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Juno-and-Mommy-at-Home2015edit1024x768When you birth two babies in one year (a full blown business and a child) life moves at the speed of light. Both seem like just yesterday and yet, I’m recognizing the telltale signs of change. In the life of a child, these come frequently (crawling to standing, standing to walking, nursing to eating, babbling to talking, baby to toddler, and toddler to child). This year the change has been different — the line from toddler to child is bolder, more distinct. More independence, more freedom is desired and necessary — even if you have to nudge them a bit. (My son will be 7 this year.) The same seems to be true of this writing life. I’ve hit a fork in the road and I’m stumbling around a bit like a newly walking child trying desperately to run but still a bit afraid of leaving what is safe. (more…)

 
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During the winter months, as life gets busier with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and I am wont to run around with my family spontaneously looking at holiday lights but still needing desperately to meet deadlines, I find something has to be trimmed down in the ol’ sche-duly. The only place left to make cuts in such a tightly packed schedule seems to be in the making and eating of food. But since we are not a fast food family and we really hate boring food (my boys are foodies too!) I turn to other kinds of easy to please meals. One of which is soup, like this Tuscan Two-Day Christmas soup. (more…)

 
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Once we hit the full throttle of fall and the holidays start stacking up around each corner of the calendar, I get the itch to bake. Of course, there are the requisite cookies, pies, and cupcakes but when it comes to breads of any kind, I mostly steer clear. That is, until now. So what’s with my sudden interest in bread baking?

It is due in no small part to a great new book out right now, called Make Ahead Bread, by my friend and former Virtual Potluck colleague, Donna Currie.

Donna’s new book takes you by the hand and makes it all seem so easy and fun, whether you’re a novice or a semi-regular baker, a full-force wheat belly or gluten-free glutton, she will get you excited about the idea of bread baking. (Plus, there is a totally freaking AWESOME giveaway below bound to make lots of people happy!) (more…)

 
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A view of the vines at Penner Ash Wine Cellars

I came to wine (and drinking in general, for that matter) late in life. In high school and all through my 20s, I was straight edge — I never touched the stuff. Somewhere in my 30s, I decided I knew and trusted myself enough not to follow in the genetic line and become an alcoholic.

FUN FACT: My first official entry into the world of drinking was a shot called a duckfart in hotel bar in Vancouver, Canada. (Go Canada!)

Because I was older when I came to drinking, I didn’t go through the requisite teenage binge drinking in an effort to figure out my limits — my limits were pretty firmly in place from the beginning. This meant that as I began imbibing, I was not only interested in finding the things that I enjoyed drinking (both taste and feel) but I was also very mindful of how, whatever I was drinking, would pair with food. This kind of mindset brought me, naturally, to wine. (more…)

 
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Gluten-free Buttermilk BrowniesI first tasted buttermilk brownies WAY back in the day, some 20 years or so ago. Back before my European travels and before I began writing professionally, in my “other life” as an optician. It has been nearly that long maybe 16 years) since I have had a pan of these fluffy, light, extra moist, chocolatey delights but with my birthday coming up in September — I had a sudden nostalgic hankering. (more…)

 
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GymTato sweet potatoe, chicken, prosciutto, spinach and tahini spread When you’re working out, you want the right combination of energy to see you through. Bodybuilders tend to drink a lot of protein shakes and eat a LOT of baked chicken and sweet potatoes. This is because they want lean muscle — not extra fat. With grains off-limits and sugar a no-no, many Paleo enthusiasts avidly participating in the cross-fit craze, also turn to their fair share of chicken and sweet potatoes. In fact, so do other low carb dieters like diabetics, “It girl” actresses, and generally anyone with belly fat stores (NOTE: Having excess belly fat puts you at a greater risk for health issues and may be a sign of estrogen dominance or insulin resistance.) (more…)

 
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Thai Chicken Larb recipeIn the summer, we eat lighter, fresher, brighter tasting foods. Seasonal eating for summer is a wonderful way to take pleasure in the moment and to give your body a break from so much of the rich heaviness that brings comfort in the cold in winter. There are many dishes I like to make and equate instantly with summer (like zucchini patties topped with lime, greek yogurt and mint; chicken and lamb kebabs; BBQ short ribs; grilled flank steak served with Fuul topped with diced tomato and feta, sliced avocado, and corn, red pepper and jalapeno; and watermelon, cucumber and red onion salad with orange champagne vinaigrette — mmmmm, soooo many!) But one of my favorites is Thai Larb Salad. (more…)

 
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IMG_1248.jpgSome people hate Valentine’s Day.

I’m not one of them. For someone like me, whose idea of religion consists of food and love, it’s the perfect kind of holiday. In fact, Valentine’s Day is my second favorite holiday — right after Thanksgiving. And yes, I understand it’s corporate derived to get you to buy loads of chocolate, wine, flowers and jewelry — but like anything, I think Valentine’s Day is what you make of it.

I like to make it about cooking and love — MeatLove. (more…)

 
 
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Easy Peasy Holiday Chocolate Pie

Easy Peasy Holiday Chocolate Pie

 

There are some things in this life that never disappoint — chocolate is one of them. During the holidays, I usually go a little off the rails, especially when it comes to chocolate and chocolate pie is a fave. In fact, it was the one thing I craved so much when I was preggers (besides steak tacos) that I actually ate half a pie — only once (don’t judge, if you check the conversion sheet, every girl is auto-allowed half a pie when she’s pregnant.) This year for Christmas, we’re at my MIL’s house in Maryland (it was snowing when we got here but now it’s in the 70s — go figure!) and we’re headed to my SIL’s house tonight for a little family gathering around the backyard fire pit. (more…)