In the kitchen

I’ve been on a cookie-baking binge the last couple of days. I made several batches of snickerdoodles, my favorite cookie ever, from this excellent recipe. I replaced the regular salt with a honey infused salt that added an extra salty flavor. I want to make a batch of over-sized snickerdoodles soon.

I’m also planning to make this pear bread next. Then of course the kids want to make the decorated sugar cookies that end up being such a sugary mess! We’ll make those this weekend.

What are your favorite recipes for holiday sweets?

Butternut Squash

Again this fall, I find myself looking for ways to use all the squash appearing in our farm share box (or as the kids call it the “surprise vegetables”). While I love butternut squash, one can only eat so much of it with pasta and greens.

So I made these pumpkin muffins, substituting baked and pureed butternut squash for the pumpkin. I added walnuts to the top, but you could add oats for a nut-free treat. Even the kids loved these muffins.

Then I made some fall chili, throwing in all the fall vegetables we had in the fridge — butternut squash, acorn squash, sweet potato and zucchini. I roasted the veggies in the oven with garlic and olive oil then added them to the chili (with cannellini beans, black beans, onions, celery, green and yellow peppers, green chilies and fire-roasted tomatoes) . Instead of the usual cilantro, I added a bundle of thyme and sage for more fall flavor, and topped it off with feta cheese.

Taste of Fall


Break out the butter and make some sweets to celebrate fall.  Here are some recipes that I posted last year.  It seems that my interest in cooking is renewed as the seasons change.  And not to worry-we’ll soon be wearing bulky sweaters to hide our love of fall comfort food!

Triple Apple Muffins

Pumpkin Pound Cake

Pumpkin Cheesecake (this one’s my favorite)

Here are some other fall recipes:

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Sage and Pine Nuts from Apartment Therapy.

Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad from Epicurious.

Cranberry and Pear Chutney from The Perfect Pantry.

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries from Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Vegetarian Chili from Herbivoracious.

Fall Harvest Desserts from Martha Stewart.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling from Vegan YumYum.

And check out this post from Chow on Cooking with Fall Ingredients.

Summer Reading Craft #4



This week we read Hansel and Gretel as re-told by Cynthia Rylant and beautifully illustrated by Jen Corace.  The Grimm Brothers told some creepy stories, didn’t they?  They were the fear-mongers of the 19th century; now we just have cable news.

This faithful re-telling of the story starts off:

It has been said that guardian spirits watch over and protect small children, and that may be so.  But there are also stories of children who find the courage to protect themselves.  Such is the story of Hansel and Gretel.

I really don’t recommend this tale for the littlest of children, but my four-year-old and six-year-old were able to handle it now that they have some semblance of rational thinking — enough to realize that there are no children-eating witches (but they are not ready to read The Road yet).  The illustrations have a handmade aesthetic with Hansel and Gretel sleeping under a very nice quilt and romping through the woods in cool indie clothes.  Ooh, and I love the witch’s wallpaper.  That witch has great taste.


Anyway, we decided to make a cake house for the story project.  Originally I wanted to make a printable paper house that the kids could color, but my kids wouldn’t stand for it.  “It says that the house is made of cake and sugar!”  Okay, fine.  So we got a boxed cake mix and some hippie-style organic candy, and there you go.  Cake house.  Apparently our house has a pet elephant too.  I’m sure you can make something much more elaborate, maybe even with a house-shaped pan.  Give it a try.




I don’t know about you, but when it’s cold out I like to stay inside and eat cookies.  I made these chocolate chip cookies after my friend Laura sent me the link to the recipe — The New York Times cookies.  I used regular flour, regular chocolate chips plus some white chocolate chunks and an ice cream scoop to get them the right size.


These would be great for Valentine’s Day and I think a single cookie would make a nice little gift for a teacher or co-worker.  I’ve always loved this Martha Stewart CD sleeve idea, but you could just wrap them with parchment paper and twine as I did here.