Strawberry Mojito Pitchers

Well, it’s September and I’m finally getting back to posting stuff. Living in a city where we only get a few months of warmth each year it seems as though we try to pack it all into a shortened time frame. There were weddings and parties, happy hours and out of town trips, coupled with trying to take our boat out any chance we could get. On top of all that, we bought another house, celebrated 5 years of marriage & I turned 30! All that equals zero time left for me to cook, let alone photograph my meals when I do, but here’s some iPhone pics to catch you up.

photo 5

Sissy & I out on the boat

photo 3

Girls weekend in Put-in-Bay, Ohio

photo 4

Hubby & I at a friend’s wedding

photo 2

One of many delicious dinner parties!

photo 1

Our new house!

My 30th birthday

My 30th birthday

Birthday party decor

Birthday party decor

One thing that I was able to make and perfect this summer was this delicious pitcher of Strawberry Mojitos! If you want to make it ahead, combine all ingredients except for the mint and strawberries until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Strawberry Mojito Pitchers

Strawberry Mojito Pitchers

  • juice of 4 limes
  • juice of 4 lemons
  • 1 bottle Bacardi Rum (750 ml)
  • 3/4 cup simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 bottle club soda (1L), plus more if desired
  • splash of orange juice or lemonade
  • several handfuls of fresh mint
  • fresh strawberries, quartered

To make the simple syrup, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup white sugar in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher, stir and serve!

Garlic-Parmesan Pita Chips

Garlic-Parmesan Pita Chips

I bought a bag of pitas from the store with the intent of using them as wraps for lunch and whatnot, but rather than them being pliable, doughy and delicious they were dry and broke when I tried to roll them into a wrap. So here I was, stuck with a bag of pitas, not wanting to eat them and definitely not wanting to throw them out. Ah hah! Pita chips had to be easy, right? Right! Armed with a sharp knife, olive oil, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese I set out to not waste an entire bag of perfectly, albeit dry, pitas. Success!

Garlic-Parmesan Pita Chips

  • 6-8 whole pitas
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • block of Parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut pitas into wedges, like you would a pizza, using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Using a pastry brush, brush one side of each wedge with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper on the brushed sides of each pita wedge and arrange on a cookie sheet, seasoned size up. Bake for 20 minutes, until crispy.

April Supper Club

The menu: Sauce & Sinatra

The menu: Sauce & Sinatra

Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie Board with homemade Rosemary Olive Oil Flatbread

Mini Caprese Skewers

Mini Caprese Skewers

Shitake, Basil & Lemon Cauliflower Pizzas

Shitake, Basil & Lemon/Margarita/Carmelized Onion & Spicy Sausage Cauliflower Pizzas

Mama Fiorella's Bolognese

Mama Fiorella’s Bolognese

The table setting

The table setting


Clockwise from top: Homemade Focaccia, Penne & Bolognese, Pancetta Brussels Sprouts, Fried Cardoons

Homemade Limencello

Homemade Limencello


Yummy Cannoli!

Supper Club

Supper Club Guests, minus two people

April was all about old world Italian. From cardoons to bolognese to limoncello, we covered a lot of regional specialties and practically had to be rolled out of our hostesses house! Luckily, about half of us come from Italian backgrounds so we were really able to flex our culinary muscles this SCB.

I opted for making an Italian charcuterie board. The cheese portion of the charcuterie board consisted of Rustico Black Pepper Cheese, Langa Castelbelbo, Piave (my personal favorite), Miti Sottocenere with Truffles and Ricotta Salata. I found all my cheese at Wegmans after consulting with one of our SCB members who used to work in their Cheese Shop. I learned the key to creating a good cheese board is you want to have a good balance of flavors (from strong to mild), textures (soft, semi-soft, semi-hard and hard), colors, shapes and sizes. For the meats, I added Felino, Genoa Salame and Riserva Prosciutto. I rounded my board out with some kalamata olives and made some delicious Rosemary Olive Oil flatbread to accompany it.

