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!
I had never made a pumpkin roll, or any type of roll for that matter and I was really excited to try it. I remember my mother making a chocolate roll I believe, but I never really paid attention to how she made it. I was surprised to read that you needed to roll the cake up in a towel, but you actually do. It makes sense when you think about it. If you were to wait for it to cool, it wouldn’t roll. If you were to roll it warm without the towel it would just stick together. You learn something new everyday!
My son takes a remote cooking class through school and today’s recipe was this pumpkin roll, which I believe is the Libby’s pumpkin recipe. He was not as excited as I was, of course. Since it is a remote class I am always in the kitchen helping him cook and giving him little pointers if he needs them, and today was a learning day for me too! I will definitely make this recipe again because it was fairly easy, and delicious!
I know I am supposed to let him do everything by himself, but since I wanted to blog about it I jumped in a little here and there.
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup powdered sugar for towel
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
Grease a 10″ x 15″ cooking sheet or jelly roll pan. Add parchment paper and grease and flour the paper. Not wax paper, which the original recipe calls for. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat together eggs and sugar, then beat in pumpkin until combined.
Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
It wasn’t easy taking pictures without his teaching noticing through the computer camera lol.
Spread the batter evenly on the prepared pan, and bake for 13-15 minutes until the cake bounces back when touched.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of powdered sugar on to a kitchen towel. This will prevent the cake from sticking to the towel. My powdered sugar was really clumpy for some reason, next time I will sift the sugar onto the towel.
The next part had me very confused, I must admit. How to get the cake onto the towel without breaking it. I just grabbed onto both edges of the cake while it was on the parchment paper and flipped quickly. Luckily it didn’t break!
Then you start rolling up the cake in the towel. After it is rolled let it cool on a cooling rack for an hour.
Prepare the frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the vanilla and beat. Then beat in the sifted powdered sugar until combined.
Unroll the cake carefully and spread the frosting evenly over the cake.
Re-roll the cake and wrap with plastic wrap. Our cake did crack as you can see. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Store in the refrigerator.
Once it is cool, sift some powdered sugar on top and slice.
I was a little impatient and didn’t let it get cold enough before cutting and the frosting smudged a little. It tastes amazing! So good!
This is a recipe my mother made when we had leftover chicken or turkey when I was growing up. If I remember correctly, she may have made them with ham as well. I don’t think I have had them since I lived at home many years ago. Once again, I got her recipe out of her beloved Betty Crocker cookbook. I did tweak it a little here and there, but it is pretty much the same as she used to make.
I wasn’t able to cook them the night I prepared the croquettes and I wasn’t sure how they would come out a day later. They were perfect! So now I know you can make them a day ahead and keep them in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
The original recipe calls for frozen peas in a cream sauce, does that even exist anymore? I am not sure what my mother did for this part of the recipe, I just remember there being a white sauce with peas. I went with the variation of using plain frozen peas and the Veloute Sauce that it gave as an option.
I have to say, I didn’t expect them to be as delicious as they were. Very good!
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
salt and pepper
2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
1 tbsp. minced onion
1 tsp. parsley
2 tbsp. water
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
8 oz. frozen peas
Veloute Sauce (see below)
The first thing you need to do is finely chop chicken and set aside. I did not have leftover chicken as my mother used to, so I cooked a few boneless chicken breasts. The next time I have leftovers I will think to make these.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low/medium heat. Add some salt and pepper, then whisk in the flour to create a roux. I actually used a little more flour than it called for.
Add the milk while whisking and bring to a boil. This sauce thickened in no time so be prepared. It may be because of the additional flour that I used.
Mix the chicken, onion (I didn’t use onion because my son doesn’t like onion), parsley, and salt and pepper in with the thick sauce.
Spread into an ungreased dish and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Divide the mixture into 12 equal parts and shape into balls. Beat the egg and water together. Combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Dip each ball into the egg mixture, then roll in the breadcrumb parmesan mixture. The parmesan wasn’t in the original recipe but I like to add a little cheese. Cover and refrigerate for another 2 hours.
