20 yers ago, when I decided that I wanted to learn to the game of golf, I signed myself up for lessons and as luck would have it, I was assigned the world's most patient instructor. 🏌🏻♀️After our first lesson, I'm pretty sure that he didn't share my feelings of good fortune. 😅Armed with potentially harmful weapons made of iron, it's safe to say that I was a hot mess on the golf course. I didn't have any idea what I was doing and no idea how to hit a tiny white ball with a what seemed like an impossibly small rectangle on the end of a very long stick. ⛳️
He probably should have written me off as a lost cause but instead, that aforementioned uber-patient golf instructor, broke down the game of golf into very small, achievable steps for me. Even though I was ready to pull out each shiny new club in my bag and start swingin' on the very first day, he took the time to slowly and deliberately teach me the skills required to safely swing those clubs.
I strive to have this kind of patience with the people that I interact with every day. I have the patience to stand at my kitchen counter for hours on end piping the most intricate designs on sugar cookies but I get super irritated if I have to wait in line at the grocery store for more than 5 minutes 🤷🏻♀️ I can spend an hour meticulously picking leaves and weeds out of a flower bed until it's in pristine condition but I don't have the patience to wait more than 2 minutes for chocolate chip cookies to cool before I pop it in my mouth, sacrificing a burnt tongue. 🍪
It's obvious that I need to work on my patience. 😅 I think I need a little risotto therapy to help be work on my patience. Risotto isn't going to tolerate haste, swiftness or hurried cooking. It requires a certain amount concentration and focus. Stirring with one hand while periodically ladling hot liquid into the pan with the other. There's no room for multitasking while making risotto.
Lemon and Shrimp Risotto with Fresh Basil
12 ounces extra large shrimp, peeled (shells reserved)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 egg yolk (optional)
2 Tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
Adjust consistency with a Tablespoon of water if needed.
Lemon and Shrimp Risotto is hearty enough to stand on it's own as a main dish but you can also serve it alongside a grilled chicken or delicate fish dish. Either way - I think you'll agree that this risotto is delicious.
I'm so grateful that I grew up with a mom who encouraged me to write everything down. Let me clarify - I'm grateful for my mother's persistence, NOW. When I was a kid - I resented the fact that my mom would force me to sit down and write a thank you note for every single birthday and Christmas gift that I ever received. ✍🏻(Sorry about all my grumbling and complaining, mom.) 😬
I eventually found my own motivation for writing. In a word --- LOVE. I met my soul mate when I was 10 and by the time we were 16 - we were exchanging letters of affection across our high school desks. We dated for 5 years before we got married and a lot of that time we were separated because of college, boot camp and military trainings so there were a lot of love letters mailed back and forth. Even during our first 5 years of marriage, there were deployments and forced separations due to moving circumstances (#militarylife) so we resorted to letters as our primary form of communication again. No cell phones, face time, internet or zoom calls - just good old fashioned letters that were sent through the mail. (Gosh, that makes me sound old. ) 😅
Now that I'm an adult, (with a terrible memory) I'm especially thankful for the fact that my mom ingrained in me the importance of writing things down. All of that writing practice has served me well, mom. Who would have guessed that that stubborn girl who begrudgingly wrote letters to her grandparents, would be writing her own blog one day? #thanksmom
I don't write nearly as many letters as I used to these days. Sharing my recipes and stories on this blog is my preferred method of expression lately. It's not the same as having 3x5" recipe cards written in my own handwriting but it's far less messy and way easier to organize and keep track of my recipes here. 😆 I hope that you will enjoy this newest recipe for Grilled Flatbread. It's simple and super tasty.
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Flip and cook until golden brown.
Dress this flatbread up with a sprinkle of salt and fresh herbs or just enjoy it plain. I like it warm - with just a sprinkle of parmesan. It's really a perfect compliment to any meal.
