough into strips.
Interweave the strips and pinch the edges. My daughter did this lattice work, great job Sara!
Bake for about 50 minutes or until bubbly and the crust is slightly brown.
Pie, pie, me oh my, I love pie!
Pie Crust Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup chilled shortening, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup chilled vodka
1/4 cup cold water
Whisk together the flour and salt.
Cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture with a fork and knife, or a pastry blender until the mixture looks like course crumbs.
Sprinkle in the water and vodka and mix well until the dough is formed, it will be sticky.
Divide the dough into two and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Homemade cinnamon rolls were something that I wanted to make for years but for some reason was apprehensive to do so. They always seemed a little intimidating and time consuming. In actuality they are very easy to make. And oh so delicious!
Whoever you make these scrumptious, warm rolls for will surely be impressed not only by the taste (so good) but by the appearance as well. They will think you are quite the baker. I found this recipe on the internet and the only part I have changed is the icing. We weren’t crazy about the taste so we tweaked it a little and we love it!
2 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. butter, melted
To make the dough whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. If you have instant yeast the rolls will rise quicker than if you use active dry yeast, which is what I used for this recipe. Once combined set aside.
In a small mixing bowl microwave milk, water, and butter until butter is melted. You can also do this in a saucepan if you wish.
Add this mixture to the dry mixture and combine well. Add the egg and combine. Dough will be soft and sticky.
Turn out the dough onto a floured board and knead for about 3 minutes. I needed to add a little more flour here and there while kneading to make it less sticky, but you want the dough to be soft.
Coat another mixing bowl with oil or oil spray and let the dough sit for 10 minutes lightly covered in the bowl.
Roll out the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a rectangle about 8″ by 14″. Mine looks more like an oval, but really try to get it to be a rectangle.
Spread the 3 tbsp. of softened butter over the entire rectangle.
Now combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the butter. Then begin rolling the dough tightly.
Once the dough is rolled, cut it into about 12 slices. Then arrange the slices in a round greased pie dish. You can see the smaller ones in my batch are from the oval shape, hence why you should really work towards a rectangle.
Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise until they about double in size. It took about 2 hours using the active dry yeast.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or until slightly brown. Oh my goodness the smell that will fill your kitchen is amazing!
Let the rolls cool slightly and then top them with the icing. For the icing whisk all the ingredients together and then drizzle over the top of the warm rolls. Yum!
If you are looking for a healthier alternative to potato salad, try using cauliflower. I have made mashed cauliflower numerous times but never thought to use cauliflower in place of potatoes for potato salad until last night. It went perfectly with my homemade pulled pork and was delicious! The added bonus was my son that won’t eat potatoes ate the cauliflower, Mom for the win!
I mixed together all the same ingredients I would for my potato salad except used cauliflower in place of potatoes. If you feel like using potatoes, these measurements were for one head of cauliflower so you may need to increase them depending on how many potatoes you use.
1 head of cauliflower
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. spicy brown mustard
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Celery – shopped
1 hard boiled egg
Red onion – chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper together in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Cut up the cauliflower florets into small bite size pieces. Chop the celery, onion, and egg and put aside.
Bring water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the cauliflower and keep boiling for about 4-5 minutes or until it is slightly soft. Drain the cauliflower and run under cold water in a colander to cool.
Add the cauliflower, celery, red onion, and egg to the mayonnaise mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for an hour or so for best flavor.
Chicken Fried Rice is a quick, healthy, delicious meal that you don’t have to get at a restaurant. Even though it is not even remotely like Southern Fried Chicken, every time I make this meal I have the song “Chicken Fried” by the Zach Brown Band on repeat in my head. Maybe they could sing a different version “You know I like my chicken fried… rice”. Yeah, maybe not.
Anyway, you can use brown rice or white rice, or even leftover rice. What is great is you can cook the rice ahead of time and then just whip up the rest when you are ready. Super easy.
4 cups of cooked rice
1 lb. boneless chicken breast
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil, divided
1 tbsp. canola oil, divided
1 1/3 cups frozen peas
1 1/2 tsp. of minced garlic
2 large eggs lightly beaten
4 – 5 tbsp. soy sauce
salt and pepper
Cook rice as directed on package. Set aside.
Clean chicken and cut into small pieces.
In a large frying pan heat 1 1/2 tsp. of sesame oil along with 1 1/2 tsp. of canola oil over medium heat. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes or until no longer pink.
Once the chicken is cooked transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add remaining 1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil and 1 1/2 tsp. canola oil to the pan and keep at medium heat. Add peas and cook for 1 minute, then add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Push the peas to the edge of the pan and add eggs in the center. Cook to a scramble.
Return the chicken to the pan and add the cooked rice. Add soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve and enjoy! You know I like my chicken fried…..
I can officially say this is my favorite cake, and not just my favorite cake recipe, but my favorite cake. It is better than a bakery. While it is very time consuming to make, it is completely worth it. Unfortunately the vintage lighting in my Maine cottage was not very good for photos 😦
Carrot cake was my wedding cake and every year on our anniversary we would buy a carrot cake from the same bakery. When they stopped offering to bake the cake without walnuts, instead of looking for another bakery I decided I would just bake a carrot cake for our anniversary. HUGE thank you to that bakery because this cake is so much better! Now every year on our anniversary we have this cake.