The original recipe calls for the croquettes to be fried in 3 to 4 inches of oil, which I did. Next time I think I might try baking them at 350 degrees to cut out some of the fat. You can do either and I would imagine they taste better fried. Doesn’t everything?
It only takes about a minute or two until they turn brown.
While they are cooking prepare the sauce.
Veloute Sauce –
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes creating a roux. Whisk in the chicken broth and heat to boiling while whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute then stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
As I have been flipping through the pages of my mother’s beloved Betty Crocker cookbook, I came across the Snickerdoodles recipe that she made for years. These crunchy cinnamon sugar cookies were often waiting for my children when they would visit as they are one of their favorites. So in honor of my mom, I am baking them today not only as a treat for my children, but to share her recipe with all of you.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and eggs.
In a separate bowl mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
Mix flour mixture into the butter mixture.
In a small bowl or plate mix together the sugar and cinnamon.
Shape the dough into balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. The ones I made were a little too big and they almost stuck together. Either make the balls a little smaller, or space them apart further.
Bake for 8-9 minutes or until set. Immediately remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and transfer to a wire rack.
I lost my mother recently and you really don’t know what that feels like until it happens to you. I always felt so badly for those that had lost their mothers, but you don’t realize the chunk of your heart that is taken away until your mother is taken away. There is such a hole in my heart that I doubt will ever truly mend.
My mother was a stay at home mom that cooked and baked constantly. Our cookie jar was always filled with homemade cookies, and my friends would go straight to the jar when they would come to my house. My mother always cooked from her Betty Crocker cookbook that she received as a wedding gift and giving me one for my wedding was her most important task. She cherished that book so much and felt it was so important for me to have one as well. As I have said in previous blogs, my Betty Crocker cookbook is like gold to me. Mine is missing the cover and the pages are stained and sticky from my years of use, as is my mother’s.
As a child I was always looking through her cookbook as it was pretty much always out. I could never get enough of the pictures and would often help my mother bake from that beloved cookbook. She is the reason for my love of baking. I always knew that book was special, but never knew exactly how special until she passed away and my father gave it to me. I haven’t looked through that book since I was living at home with my parents. Sometimes I would ask her to give me certain recipes since they were no longer included in my updated version of the cookbook, but I had not physically seen it in years.
With its ripped spine and how my mother had covered it with a green and white 70’s shelf paper. That book is my mother. That book is the mother I remember so fondly, the mother that was home every day with me as a child and putting a smile on my face with those foods. While it is devastatingly hard to look through right now, I hope that my children remember these wonderful things about me. The foods I made to make them smile. I never realized how powerful food can be until now.
The goal of starting my blog and sharing my favorite recipes was in hopes of making other people’s families as happy as my family has been. Despite the fact that I cry every time I even glance at my mother’s cookbook, I am going to start making her favorite recipes and share them with all of you as a tribute to her. Many of these recipes aren’t even available on-line. While she hadn’t even made most of these recipes in years, I remember them so well. The Chicken Croquettes, Turkey a la King, the birthday cakes with marshmallow animals sitting on top of the green food color dyed coconut, the Boston Creme Pie….
I hope my mother knew how important all her cooking and baking was to me. I hope she is proud of me for not only continuing that cooking and baking for my family, but for making her recipes to constantly remember her. I love you Mom.
Is there anything better than Mac and Cheese? The answer is no, there isn’t. It is the ultimate comfort food. I could eat mac and cheese every day and would not tire of it. If you are feeling a little spicy, why not give that heavenly mixture of macaroni and cheese a little kick with some buffalo sauce.
This recipe is just a little spin off of the regular mac and cheese recipe that I normally make. It is also a recipe for baked mac and cheese, but if you prefer it unbaked just skip the breadcrumb topping and baking step. I always preferred it baked, but now I am starting to lean more towards unbaked. Either is delicious and I alternate back and forth.