Rosemary Olive Oil Flatbread
adapted from

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
  • sea salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix flour, rosemary, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead dough gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times. Divide dough into 3 pieces and roll out 1 piece at a time into a 10-inch round. The shape can be rustic and the dough should be thin. Lightly brush the tops with additional oil and scatter small clusters of rosemary leaves on top, pressing in slightly. Sprinkle with sea salt. Transfer rounds onto a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until pale golden and browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes.

Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach

Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach

Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach
Quinoa (keen-wa) is an ancient grain-like seed that originated in South America over five thousand years ago. This tiny seed is chock full of tons of valuable nutrients, including all eight essential amino acids. Add in lots of other highly beneficial attributes, vitamins and minerals, plus the fact that it’s gluten-free and easy to digest and it’s pretty easy to understand it’s recent rise in popularity.

However, quinoa is still a bit new to my diet. Mostly because I don’t know what to make with it. Slowly I’m learning how to incorporate this versatile seed into my everyday meals. This salad is bright, fresh and easy. And did I mention that it’s also tasty and healthy? Say hello bikini body!

Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • generous handful of baby spinach
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • handful of pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Following the directions on the package, cook quinoa in the chicken broth. The quinoa should come to a boil, then cover it and put it on a low simmer and let cook for 15 minutes. Once the quinoa is cooked it will absorb all the broth. Add remaining ingredients to a large resealable bowl and shake until contents are well incorporated. Serve cold.

March Supper Club

the menu

the menu

the spread

the spread

plate full of yummies!

plate full of yummies!

japanese fried rice

japanese fried rice

obligatory (asian??) monkey bread

obligatory (asian??) monkey bread

cards against humanity, iphones and drinks around the table

cards against humanity, iphones and drinks around the table

March’s theme was Oriental Delights. Each of us went out of our comfort zone and picked dishes that we hadn’t made before. The host had pillows set up on the floor and we dined in a laid back Asian fashion. There were spring rolls, a crunchy Asian salad that consisted of broken, uncooked ramen noodles, broccoli and slivered almonds, Thai chicken satay served with cucumbers and peanut dipping sauce, Shu Mai (steamed Asian dumplings), chicken pad Thai and slow cooker Asian beef tacos. I took the easy route and made Japanese fried rice. Although it required minimal effort, it was still pretty tasty. It serves A LOT so my hubby ended up with a ton of leftovers which he didn’t complain about.

Japanese Fried Rice

  • 4 cups white or brown rice
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 2 eggs, scrambled and diced
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

First, go to Wegmans or similar and buy two large containers of precooked white rice from the Asian food station. Then stop at a Chinese restaurant and asked for takeout containers and chopsticks for serving. Next, in a large wok add butter, onions, peas and carrots and stir over high heat until cooked. Add rice and remaining ingredients and continue stirring for about 20-30 minutes until all ingredients are cooked. Season to taste and serve warm.

Green Monster Smoothie

Green Monster Smoothie

Just in time for St. Patty’s Day, I present to you with this lovely green monster smoothie. While I don’t intend on drinking these this Sunday (hey, I *am* Irish after all!), these smoothies have been my go-to for breakfast or lunch on most other weekends. They make a great, nutrient-packed meal replacer, as you are pretty stuffed after drinking one. I like them because they’re easy and quick to make when I don’t have much in the fridge or I’m nursing a hangover, much like I will be this Sunday. As always, ingredients are easily customizable to what you have available. I’ve subbed frozen spinach for fresh, greek yogurt for milk and so on. One thing to note from my experiments though, whether it’s fresh or frozen, you always need a banana. That’s what she said. HA! I just said what you were thinking. But seriously, you need a banana to help “overpower” the flavors of the other ingredients. I’ve tried it without banana and it just tastes like a weird milk and spinach smoothie. Gross.

Green Monster Smoothie

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 banana, cut in thirds
  • 6 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Add ingredients to a blender and blend, blend, BLEND! Depending on your blender, it may take a few minutes to get everything smooth or you may need to stir the mixture up halfway through. I like my smoothies to be drinkable through a straw so you may need to add or subtract liquid until you reach your desired consistency.