Even though I do not use walnuts you can absolutely add them to this recipe if you choose. I also only use 1/2 cup raisins because no one in my family likes raisins except me. If you enjoy a carrot cake with more raisins you can increase that to 1 cup.
2 cups sugar
3 extra large eggs (room temperature)
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour (plus 1 tbsp)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. carrots grated
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease two 9″ round cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease and flour the parchment paper.
Peel the carrots and grate them using the fine side of a hand grater, you do not want the carrots shredded. Once grated put them aside. This is my least favorite part of making this cake, and pretty much the only reason I don’t make this cake more often.
In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar, eggs, and oil and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.
Stir in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture while beating on low speed with the electric mixer. The batter will be thick.
In a third bowl combine 1 tbsp. of flour with the carrots and raisins and mix well. This helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cakes.
Have you noticed the vintage Pyrex bowls yet? These were my mother’s, I love everything vintage.
Stir the carrot mixture into the cake batter and pour into prepared pans.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes and then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
Once the cakes are cool it is time to frost these delicious cakes with cream cheese frosting!
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 stick of butter softened (1/2 cup)
1 8 oz. block of cream cheese softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (or more per taste)
Using an electric mixer on medium speed beat the butter and cream cheese until well mixed and smooth. Add the vanilla and beat just until combined. Beat in the powdered sugar.
You may like the frosting sweeter and if so, just add a little more powdered sugar.
Place one of the cakes upside down on a dish or cake stand and start frosting the middle.
Place the second cake round side up on top of the first cake and finish frosting.
Make sure to keep the cake covered and refrigerated.
I have had this Pooh Cookbook since I was a child in the 70’s and the only recipe I ever remember making from it were the Popovers For Piglet. Despite the fact that I can no longer get the popovers to actually pop, I refuse to make any other recipe because every time I make these the memories make me smile. Not to mention it’s Pooh and how can you not smile with Pooh?
I feel like they used to pop, maybe? I have tried them in two different ovens and they don’t pop. They are delicious regardless, but not going to win any awards for tallest popover lol. One thing that seems to be a little different than other Popover recipes I have seen is that these contain honey. Of course they do, because Pooh loves honey!
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. melted butter
2 large eggs
Sift together the flour and salt.
Stir in the milk, honey, and melted butter.
Beat in the eggs.
Fill greased muffin tins just under half full.
Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes until the sides are rigid and tops are brown. Do not open the oven before they cook for 25 minutes or they will fall. However, mine never really popped. Hmmm.
While they may not be the most perfectly popped popovers, they are delicious!
Rice pudding is a dessert I have loved since I was a child and I always got so excited every time my mother would get ready to make it and take out her Betty Crocker cookbook. This is one of those childhood desserts that regardless of whether another recipe make look or taste better, I am sticking to this recipe because I want my rice pudding just the way it was. It may not look as creamy or appetizing as some others I have seen, but it is delicious and to me there is no better. My mother and I loved rice pudding, and now my daughter and I are the pudding fans in my family. My husband and son do not like it which just means more for us girls!
I needed a little pick me up with this gloomy weather and rice pudding was just the thing to do it!
There have been a number of different variations of this recipe over the years, but this is the Betty Crocker recipe my mother made when I was a child.
2/3 cup uncooked white rice
1 1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
Cinnamon (or Nutmeg)
Combine the rice and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered until all the water is absorbed. Around 20 minutes.
While the rice is cooking start preparing the rest of the pudding.
Whisk two eggs in an ungreased small casserole.
Add the sugar, milk, salt, and vanilla and whisk together until combined.
Add the rice and the raisins and stir well. Sadly I can never put in the full 1/2 cup raisins because I am the only one in my family that likes them.
Sprinkle the top with cinnamon (the original recipe calls for Nutmeg, but I like Cinnamon better).
Bake at 325 degrees for about an hour, stirring occasionally until a knife comes out clean.
I prefer the pudding cold so I chill before eating. I also prefer it with whipped cream on top. Yum!
I hope my childhood memories bring back some of yours as well 😊
I can be a very finicky eater especially when it comes to fish, and I will never try anything new. I basically only eat Haddock and no matter how many times my husband said I would love Halibut, I still wouldn’t try it. Recently we were given Halibut instead of Haddock at the grocery store and after I cooked it for my husband I gave in to his coaxing and tried it myself. There aren’t that many instances where I like having to tell my husband he was right, but this was one instance that I was happy he was. Not only was he right, but Halibut is now my favorite fish. If you have never had Halibut, it is a delicious white fish that is actually much better than Haddock.
The first time I made it I baked it with my normal Haddock topping which is seasoned breadcrumbs, melted butter, and seasoned salt. As I said, it was delicious. Then the second time I made it I used this Dijon crumb recipe and it was extra delicious. Amazing, trust me.
I used about a pound and a half of Halibut filets, which I removed the skin, rinsed, and put on a baking sheet.
I mixed together all of the ingredients for Topping #1 in a small bowl and spread evenly over the filets.
Topping #1 recipe:
1/4 cup mayonaise
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. prepared horseradish
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. parmesan cheese
Then I combined the ingredients for Topping #2 in another small bowl and sprinkled it evenly over the first topping.
1 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tbsp. parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Then you just bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes or until the fish is flaky. So, so good!