This is also one of those recipes that I make without measuring everything so please bear with the lack of accurate measurements.
Now let’s get to that cheesy goodness!
1 lb. pasta
8 oz. block of cheddar cheese
4 oz. block pepperjack cheese
3 cups milk
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup Buffalo sauce
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
7 tbsp. butter, divided
1 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
Shred the cheddar and pepperjack cheeses and set aside. I recommend using block cheese and shredding it yourself. You can use pre-shredded cheese, but using block cheese gives it better flavor.
Shred some cooked chicken, you can use as much as you would like. I am guessing I used about a cup or a cup and a half.
Start getting the pasta ready to cook. The sauce takes about 10 minutes so gear when to start the pasta based on that.
Melt 4 tbsp. of butter in a saucepan. Add some pepper and some ground mustard and whisk together. I just sprinkle some in, maybe about two shakes of the ground mustard. You can also use about a tsp. of regular mustard if you don’t have ground mustard.
Add flour and whisk to create a roux. I don’t measure the flour, I just add some and then add a little more until it becomes the consistency seen in the second photo below. It is really important to constantly whisk during this step.
Add the milk while whisking well to really incorporate the roux into the milk. Add the buffalo sauce, use as much as you think you would like. I always tend to put less and then have it on the table for people to add more if they prefer. Bring to a low boil while continuing to whisk frequently.
Once boiled reduce heat to a simmer and add the cheese. Whisk well until all the cheese is melted. As you can see I dropped some cheese on my stove, ooops.
Keep simmering and whisking frequently until pasta is cooked.
If you prefer an unbaked mac and cheese, just mix the pasta, chicken and cheese sauce together in the pan and serve.
If you would like it baked, put half of the pasta and all the chicken into a greased casserole dish. Pour in half of the cheese sauce and stir it together. Look at that yummy cheese!
Add the rest of the pasta and the rest of the sauce to the casserole. Stir.
Mix together 3 tbsp. of melted butter with the breadcrumbs and blue cheese. If you like a lot of blue cheese, add more than the 1 tbsp.
Sprinkle over the top of the casserole and bake covered with aluminum foil for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, and an additional 5-10 minutes uncovered until bubbly.
I had to do something today to help with the Election stress, and baking always helps. My son has been requesting a Coffee Cake for a little while so that is what I decided to bake. Coffee Cake is such a nice afternoon comfort food with a cup of coffee, and hit the spot today for sure.
However, the election stress did contribute to me making it upside down! Ugh. I use a bundt pan and was not thinking straight I guess and neglected to put the topping on the bottom since you flip the cake. It tasted the same but thankfully I wasn’t bringing it somewhere because it did look a little strange. Don’t look too hard at the photo because you can tell.
If you have ever noticed how wonderfully moist a Coffee Cake is, it is because one of the ingredients is sour cream. It adds such a wonderful touch doesn’t it? On a side note, sour cream also makes mashed potatoes better. Ok, now back to the cake.
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups of flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease and flour a bundt pan.
Beat together the softened butter, sugar, and eggs until smooth and set aside.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. I recommend sifting the ingredients together. Sift, sift, sift, it makes a difference!
Alternate adding the flour mixture with the sour cream to the wet mixture. Mix well after each addition.
For the topping mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a small bowl.
Sprinkle half of the topping inside the bundt pan. Top with half of the batter, then the other half of the topping, and the other half of the batter.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before flipping the cake out of the pan and on to a plate.
The flavors of a S’mores really do go wonderfully together. Tasting graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow in the same bite is so yummy. The great thing about this version of a S’mores is you don’t need a campfire to make it. You can absolutely drink it next to a campfire, however, but if it is raining, cold, or you just don’t feel like being outside, do not fret.
I had been thinking about making this type of martini and since marshmallow vodka is not a flavor you can buy, I found a whipped cream flavor vodka and I thought this might due. And it did! It tastes very much like a S’mores and it is a delicious treat.