February Supper Club

the tablescapethe tablescape

february attendeesfebruary attendees

the spreadthe spread consisted of parmesan-parsley fries, two versions of quinoa sliders (avocado & red onion with cilantro-lime aioli & pesto with goat cheese & spinach), apple pecan chicken salad, panko-crusted chicken tenders with various dipping sauces, DIY black bean tacos with accoutrements, mini Baileys Irish Cream-glazed chocolate doughnuts with Baileys-coffee shooters, chocolate chip & Baileys-spiked milkshakes and funfetti & cake vodka milkshakes. HOLY MOSES!

parmesan-parsley friesparmesan-parsley fries

quinoa sliderstwo versions of quinoa sliders (avocado & red onion with cilantro-lime aioli & pesto with goat cheese & spinach)

apple pecan chicken saladapple pecan chicken salad

panko-crusted chicken tenderspanko-crusted chicken tenders with various dipping sauces

mini donuts with baileys and coffee shootersmini Baileys Irish Cream-glazed chocolate doughnuts with Baileys-coffee shooters

spiked milkshakeschocolate chip & Baileys-spiked milkshakes and funfetti & cake vodka milkshakes (unshown)

February’s theme was Reinvented Take-out and we know just how much take-out food is all our guilty pleasures. Each of us picked our favorite fast food option and made it ourselves. They even got a tiny bit healthier, but only by a little. From burgers to fries, to salads to tacos, fast food was well represented in this spread. I made mini Baileys Irish Cream-glazed chocolate doughnuts with Baileys-coffee shooters for which I had to buy special pans and stockpile a collection of shot glasses (which really wasn’t all that hard). The original recipe came with the special doughnut pans I purchased and then I adapted to add some Baileys into the mix.

Baked Mini Baileys Irish Cream-glazed Chocolate Doughnuts

For the Chocolate Mini Doughnuts

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted

For the Baileys Irish Cream Glaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur (I used Hazelnut flavored)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 425F. Spray mini doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk, egg and butter and stir until just combined. To fill the donut pan, scoop batter into a large ziplock bag and snip off the tip. Fill each doughnut cup approximately 1/3- 1/2 full. The batter will rise quite a bit during baking. Bake 4-6 minutes or until the top of the doughnuts spring back when touched. Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. When doughnuts are cooled, stir together sugar, Baileys and vanilla extract. Dip each doughnut in glaze, then set on a plate or baking sheet. Allow to dry for a few minutes and then dip each doughnut in glaze again. Serve with coffee and more Baileys!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Baby Oscar wishes you all a Happy Valentine’s Day. Hope it’s filled with lots of Frenchie kisses.


Spicy Black Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

Spicy Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

The inspiration for this meal came from the one poor little butternut squash that’s been sitting on my counter since November, just begging me to be cooked. The truth is, I’m so squashed-out from all that we got from our farm share that I just couldn’t bear to eat anymore for at least a month. I knew I probably only had a few weeks left before my squash started to go bad so I searched my cupboards (AKA Pinterest) for a dish that wasn’t overly squashy. The original recipe calls for adding bulgar to add bulk and to replace the beef, but I chose not to add it. I love chili, so I knew I’d only be kidding myself into thinking it was something that it’s not. That being said, this soup definitely stacks up against the competition. It makes a hearty weeknight meal or reheats easily for lunch. Bonus: It’s 100% vegetarian/vegan if you use vegetable broth and omit the optional greek yogurt topping.

Spicy Black Bean and Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from The Bitten Word

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, hand crushed
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen fire roasted poblano peppers
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, depending on desired thickness
  • juice of half a lime
  • coarse kosher salt
  • greek yogurt (optional)
  • sliced avocado (optional)

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Sprinkle chili powder and coriander over; stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes with juice, beans, poblanos, squash and oregano. Add broth and lime juice. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer until squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with greek yogurt and avocado slices.

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