Molten Chocolate Cakes 2.0


Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so if your true love is chocolate, put away the boxed brownie mix and whip up these oozy chocolate cakes instead. Seriously – you have to trust me on this one. Super easy to make, and guaranteed to WOW. Plus, they can be prepped up to 2 days ahead and baked right before serving. Continue reading

Luscious Lemon-Glazed Brussels Sprouts


Raise your hand if you love Brussels sprouts but only cook them once a year? That used to be me. For one, I was the only sprouts eater in the house. Then there’s the prep – what a pain it can be trimming the dried ends off all those little cabbage balls! Finally, there’s the issue of getting the texture just right. To me, Brussels sprouts should be soft, no matter what your method of cooking. So many times I’ll see them on a “Harvest Specials” menu in a restaurant and order them thinking they sound good (i.e. “crispy roasted with bacon”). Then they arrive at the table all hard and unappealing – often tasting of nothing but bacon grease. One day I was rooting around the freezer case at the store, looking for frozen bags of brown rice, when I discovered the answer to all my Brussels sprouts issues: Continue reading

Pomegranate Sparklers


I. Love. Pomegranates. Maybe because they’re only available for a few months out of the year. (Though so are pumpkin spice lattes, and those I really could do without.) Maybe it’s because, like the best things in life, they take a little work. (See below.) Or maybe it’s because they’re beautiful inside and out, as well as irresistibly tangy/tart/juicy/sweet and good for you, too! So there’s a lot to love.

It should come as no surprise, then, that these Pomegranate Sparklers have become my go-to “house cocktail” for fall and winter entertaining (all the way through Valentine’s Day!) A little pomegranate juice, some bubbly prosecco (Italian sparkling wine), and a few jewel-like pomegranate seeds (technically arils) for a fun garnish. Easy and festive!

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Better-than-Baked-Brie Bites


There’s a lot to love about a good baked brie – golden puff pastry wrapped around a wheel of creamy cheese and a secret sweet surprise (jam, brown sugar, nuts, etc.), where the cheese and jam meld together and ooze out of the flaky crust when you first cut into it. That’s Baked Brie’s brief moment of glory, though, so you’d better eat fast. When the cheese cools, the once-elegant pastry/cheese package turns into a congealed blob, with soggy dough that contributes little more than calories. Your party guests deserve better!  Continue reading

Festive Peppermint Patties

Festive Peppermint Patties

My Ivy-educated, strawberry-blonde sister-in-law Cele has a dry wit and too many talents to itemize, though right up at the top of the list would have to be baking (which she’d deny) and her signature Christmas Cookie Platter. Such precision! Every cookie is perfectly uniform, as if each dough ball were weighed and measured before being shaping into a crescent or whatever. And for me, the stars of Cele’s famous Platter (and the first to disappear) are her quarter-sized, chocolate-dunked peppermint patties. Continue reading

“Too Good to Be Healthy” Black Bottom Cupcakes

Lighter black bottom cupcake

Can you have your cupcake and eat it too? With these lightened up, nutrition-enhanced beauties, the answer is yes! You don’t have to tell anyone that you cut back on the sugar, or that you swapped out all the oil for fat-free Greek yogurt and puréed prunes. Just don’t do as I did and eat 3 cupcakes in one sitting; that kind of works against the whole “eating healthy” idea. Continue reading

Holiday Open House 2013

Mini gingerbread cupcakes

For those who couldn’t make my Blog Holiday Open House earlier this month, here’s a little taste of what you missed.

This year’s theme was “Christmas in Paris” – I thought having a theme would help focus the menu and provide décor inspiration. Some of my menu items were legit French (i.e., gougères, or cheese puffs), but most were French-inspired/French-ish. I had fun creating a French Christmas theme board on Pinterest – a great way to organize ideas for a party.

Oui -those are little Eiffel Towers on my apron.

Oui -those are little Eiffel Towers on my apron.

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