2 oz. of whipped cream vodka
1 1/2 oz. of chocolate liqueur
Crush the graham crackers and spread them out on a small plate. Wet the rim of a martini glass and dip in the crackers to make a graham cracker rim.
Squeeze some chocolate syrup on the inside of the glass.
Add ice, vodka, and chocolate liqueur into a cocktail shaker. Shake well and pour into your prepared martini glass. Garnish with marshmallows on a cocktail stick.
Happy Halloween!! When my children were younger I used to love decorating for Halloween and making spooky fun treats. I haven’t had the opportunity in a few years but I loved looking back at these photos and remembering how much fun my children had.
One of my favorite creations was this meat foot, in fact I think I will make this tonight for dinner. Why not, right? My husband might think I’ve lost it, but I am pretty sure he already does.
I just made a regular meatloaf, you can use any recipe you like. Shaped it into a foot, used onion slices as toenails and more slices and a chunk of onion for the bone stump (gross to even say that), and ketchup as blood. Then just bake it as you normally would and voila! Spooky meatloaf!
This Guacamole Frankenstein is perfect for younger kids, or older. Spread guacamole onto a platter, use blue corn tortilla chips as the “hair”, sour cream as the eyes, and then use black olives as the facial features. So cute!
Every Halloween gathering needs a spooky Witch’s Brew! This Eyeball Punch was just plain fruit punch with some floating plastic eyeballs. Of course if it is for an adult party you can add some alcohol if you choose.
Who doesn’t love Deviled Eggs? Halloween is a perfect time to turn those deviled eggs into bloodshot eyes. Make them as you normally would, add a black olive slice and a little red gel frosting, and there you go!
And of course the classic Pillsbury Crescent Rolls Mummy hot dogs. So easy and fun, and yummy!
Ok, now this final Halloween treat is gross. Really, really gross so be prepared.
This was one of the funniest, and grossest, things I have ever made and tricked someone with. Years ago, hence the poor quality photo, when my husband and I were first married we had a Halloween party and put out this cake to fool people. At the time we did have a cat which made this cake more believable. I think the worst part was that until everyone found out it was a cake, people thought we were the type of people that left a dirty litter box in the middle of our kitchen.
At one point during the party my husband picked up the “litter box” and said he was sorry it was there and excused himself to go empty it. As he was walking through our guests he picked up the scoop and took a bite. The look of pure horror on everyone’s face was priceless!
Warning, this cake looks real and absolutely disgusting in person. Even though you know it is a new clean litter box and scoop, it still grosses you out to eat from it.
Kitty Litter Cake
2 boxes yellow cake mix
1 package of vanilla sandwich cookies like Oreos
1 package vanilla pudding mix
Green food coloring
Cook the cake as directed, cool and crumble. Crush the sandwich cookies into crumbs. Prepare the pudding as directed.
Mix the crumbled cake with the pudding and half of the crushed cookies. Spread the cake mixture into the kitty litter pan. **New and clean kitty litter pan.
Mix the remaining half of the crushed cookies with a few drops of green food coloring, this makes it look like the chlorophyll in actual kitty litter. You don’t want the mixture green, but for there to be little bits of it green here and there.
Sprinkle the green tinted crushed cookies over the top of the cake.
Microwave the Tootsie Rolls for a few seconds until they are soft enough that you can shape them to look like poop. So gross, I know!
Then place them on the cake as a cat would, and kind of bury them a little.
Whoopie! It is snowing outside, in October, which makes it a perfect day to bake! Despite the snow, it is still pumpkin everything season and time to make some more pumpkin treats for my family as well as my daughter and her college friends.
I am generally not a big Whoopie Pie fan because I just don’t like the typical marshmallow filling. BUT there are other options, such as cream cheese. Let’s hear another “whoopie” for cream cheese! So these yummy little treats not only have that wonderful pumpkin spice flavor, but cream cheese filling. The best of both worlds!