What is it about eating an M&M cookie that makes me feel like a kid again? You know that I have mad appreciation for uber fancy, hoity toity desserts but there's just something about a good old fashioned butter cookie stuffed with brightly colored candy coated chocolate pieces, that I absolutely cannot resist. 😋
I'm a purist when it comes to M&Ms. Classic - plain - traditional M&Ms - all the way. So when it comes to putting them in cookies - I always choose MY favorite. #bakerschoice 😅 There are so many different M&Ms to choose from though. Can you imagine how amazing these cookies would be with brownie M&Ms, crispy M&M's or English Toffee M&Ms? My plan is to whip up another batch of these yummy M&M cookies for St. Patrick's Day by picking all the green M&Ms out of a bag. 💚 (The baker gets to eat all the leftover chocolate, right?🤣)
All of my Valentine's were under the same roof last weekend and we celebrated with all the homemade sweets. Dark chocolate drizzled granola bars, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate ganache brownies and of course, M&M cookies. In hindsight - I really should have used a bag of the pink and red Valentine M&M's to make them more Valentine-y but, oh well. 💝 They were delicious. I think I gained 5 pounds last weekend but it was worth - every - single - delicious bite. 🍪
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
12 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups M&M candies
I'll use any excuse to buy M&M's. 😂Seriously though - if you've never made M&M cookies - you need to give these cookies a try. They're amazing. And if you make them with different M&Ms - let me know how they turn out. Maybe it'll convince me to stray from my traditional M&M cookies.
They say the way to a person's heart is through their stomach. If that's true, one of the best expressions of love is to cook something special for your loved ones. Food is my love language so I naturally gravitate towards expressing my love for others with food and I don't think there's any better day to show some love through food, than on Valentine's Day. 💘
There is a longstanding tradition of giving your Valentine a box of chocolates carefully packaged into a red heart shaped box on February 14th. But if you're feeling like you want to show your love with a homemade sweet this year instead of a store bought Valentine, there's actually a whole lot treats that you can make in your very own kitchen. Just remember that your edible Valentine doesn't have to be fancy or elegant. #itsthethoughtthatcounts A simple brownie or rice crispy treat cut into a heart with a cookie cutter can make the perfect sweet treat for your favorites.
If you're looking for a little Valentine culinary inspiration, I've rounded up some of the sweet treats that I've made for my valentines in years past.
So for a couple who loves to dessert almost as much as we love each other, you better believe that we celebrate Valentine's Day and all the other holidays with sweet-tooth satisfying treats. 😂 Doesn't everyone eat green ice cream on St. Patrick's Day, monkey bread for breakfast on birthdays and cereal treats shaped into tiny pumpkins on Halloween? 🎃😅
We even celebrate Chinese New Year with homemade fortune cookies, so you better believe that we celebrate big on Valentine's Day. It doesn't matter how old my kids get, I will always make them homemade treats for Valentine's Day. I get it honestly - My mom still mails us a box of Valentine goodies every year. #thanksmom
Our plans for V-Day are still up in the air for this year but I know that whether we end up dining in our own kitchen or going out for a meal, there will be deliciously decadent ganache filled brownies waiting for us at the end of the day. I can't think of a more perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day.
Chocolate Ganache Brownies
1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips (milk, dark or semi sweet)
1/2 cup peanut butter
Spoon 1 Tablespoon of ganache into center of each brownie.
I made two different fillings for these brownies - a dark chocolate ganache and a chocolate peanut butter ganache. Choose which one you like best OR make a half batch of each, like me, so your Valentine's can choose own their filling.
It's Superbowl Sunday so obviously, I made Broccoli Chick Pea Salad. 😂 Who needs chicken wings and nachos when you've got a giant bowl of dark, green vegetables and legumes??? (So who wants invitation to my next Superbowl party?) 🥦🏈
The thing is - broccoli tops the very short list of vegetables that my family actually enjoys. I make it in as many different ways as I possibly can because the alternative is to eat steamed broccoli three nights a week. 😬 Some of my favorite ways to prepare this most requested vegetable are broccoli fritters, grilled broccoli, roasted broccoli, broccoli casserole and broccoli salads.
Broccoli salad has been one of my standby side dishes for summer picnics for a long time. I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting ways to make broccoli salad which is why I decided to give this new take on a traditional broccoli salad a whirl. Warm broccoli and crunchy chick peas tossed in a light, lemon, parmesan, oil based dressing - this little gem is a keeper.
Broccoli Chick Pea Salad
1/2 cup parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
15 ounce can chick peas
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds broccoli florets
Transfer broccoli to chick pea bowl and toss to combine. Serve warm.
I hesitate to even categorize this Broccoli and Chick Pea creation as a "salad." It's best enjoyed warm which makes it seem more like a side dish and less like a salad. Whatever you choose to call it - I think you'll agree that it's delicious.
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