Ride or Die Vol. 1

This edition of Ride or Die is focused on the kitchen tools every cook should have. Here they are in no particular order: hand mixer, classic chef’s knife, knife sharpener, wooden spoon, slotted metal spoon, vegetable peeler, milk frother, measuring cups and spoons, mandoline, cutting board with deep well, and a citrus juicer.

Allow me to elaborate a touch:

Using a frother gives this home barista latte vibes and I’m HERE for it!

I adore home made chocolate chip cookies, don’t associate with anyone who doesn’t matter of fact. Measuring spoons and cups ensure accuracy a baker needs while a hand mixer gives me total control over the batters consistency. #TypeA #OCD #ControlFreak

Vegetables, fresh ones, require a bit of effort upon purchase. I prep all veggies straight away. This could entail peeling them, rinsing, drying, or keeping them fresh in containers, some full of water (i.e. carrots, celery, etc). Thanks for that pro tip, Downshiftology! I’ve noticed that when prepped vegetables are at eye level in the fridge, one is more compelled to nibble on them rather than cookies.

Week Night All Star Vol. 3

When inspo is running thin and the dinner bell is T-Minus from ringing, you gotta pull yourself together and #MakeItWork #TimGunn

This week a frozen bag of stir fry veggies were front and center, while Kikkoman stir fry sauce took this week night dish to varsity status. My tip for pulling off a spontaneous meal: listen to your fridge. If you have fresh ingredients on hand, use them up. If you have leftover bits and bobs, transform them into something new. A colorfully dressed salad will give life to tired grilled chicken. And do NOT underestimate the power of a great dressing or sauce!

Dinner Party

Girls night in? Yes, PLEASE! Whether it’s a patio party or a casual tapas spread at my basement bar, I’m here for it. I love to cook and entertain, and have been doing just that for my best of girlfriends. We sipped gin cocktails, dinned on grilled shrimp salads and nibbled at charcuterie and fruit boards. Last but certainly not least, the night commenced with decadent red velvet brownies and chocolate chip cookies.

Major shout out to Kimberly Stevens the author of Savor. This cookbook is full of delicious dips and beautiful boards. (The Green Goddess Dip on page 177 was amazing!)

Meals for Munchkins

One will do almost anything to get kiddos to eat. I myself have cut a hotdog into an octopus, used a ‘(fart) cloud’ cookie cuter to lore them into eating sandwiches, and many more zany tactics. Presentation matters most to kiddos, while taste comes secondary. In addition to the what and how, the WHERE also plays a significant role in their satisfaction. If a meal is served in a different place or presented in a special way, the likelihood is high you’ll have members in the Clean Plate Club. The effort and creativity that goes into arranging and staging food for my boys is so EXTRA! Wonder where they get that from?!

I Heart Cooking

You could say I’ve loved cooking all my life. I love the connection. I love that you make a memory with the person you’re cooking with and how that memory bonds you together forever. It’s intimate. Cooking tells you things about yourself you wouldn’t know otherwise. My earliest memories with my grandma’s involved cooking, baking, or preparing a meal together. My grandmothers cooked with me and encouraged me in the kitchen at a very young age. They instilled confidence and curiosity, my fundamental building blocks in the kitchen.

Cast Iron Cooking

Recently I’ve been raving about cooking with cast iron cookware and thought I’d share the reasons why they’re my ‘go to’.

If you never have, you should! Cooking with cast iron is fun, and fun is good! Ya feel me, Dr Seuss? Cast iron cookware is where it’s at…like two turn tables and a microphone! But for all its many advantages, I believe it eludes home cooks with mystery. Here, we’ll discuss how to use them, how to care for them, and generally speaking what to cook in them.

For a simple video on how to clean your cast iron, click here.  

The first time I ever saw cast iron in use, was by my dad at our Fourth of July party. It was a 30 pound cast iron campfire kettle that has been passed down through generations. That’s the first thing I love about cast iron, heirloom status. My dad made corn on the cob using this giant stately kettle. I watched the rustic process unfold and was immensely impressed; one that my dad knew how to cook and two that this giant kettle on a tripod with fire underneath was still highly functional. The next day before he returned it to his uncle, I watched him gently clean it and coat the surface with vegetable oil. It was so glossy and black, just gorgeous!

Let’s get down to business. So what are the best things to cook in cast iron? Brace yourself…ANYTHING! It’s the most uncomplicated cookware you’ll ever buy and if taken care of properly can be passed down for generations. I will only prepare steak in cast iron, because the skillet distributes heat evenly and can tolerate very high temperatures. On the stovetop I sear the meat on medium high heat, then transfer to a 400 degree oven for the remainder of cook time. Most recently I made a frittata, green bean casserole and chicken noodle soup in my cast iron skillet and Le Creuset dutch oven. It’s a kitchen essential in my humble opinion. Give it a go and set forth on a culinary adventure!

Pint Size Parties

As the homeroom mom for my boys, I know a thing a two about a thing or two. And those things involve PARTY SNACKS! Let’s be honest, their take away is and always will be the food…and musical chairs #CrowdPleaser. These treats are my boys personal faves; #1 Oreo Sparkle Pops, #2 Easter Pretzels, and #3 Holiday Tree. These beauties came curtesy of the ‘Pinterest Moms’. Check out my Pint Size Parties board for more inspo!

Coffee House

So my gf’s coming over for coffee and naturally I want to WOW her! I’m grinding my own coffee beans and putting on the kettle for some fabulous French Press! #boujee

If you are wondering why I go on and on about french press coffee being the SHIZZZ, it’s because it is SPECIAL! If you’re a coffee connoisseur then you already know. I put it to my Mom (who doesn’t drink coffee…hold for gasp!) like this, it’s like comparing a knock off Louis Vuitton to the real thing. You just know! Obviously she’s a handbag girl and this scenario speaks her language.

When my friends come round I love to cook for them and send them home with treats. Today I’m baking rosemary & currant scones and serving them with an array of spreads and jams. I love them with honey, cinnamon honey butter, fig jam or Sarabeth’s Preserves.

We’ll chat about life as SAHM’s (stay at home mom) and laugh that our husbands are honorary co-chairs of NADS (National Association of Dads Society)!

Nambe Cheese Board
Bedillion honey, Sarabeth’s preserves and Dalmatia fig spread all pair well with these Rosemary & Currant Scones