I absolutely love my cream cheese frosting recipe, so why not use that as the filling? Originally I suggested cutting the frosting recipe in half, but after listening to some reviews I am putting it back to the original way so you can really fill those cakes!
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tbsp. ground cloves
1/2 tbsp. ginger
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), softened
8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 – 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
For the cakes, in a large mixing bowl mix together the brown sugar and oil. It looks like slush doesn’t it?
Mix in the eggs and pumpkin and set aside.
In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger in a mixing bowl. Sift all of the ingredients together and set aside. Remember what I always say, sift, sift, sift! It really does make a difference.
Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Mix in the vanilla. The batter should be thick. Let it sit for a few minutes to thicken up even more.
Use a large cookie scoop and gently scoop the dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Using a cookie scoop helps to keep the cakes uniform in size. I use a knife to clean up the edges if they aren’t perfectly round.
Bake for 10-11 minutes or until set at 350 degrees. Cool on the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
They look so perfect don’t they? Now cool completely before frosting.
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.
Spread a good amount of frosting onto the flat side of one of the cakes going almost to the edge and top with another similarly shaped cake.
Honestly one of the best things I have ever eaten! So good!
Keep refrigerated because of the cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!
I was feeling a little down and unmotivated the other day and I took some time for myself to just watch a feel good movie. I chose Julie & Julia and it was just the movie I needed to give me a jump start back into cooking, and a smile when I needed one. I have seen that movie a few times, and it is one of those movies that you can watch again and again and still enjoy it.
If you haven’t seen the movie, it is about a woman named Julie that decided to make every recipe in Julia Childs’ cookbook and blog about each one. While I share some similarities with Julie in blogging about food, I have no desire to make every one of Julia’s recipes. The only recipe I have made is this recipe but with lamb instead of the beef it calls for, and it is absolutely delicious. It is a hearty stew perfect for the colder weather. I hadn’t made it in quite some time and the movie encouraged me to get some lamb and get cooking!
This is not Julia’s exact recipe. As I stated I use lamb instead of beef, and I have changed the ingredients and directions slightly.
6 oz. bacon
3-4 lbs. boneless lamb leg
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 carrot, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. flour
2 cups red wine
3 cups beef broth
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
4 -5 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp. butter
For this stew you will need a heavy dutch oven pot that can be used on top of the stove, and in the oven.
Trim the fat off of the meat and cut into bite size cubes. Pat the meat dry with papertowels so that the meat will brown. Set aside.
Chop the bacon into small pieces. Heat the olive oil in the dutch oven and add the bacon.
After the bacon has cooked for a few minutes and is starting to brown, transfer it to a bowl using a slotted spoon and set aside.
Start cooking the lamb in batches in the bacon grease until it browns.
Transfer the meat to the same bowl as the bacon and set aside.
Cook the carrot, onion, and potato in the lamb and bacon juices for a few minutes until they start to brown.
Drain the liquid from the pot and add the lamb and bacon back in with the vegetables.
Stir in the salt and pepper. Then add the 2 tbsp. of flour and stir well.
Set the oven to 450 degrees and cook for 4 minutes. Stir and continue cooking for an additional 4 minutes and remove from the oven.
Reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees.
Add the wine, beef broth (enough to just cover the meat), tomato paste garlic and herbs. Bring to a boil on top of the stove then cover and transfer to the oven.
Cook for 2 1/2 hours. Check the stew to make sure it is only cooking at a low simmer. If boiling too high lower the heat of the oven.
While the stew is cooking, saute the mushrooms and butter in a frying pan until cooked and brown. Set aside.
Once you remove the stew from the oven, drain the liquid into a saucepan.
Simmer the liquid for a few minutes while skimming the fat from the top before adding the liquid back in with the meat. Add the mushrooms at this time as well.
I have found the stew is not thick enough after doing this and I mix 1 tbsp. corn starch with 1 tbsp. water and add it to the stew and cook on the stove for a few minutes. If you prefer it thicker, use more cornstarch and water.